Viewport is the main window of the program. It shows scenes that contain characters and other objects which are used to create animations.
All manipulations necessary for creating said animations are also performed in the Viewport window.
The angle at which the scene is shown in the Viewport can be adjusted manually or using the View Cube
View Cube is an interface element located at the top right corner of the Viewport window. It can be used to adjust the angle from which the current scene is viewed.
Features of the View Cube:
- Switching the view angle between eight pre-defined positions (each position is represented by a cone attached to one of the sides of the Cube)
- Altering viewport rendering method between Perspective and Orthogonal projections (this is performed by left-clicking it with the mouse)
- An option to lock camera movement so it cannot be changed through regular means (this is done by clicking the lock symbol at the top right of the Cube)
The Main Menu is an element of Cascadeur user interface: the list of options available for the user. It includes most of the functions available through other parts of the interface and includes several that can only be accesses using Main Menu itself.
Main Menu is located at the top of the program window, right beneath the title bar.
For convenience, Main Menu is separated into several drop-down submenus:
- Mirror tool
File is a part of the Cascadeur Main Menu.
This menu contains the list of functions for working with files:
- Creating new scenes
- Saving currently open scenes to .casc files
- Opening existing .casc files and loading scenes contained in them into the program
- Closing the program
Edit is a part of the Cascadeur Main Menu.
This menu contains a versatile set of tools that allows the user to perform several kinds of tasks:
- Undoing last performed actions
- Creating, managing and accessing selection groups
- Switching between global and local coordinate systems
- Translating selected objects
- Pinning object to their positions
- Setting frame fulcrums
- Navigating the Timeline
- Adding Animation Tracks
- Copying positions of the selected objects
- Copying Tracks
- Copying Intervals on the Timeline
View is a part of the Cascadeur Main Menu.
This menu contains functions for:
- Switching between the Scene View mode and the current Edit mode
- Switching between various Edit modes
- Switching between Point Controller mode and the currently selected mode
- Switching between extra edit modes (Joint, Physics and Mesh) and the currently selected mode
- Hiding currently selected objects
- Making visible all hidden objects
- Switching between various Trajectory rendering modes
Visible is a part of the Cascadeur Main Menu.
This menu contains a list of scene objects of several kinds:
- All types of Controllers
- Physics-based entities such as Centers of Mass, Ballistic Trajectories or Fulcrum Points
- Rig elements such as Joints and Rigid bodies
- 3D models (Meshes)
Each of the object types on this list can be checked or uncheched using the menu. The cheched objects will be visible in the Viewport window, while the unchecked will be not. This way user can adjust the appearance of the scene, leaving visible only the necessary objects.
- If an object is selected, it will be visible even if it is not set as such in the Visible menu
Selectable is a part of the Cascadeur Main Menu.
This menu contains the same list of object types as the Visible menu. Each of these types can be chacked or unchecked using the menu. Only the checked objects can be selected in the Viewport window and only to them Manipulators and other tools can be applied. This way user can adjust the appearance of the scene, leaving only the necessary objects available for editing.
- If an object is not marked as selectable in the Selectable menu, it can still be selected in the Outliner window
Filters is a part of the Cascadeur Main Menu.
This menu contains the list of available Filters. Each filter can be applied in four modes:
- To the current frame (marked by Current Frame Indicator)
- To the currently selected interval on the Timeline (marked by black border)
- To the current frame with an amplified effect
- To the currently selected interval with an amplified effect
Mirror Tool (menu)
Mirror Tool is a part of the Cascadeur Main Menu.
This menu contains functions for mirroring object positions, including:
- Setting a plane that will be used for mirroring objects. Available options are:
- XY plane
- XZ plane
- YZ plane
- a plane defined by the positions of three selected objects
- Mirroring positions of the weapons attached to the character
- Mirroring positions of the physics points
- Mirroring positions of the Joints
- Mirroring positions of Controllers
TimeLine is a part of the Cascadeur Main Menu.
This menu contains functions for working with the Timeline:
- Adding and removing Frames
- Adjusting the length of the Timeline
- Changing Keys
- Playing animations in the scene
- Saving animations to a video file
- Merging selected Tracks into one
- Moving Tracks up and down in the hierarchy
Interpolation is a part of the Cascadeur Main Menu.
This menu contains functions for setting Interpolations for selected Frames on the Timeline. Interpolation can be applied to:
- the current frame (marked by Current Frame Pointer)
- the currently selected interval on the Timeline (marked by black border)
Interpolation menu also includes additional functions:
- Switching between Forward and Inverse type on kinematics
- Changing Fulcrums
- Applying Iterative process to the selected Controllers
Objects is a part of the Cascadeur Main Menu.
This menu contains tools for working with all types of Objects
Syncronization is a part of the Main Menu.
This menu cantains tools for data exchange, including:
- Importing animations from FBX files to the current scene
- Exporting the current scene to FBX files
Settings is a part of the Cascadeur Main Menu.
This menu contains functions that allow user to access the settings of the current Scene:
- Settings window
- Hotkey editor
It can also be used to
- Update scene settings
- Reset scene settings to default
- Set view modes settings from the scene
Help is a part of the Cascadeur Main Menu.
This menu can be used to view:
- Event Log window (shows detailed information about actions performed by the program)
- About window (shows data on the verison of the program)
It also provides links to
- community forums
- means of communicating with the developers of Cascadeur
Toolbar is an element of Cascadeur user interface. It is a stripe that contains buttons for accessing all kinds of tools:
- Selection tools
- Tools for switching between scene modes
- Tools for working with Ghosts
- A button for enabling and disabling Silhouette mode
- Trajectory tools
- Camera projection modes
- Ballistic trajectory tools
- Tools for working with Fulcrum Points
- Instruments for tracking objects with Camera
- Tools for switching between frame and interval edit modes
- Tools for working with Textures
- A button for turning on and off Isometric Grid
Toolbar is located at the top of the program window, right below the Main Menu
Timeline is an essential part of Cascadeur user interface.
This panel is designed for animation workflow: creating key poses and in-between frames, adjusting timings, playing complete animations and such. It contains tools for working with:
- Animation Tracks (including Folders)
The main part of the Timeline is the sequence of Frames. Timeline always includes at least one Frame.
Timeline is located at the bottom of the program window, right below the Viewport.
Frame is an element of the Timeline.
The total number of frames in the Timeline defines the maximum possible length of an animation.
A Frame is defined by its number. On the Timeline, a subsequent frame always has a number higher than a previous one.
The number of frames played per one second defines the speed of the animation (this is called frames per second, or FPS).
The First Frame is the initial frame of the Timeline.
The number of the first frame is always equal to 0.
The first frame doesn't necessarily have to coincide with the First Available Frame
First Available Frame
A First Available Frame is the first frame on the Timeline available for editing.
This frame, along with the Last Available Frame, defines the part of the Timeline that is available for user interaction. Frames and interpolation interval can only be placed on this part of the Timeline.
The position of the First Available Frame can be adjusted manually.
By default, this position is equal to the position of the First Frame (i.e. Frame 0)
The Last Frame is the frame that marks the end of the Timeline.
Last Available Frame
A Last Available Frame is the last frame on the Timeline available for editing.
The position of the Last Available Frame can be adjusted manually.
By default, this position is equal to the position of the Last Frame
A Selected Frame is a frame on the Timeline that has been selected by user.
A selected frame is marked by a black border on the Timeline.
Several frames can be selected at once, but only if they form a continuous span on the Timeline. This span is called an Interval. Only one Interval can be selected at a time.
The Current Frame is the frame on the Timeline that is currently marked by the Current Frame Indicator.
Animation playback always starts with the Current Frame.
Current Frame is not the same thing as a Selected Frame. Only one frame at a time can be set as the Current Frame.
Current frame can be specified by clicking a frame with the Left Mouse Button or by dragging the Current Frame Indicator
Current Frame Indicator
Current Frame Indicator is an element of the Timeline panel.
This element marks the Current Frame on the Timeline.
A Key Frame is a type of Frame on the Timeline and one of the elements essential for making animations.
A key frame sets the Pose of a Character at a certain point in time. Character movement is defined by its main phases created by an animator. Key frames are used to store these key phases in the Scene.
- Any frame on the Timeline can be set as a Key Frame using dedicated set of tools.
- Any key frame, inversely, can be turned back into a regular frame (doing so will delete all data on the character pose stored in this key frame)
An In-Between Frame is a type of Frame on the Timeline.
Unlike Key Frames, in-between frames do not contain any data concerning character Poses and Positions, as both are interpolated from two nearest key frames.
These frames are necessary to make animation appear smooth and fluid.
An interval is a continuous set of frames located between two Key Frames on the Timeline
For each interval on the timeline, an independent type of Interpolation can de set.
An Interpolation Interval is an interval on the Timeline to which Interpolation is applied.
Interpolation Intervals are colored in accordance to their respective Types of Interpolation.
Interpolation is a method of creating in-between frames by computing averages of two key frames that mark the borders of the interval to which interpolation is applied.
There are several computation algorithms, dubbed Types of Interpolation. Each interval on the Timeline can have its own type of interpolation.
Bezier is a type of Interpolation.
When this Type of Interpolation is selected, objects move along a curve defined by their positions in the key frames, accelerating at the beginning of the trajectory and decelerating near the end of it
When this Type is selected on multiple intervals, character movements on previous intervals can influence subsequent ones, producing an effect similar to moving by intertia. This can be used to make movements look more lifelike
Bezier viscous is a type of Interpolation.
It workis mostly the same way as regular Bezier type of interpolation, but previous movements influence subsequent ones to a lesser degree.
This type should be used in cases when smooth movement is required, but influence from previous intervals is not desired
Linear is a type of Interpolation
Whean this Type of Interpolation is selected, objects move from the strat to the end point at constant speed without accelerating or decelerating
Step is a type of Interpolation
When this type is used, poses in the in-between frames are not calculated, the objects stay in the fixed positions between key frames
This is the default Type of Interpolation for every interval on the Timeline
Fixed is a type of Interpolation
When this type is used, animator is given an option to adjust character pose and position in each of the in-between frames on the interpoletion interval.
Altering poses on the in-between frames does not have any impact on the interpolation.
Mixed is a type of Interpolation
This type can be used to combine several types of interpolation on one interval.
- When several Tracks are combined into one, this type is used to preserve all movements.
- This type cannot be selected manually using interface of the Timeline.
A Track is an element of the Timeline used to separate objects in the scene into groups. Each Track act like a separate Timeline with its own set of key frames that do not affect key frames on other Tracks.
Parts of a character can be animated independently using Tracks
A Timeline always includes at least one track
Scene is the main track of the Timeline. By default, any scene always include this track
Folders are entities that can be added to Tracks to store other Tracks organizing a scene into a hierarchical structure.
- When a Folder is open, and separate tracks are visible, they can be edited independently.
- When a Folder is closed, all tracks inside of it are merged together and are considered to be a singular track
Outliner is a window that shows the complete list of objects in the scene.
The entries in this list can be sorted in alphabetical order or shown as a tree-like structure representing hierarchical liks between objects.
Outliner panel is located at the right from the Viewport window. It consists of two parts:
- The upper one shows the list of the scene objects
- The lower one shows properties of the selected object in the form of a list (if no object is selected, this list is empty)
Outliner gives user options to:
- Examine hierarchical links between scene objects
- Select objects (including those which cannot be selected in the Viewport)
- Examine and adjust Properties of selected objects.
A Property in Cascadeur is a parameter inherent to an object.
Properties can be viewd and edited in the Outliner.
There are many different types of properties; some of them are specific to certain types of objects. However, every object in any scene always includes several general properties:
- Track name
Name is a property of a scene object.
This property defines the name of an object: a textual identifier used to represent the object in the hierarchy shown in the Outliner window.
Visible is a property of a scene object.
This property defines if the object is visible in the Viewport window.
Selectable is a property of a scene object.
This property defines if the object can be selected in the Viewport window.
- If this property is disabled, the object can still be selected in the Outliner
Guid is a property of a scene object.
This is a unique identifier of a scene object.
Track name (property)
Track name is a property of a scene object.
This property shows the name of the Track to which the object belongs.
Controller is a property of a scene object.
This property defines the controller of the object.
If the object has no controller, this property has the 'Not Controlled' value.
Settings is an element of Cascadeur user interface.
This window contains various parameters that define the behavior of an entire scene.
These settings are separated into several drop-down tabs:
- Angular momentum
Scene settings are always the same for every scene in the program. If, for example, you open two different scenes and change settings for one of them, settings for the other will change accordingly.
Settings are saved when the program is shut down and restored at the next run.
Settings window is located at the right from the Viewport window.
Angular momentum (settings)
This tab contains settings for Angular Momentum visualizer:
This parameter defines the width of the stripes on the arrow that represents angular momentum.
Two preset values are available: 1 and 20.
All frames/Only key frames
This switch defines if angular momentum is shown only for key frames on the selected interval, or for every frame on the same interval.
By default, the Only key frames value is used.
This tab contains settings for the Copier instrument.
This parameter sets the coordinate system used to copy objects.
Three values are available: Global (world coordinate system is used), Local (object coordinate system is used) and Relative (object coordinates in relation to other objects are used)
This option allows user to choose coordinate axes should be taken into account when object rotation is copied
User can select one of the axes (X, Y or Z) or use all three (the XYZ option)
This setting defines what coordinate axes should be used for copying the position of an object.
User can select one of the axes (X, Y or Z) or use all three (the XYZ option)
This setting defines coordinate axes that should be used for copying the scale of an object
Like with Position parameter, each axis can be selected individually
This tab contains settings for the number of frames per second which controls the speed of animation playback.
This parameter defines the number of frames per second. Higher values result in more smooth and fluid motions.
The value can be set manually or selected from one of three presets: 20, 30 and 60.
This parameter is used for making animations more fluid by increasing the number of frames used to interpolate key frames.
This parameter does not affect the speed of animation, only its smoothness. This can be seen as multiplying FPS parameter and the number of every key frame by the FPS Factor value.
The value of this parameter can be selected from three pre-defined numbers (1, 2 or 3), or set manually. This value is integer, fractional numbers are not accepted (they are converted to integer numbers if entered).
This parameter controls the scale of the animation. If, for example, its value is equal to 0.5, animation will be two times slower that normal.
The value can be set manually or selected from a preset. Available presets are 1.0, 0.5 and 0.3. 1.0 is the default value.
This parameter defines how often the FPS indicator is updated.
Its default value is 2 (two updates per second).
This tab contains settings for Filters
This parameter sets the coordinate system in which filters are applied. Available options are: Global (world coordinate system is used), Local (object coordinate system is used) and Relative (object coordinates in relation to other objects are used).
This parameter define coordinate axes that can be used to rotate object when filter is applied.
There are four possible options: X, Y, Z and XYZ. The latter mean all three axes are used.
This parameter define coordinate axes that can be used to change the position of the object to which a filter is applied.
This parameter define coordinate axes that can be used to change object's scale when filter is applied.
This parameter sets the power of the filter applied to the object, i.e. how much it affects the position of the object. The parameter can assume values from 0 to 100. If the value is 100, object will be immediately put into the target position; if it is equal to zero, no changes will occur.
The value can be set manually or selected from three presets: 10, 25 and 50. The default value is 10.
All frames/Only key frames
This parameter defines if filters should be applied to all selected frames or only to key frames
This tab contains settings for Manipulators
This parameter sets the number of steps used to render arrows
If this switch is enabled, an object can only be rotated (using the Rotate manipulator) by an angle divisible by the value specified in the field near the switch.
The angle can be set manually or by selecting a preset, of which there are three: 45, 90 and 180.
This parameter defines the speed of rotation in case user selects one of the parts of the Rotate manipulator (by left-clicking it) and move mouse pointer while holding down the mouse wheel.
Sensetivity can be set manually or selected from three presets: 0.1, 1 and 10.
Fixing interpolation on change
If this parameter is enabled, interpolations will be updated after every adjustment made to the positions of the object and/or its parts (controllers, joints etc.).
This tab contains settings for scene physics
This parameter defines the value of the force of gravity in the scene. The value can be set manually or chosen from one of the three presets: 0.01, 980 and 2000.
A Rig is a set of components that make possible creating character animations. A rig is, in essence, a virtual 3d skeleton made up of controllers that enable - or simplify - working with character poses.
Every character in Cascadeur always has a rig. An object without a rig can still be animated, but possibilities for animating it are much more limited. Also, physics tools such as Ballistic Trajectories can only be applied to rigged characters.
A rig includes the following types of objects:
- Point Controller Edges
- Rigid Bodies
Center of Mass
A Center of Mass is a unique point that characterizes movement of an object (or a group of objects) as a whole. When a linear force is applied to the center of mass, it causes linear acceleration without angular acceleration.
A center of mass is a part of character Rig.
Some of the tools in Cascadeur only work with objects with centers of mass. These include:
- Angular momentum
- Ballistic trajectory
A Controller is an element of a character Rig used to adjust positions of rig elements forming a Pose.
A rig includes several types of controllers used for different purposes:
- Point Controllers
- Box Controllers
- Rigid Bodies
Controllers form a hierarchical structure
A Point Controller is a type of Controller and a part of a Rig.
This type of controller is mainly used for adjusting character Poses.
A Box Controller is a type of Controller and a part of a Rig.
Box controllers are visible in the Viewport window if the Box Mode is selected on the Timeline. This mode is oftenly used for making fine adjustments to the character pose, especially for configuring small details like fingers or parts of the clothing.
A Rigid Body is a part of a Rig.
By default, rigid bodies are visible in the Viewport window if the Physics Mode is enabled on the Timeline.
Rigid bodies are rendered as cyan-colored ellipsoids (currently selected rigid bodies are colored magenta instead)
These elements are used for calculating
Point Controller Edge
A Point Controller Edge is a part of a Rig.
A Joint is a part of a Rig.
Each joint corresponds to a part of a Mesh (or several meshes) that can move along with that joint.
A Mesh is a 3d object that represents the surface of an object. Every object, including characters, consists of one or several meshes.
Note: a mesh only defines the general shape of an object. Colors and fine details are represented by adding Textures to the meshes.
All adjustments made to the character Rig are subsequently applied to its mesh(es).
A Texture is a 2D image that is applied to a Mesh to simulate color scheme of the object surface, as well as its fine details.
There are two buttons for working with textures on the Toolbar: one for adding textures to meshes (Bind Texture) and one for removing textures from selected meshes (Unbind Texture).
Textures can only be applied in the Mesh Mode.
Position is a location of an object in the scene. Position of an object is defined by its X, Y and Z coordinates.
Object's position can be viewed in the Outliner (the Position parameter in the Transform group).
A Pose of a character is its location and posture. Character's pose is defined by a sum of positions of all body parts that make up the character.
Selecting is an act of pointing objects or interface elements for further manipulations. Any action such as translation, rotation, copying etc. can only be applied to an entity that has been selected beforehand.
Following objects can be selected:
- Parts of the characters:
- Other rig elements
- Frames on the Timeline
- Animation Tracks and Folders
Selection is performed by clicking objects with the Left Mouse Button. Scene objects are usually selected in the Viewporrt window, but can also be selected in the Outliner.
A Selection Group is a set of scene objects that can all be selected at once by pressing the number of the group on the keyboard.
Note: Simply pressing the number of a group will add selected objects to the current selection. To select only the selection group, hold Alt while pressing its number.
There is a total of ten selection groups, numbered from 0 to 9.
Objects can be added or removed from selection groups using the Edit menu.
A Manipulator is a tool for changing spatial position of the selected object
Manipulators can operate in two modes: Global or Local
- In the Global mode world coordinate system is used
- The Local mode uses coordinate space of the object to which manipulator is applied
There is a total of three manipulators:
All manipulators are available on the Toolbar.
Translate is a Manipulator used for translating selected objects, i.e. moving them along coordinate axes.
Translate manipulator includes three arrows:
- Blue arrow controls moving selected object(s) along X axis
- Red arrow handles moving selected object(s) along Y axis
- Green arrow handles moving object(s) along Z axis
Additional control elements include:
- Green square for moving selected objects along XY plane
- Red square for moving selected objects along XZ plane
- Blue square for moving selected objects along YZ plane
Ghosts are helper objects that show poses and positions (in form of silhouettes) that a character assumes on the previous and subsequent frames. Ghosts can be used to see how the current pose fits with the animation in its entirety.
The tool for controlling ghosts can be found in the Toolbar.
Ghosts can be rendered in several modes:
- First, ghost rendering can be disabled entirely (this is the default mode)
- Only ghosts of the previous frames can be rendered
- Only ghosts of the subsequent frames can be rendered
- Ghosts of both previous and subsequent frames can be rendered simultaneously
- Ghost can be rendered for all frames in an interval selected on the timeline
- There is also a switch that enables and disables rendering ghost only for the key frames (it works for every mode listed above)
A trajectory is a helper object that shows the path traveled by a selected object across a selected interval.
A trajectory can be rendered in several modes:
- For a selected object.
- If multiple objects are selected in this mode, trajectory is rendered only for the object with the highest position in object hierarchy (can be viewed in the Outliner window)
- For all selected objects
- For selected edges
- For selected objects and edges
A trajectory can be rendered using either object positions in every selected frame, or only in key frames on the selected interval. This is controlled by the Only key frames switch on the Trajectory settings panel on the Timeline.
For a trajectory to be visible, an object and an interval on the Timeline have to be selected.
A trajectory consists of several green dots representing position of the object in every frame or every key frame, depending on the settings. These dots are connected by blue edges which represent path traveled by the selected object across the selected interval of frames.
If the Trajectory edit mode button is enabled, the green dots mentioned above act as point controllers, i.e. they can be selected and their positions can be adjusted using Manipulators. This way, trajectories can be edited.
A Filter is a tool that adjust positions of an object based on its positions in the neighboring frames. Filters can be used for making quick adjustments to character poses and animation sequences alike.
Filter can be accessed through the Filters menu. Available filters are:
- Attract to previous position
- Attract to inertial position
- Attract to average position
- Attract to inverse inertial position
- Attract to next position
- Attract to interpolation position
- Attract to local interpolation position
- Angular momentum
Every filter can be applied in several modes (see Filter (menu)).
Attract to previous position (filter)
This filter moves selected objects closer to their positions in the previous frame
- The hot key for this filter is G
Attract to inertial position (filter)
This filter moves selected objects closer to their inertial positions calculated on the basis of their positions in the previous frames
- The hot key for this filter is H
Attract to average position (filter)
This filter moves selected objects closer to intermediate positions between their positions in both previous and subsequent frames
- The hot key for this filter is J
Attract to inverse inertial position (filter)
This filter moves selected objects closer to their inertial positions calculated on the basis of their positions in the subsequent frames
- The hot key for this filter is K
Attract to next position (filter)
Moves selected objects closer to their positions in the next frame
- The hot key for this filter is L
Attract to interpolation position (filter)
Moves selected objects closer to the positions calculated as an average of their positions in the nearest frames (in the global coordinate system)
- The hot key for this filter is U
Attract to local interpolation position (filter)
Moves selected objects closer to the positions calculated as an average of their positions in the nearest frames (in a local coordinate system)
- The hot key for this filter is P
Angular momentum (filter)
This filter averages character's angular momentum across a selected interval of frames.
To work properly, this filter requires a center of mass and an interval on the Timeline to be selected.
The hot key for this filter is I
A Scene is a set of object available for editing. A scene can include the following types of objects:
- Camera objects
- Helper objects (ballistic trajectories etc.)
The complete list of objects (and their parts) that make up a scene can be viewed in the Outliner window.
New scene can be created using the File menu. By default, a newly created scene does not contain any objects or characters.
A scene can be saved in a .casc file or restored from such file. The name of a scene always coincides with the name of the file it is stored in. If a scene has not yet been saved to a file, it is named untitled.casc.
A Character is a 3D object that can be animated. A character is made up of one or several Meshes with a Rig attached to them.
A Primitive is a secondary 3D object in a Scene.
A primitive can be added to a scene using the Objects menu. Following types are available:
Unlike Characters, primitives don't have rigs, and thus options for animating them are much more limited. A primitive includes:
- a Mesh
- a single Joint at the geometric center of the mesh. This joint can be used to edit position and spatial orientation of the primitive.
A Camera in Cascadeur is an angle from which a scene is viewed. This angle can be adjusted using dedicated set of controls.
A Camera Object is an object in the Scene. Its purpose is to provide a fixed angle from which a scene is viewed. It parameters are:
- Field Of View
- Start Frame
- Rotation Offset
- Aspect Ratio Height and Aspect Ratio Width
- Texture Path
The position of a camera object cannot be adjusted using general camera controls.
Isometric Grid is a helper object in a Scene. It is a wireframe grid placed at the groud level (Z coordinate is equal to 0) that acts as as "floor" of the scene.
Isometric grid can be turned on or off using the button in the Toolbar.