Introducing Cavalry

The time has finally arrived to unveil the next software product in development at Mainframe’s Manchester studio.

After more than a year in-between projects and many hours of planning, designing, coding, testing, experimentation, head scratching and a lot of smiling we now have a solid foundation in place and are beginning to see clear signs that our grand ambitions are becoming realised.

Cavalry’s user interface.

Cavalry is a brand new 2d animation application combining the power and flexibility of 3d with the ease of use of 2d. What stands it apart is that Cavalry is fully procedural. If you’re not sure what that means — in essence, you can always go back and change anything at any point. That might not sound like much, but our approach to proceduralism is pretty radical. More on that huge topic in future posts though 😉.

If you’re working in Motion Design, Animation or Illustration, then we think you’re going to like it…a lot.

Cavalry is a brand new 2d animation application combining the power and flexibility of 3d with the ease of use of 2d.

Mind the gap.

The incumbents in 2d animation have been offering very little true innovation in recent years. Built on ageing architectures they are becoming increasingly reliant on 3rd party plug-ins for any significant feature improvements. While we use and love many of those plug-ins ourselves they can often result in artists jumping through hoops as they wrangle disjointed workflows.

We see a huge gap in the market. One that we intend to fill with Cavalry.


A single line duplicated and deformed by staggered oscillation values.

Making Waves.

By offering methodologies such as deformation, rigging, dynamics, data driven animation, scattering and instancing we’re beating a path towards a well overdue upgrade for 2d animation. Crucially these will all be native features speaking a common language opening up a limitless array of workflows.

A ‘proper’ Graph Editor.

Don’t worry, we’re not forgetting the basics. Cavalry will also include a full suite of traditional animation tools, streamlined and rethought, allowing artists to focus on what they do best. In addition, Cavalry’s procedural backbone encourages a ‘do anything to anything’ attitude. All without expressions, all without opening a node editor.

All without expressions, all without opening a node editor.

Cavalry’s unique and powerful engine enables you to create goal oriented workflows with compelling outcomes in just a few clicks. We’re putting a huge amount of energy into creating a flexible backend that enables us to hit our primary targets; ease of use and ‘getting the software out the way of the artist’.

Cavalry’s Squetch Deformer updating dynamically to the ball’s radius.

Playing Nicely

As Cavalry matures we hope its versatility will attract artists working across a wide range of disciplines including online, experiential, social, film and tv, installation, OOH, data visualisation, illustration and more.

To make that happen, Cavalry is being designed to play nicely in a pipeline. Currently we’re limited to to .png and .gif outputs but we have plans for lightweight formats like SVG and even Alembic.

Cavalry is also an open and scriptable platform, meaning the engine can be used headlessly for automated, procedural content creation.

One FUI element duplicated and randomised 9 times.

Interested?

We’re very excited to get Cavalry out to the world but before we do we’re looking for input from the community to help shape its future. The task is huge so there are rough edges and unfinished workflows but, importantly, we’re in a place where we believe you can start having some fun.

Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection

In the interests of keeping feature development on an upward trajectory (!) we’re restricting the beta to a small pool of users during these early stages. If you‘d like to get involved then please get in touch via cavalry.mainframe.co.uk but please don’t hate us if we’re unable to get you on board at this stage.

There’s much more to come so follow us here for regular progress updates and check out our Instagram or Twitter for some visual treats and chat.