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Praxinos Odyssey Praxinos Odyssey

Last year, French software company Praxinos announced the beginning of a beta-test program for Odyssey, an ambitious 2d animation program powered by Unreal Engine.

After five years of development, five months of beta tests, and more than 400 artists trailing the new technology, Praxinos has officially released Odyssey into the world. To mark the occasion, Praxinos manager and co-founder Elodie Moog joined Cartoon Brew to discuss the new software and offer a bonus to our readers.

As you discussed in a previous article, Odyssey is designed to help artists create hybrid 2d and cg animation. Half of Praxinos’ dev team used to work at TVPaint Development, which helps explain why you’ve been focusing on making a tool for 2d artists, but why choose a real-time engine like Unreal for Odyssey?

Elodie Moog: When Praxinos was being established, CTO and co-founder Fabrice Debarge was approached by his colleague Sebastien Miglio, a product manager (and now VP) at Epic Games. They had known each other for a while and saw an opportunity to work together.

Unreal Engine is an incredible multi-tasking software, and Epic Games is probably the company that innovates the most in the field of DCC technologies. Partnering with a company like that is truly inspiring and quite challenging for a small company like Praxinos.

Because Unreal Engine is the foundation for Odyssey, we can offer unique features for 2d artists, like the possibility of painting animated textures directly on cg characters with bitmap brushes or vector drawing tools. Then, the cg character can be animated by a cg artist, all within the same software.

The real-time aspect is a true advantage in production, especially at the earliest steps of filmmaking. As an animation film director or a storyboard artist, you can easily create an environment with assets from the Unreal Marketplace, then play with the lights to give a mood to your scene, and bam! You’re ready to let your imagination take over the stage to create an animatic mixing cg environments and 2d drawings.

In the animation industry, compatibility with other software is a necessity. How well can Odyssey adapt to existing pipelines?

Odyssey and Unreal Engine projects are compatible since they share exactly the same file structure.

Odyssey can import FBX and most image file formats, including PSD (and keep the layer structure). It can even analyze an image sequence and turn it into a storyboard with cameras in a cg environment or into a 2d animation. Odyssey can use video footage as a reference for rotoscoping and integrate soundtracks in WAV format. It can also render sequences as images or video for editing software and use USD scenes for other DCC software.

There is still room to improve interoperability, though. For instance, we want to add a JSON importer/exporter for post-production software. But as it is, Odyssey is made to suit any workflow. For example, during the beta test, we were pleased to work with French studios Ellipse Animation and Kalank on a very ambitious project in vr.

What is the price offer for Odyssey? Is it a subscription model or a perpetual license model?

Both. Actually, we have various offers depending on the customer’s status.

Freelance artists have the most choices, as they can choose between monthly, quarterly, biannually, and yearly subscriptions or a perpetual license.

Students can buy a perpetual license only for a minimal price. And even after graduation, they can continue using the license for personal work.

For schools and studios, the price will depend on volume, the duration of the subscription, and the need for training or custom development.

What about future upgrades? Are they included with subscriptions?

Well, it may sound weird, but we don’t want to charge for future upgrades unless we are legally or technically obligated to. Obviously, we will keep improving Odyssey (we’ve even opened a Trello to be transparent with our users). But we do not want to charge our users for that.

The idea is to reward our early adopters: people who buy a perpetual license now should benefit from the updates for free.

The idea is quite similar for subscriptions: people, schools, and studios that are part of a long-term partnership with Praxinos will always be charged the same fees. There will be no nasty surprises in the future when your beloved software suddenly costs 20% more for no reason. If you believe in Odyssey, your trust must be rewarded.

Praxinos really seems to value relationships. In addition to Epic Games, are there other partners you would like to mention?

Indeed. With the release of Odyssey, we have been working with two companies: Xencelabs, creator of amazing professional graphic tablets, and StoryboardArt.

We’ll be sharing more information about these partnerships soon.

That sounds great. Where can readers find out more about the software?

If you have questions, please contact us here or join our Discord.

And for Cartoon Brew readers, you can use the discount code “CartoonBrew” until Feb 20th, 2024, to get 10% off a perpetual license. Click here for more information.

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