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Animation Day in Cannes


The joint initiative from animaze and filmfestivals.com (launched in 2015)  stops this year to leave room for Annecy and Marche du Film and their NEW INITIATIVE ANIMATION DAY: May 19, 2019 

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Studio Ghibli offers free animation software used to make The Tale of The Princess - A Game changer

Wow! The deal, which could have a potentially profound impact on the animation industry, was made possible after Japanese publisher Dwango acquired the Toonz software from Italian tech company Digital Video, which has been producing the animation package since 1993. 

Ghibli has been using Toonz since the production of Princess Mononoke, and the new OpenToonz is dubbed “Toonz Ghibli Edition” because of all the custom-features that Toonz has developed over the years for the legendary Japanese studio. [Update: OpenToonz is now available to download.]

Atsushi Oui, executive imaging director at Studio Ghibli, explained that they initially chose Toonz back in 1995 “in order to continue producing theater-quality animation without additional stress,” and a desire for software that had “the ability to combine the hand-drawn animation with the digitally painted ones seamlessly.”

However, Toonz is not exclusive to Ghibli and is used by plenty of other studios, including Rough Draft, which produced Matt Groening’s Futurama with it, and Folimage, which used it for its recent feature, Phantom Boy.

The software boasts an extensive history, dating back to 1993, and has been used on the production of many Hollywood features and TV series including Fox’s Anastasia, Amblimation’s Balto, and MTV’s The Maxx, as well as popular computer games like Psygnosis’s Discworld 2. It was originally available only for high-end SGI workstations, and for a period of time was part of Microsoft’s Softimage arm, which later became Autodesk.

Digital Video will continue to develop and market Toonz software, and will offer installation, configuration, training, support and customization services to studios. A premium version will continue to be sold at a “very competitive price” for companies who wish to invest in the customization of Toonz for major projects.

“The contract with Dwango, which offers the Toonz open source platform to the animation community, has enabled Digital Video to realize one of its strategies, i.e. to make of Toonz a world standard for 2D animation,” said Claudio Mattei, managing director of Digital Video. “This deal will be also the starting point of a new exciting plan to endorse the open source business model, by supporting training and customizing Toonz for the old and new users.”

Toonz is not exactly a well known name, even among industry pros, but the list of major companies and projects that have used it before (as well as Ghibli’s ringing endorsement) should be enough to convince many artists to give it a try. While there will no doubt be a learning curve for artists who are used to industry standards like Flash and Toonboom, Toonz is also more than capable of handling major productions, and the long-term benefits of switching to open source could prove attractive for many studios.

The announcement of OpenToonz comes at a time when animation is experiencing the biggest boom period in its history. The widespread availability of hardware is allowing animation production to expand in parts of the world that traditionally have not been major animation producers (South and Central America, Africa, the Middle East). 

However, many of the young artists in these regions do not have the resources to invest in proprietary software. That’s especially why we view OpenToonz, a free professional-grade 2D animation software, as a complete and total gamechanger for the animation industry moving forward. The animation floodgates just opened.

 

OpenToonz, the open source version of the Toonz animation software used by Studio Ghibli, was released to the public last week. OpenToonz can be officially downloaded at Github.io.

The 2D animation software suite has also been used in the TV series like Steven Universe and Futurama and theatrical features including Anastasia and Balto, was made open source through a partnership between Italian developer Digital Video and Japanese company Dwango. Its release is a game changer for 2D animation production that could rewrite the future of the art form, possibly leading to a major increase in drawn animation production, while forcing software developers like Adobe and Toonboom to scramble and find ways to distinguish their 2D animation software from a powerful, free alternative.

Toonz Software Used by Studio Ghibli and ‘Futurama’ Being Made Free and Open SourceSee Also: Toonz Software Used By Studio Ghibli And ‘Futurama’ Being Made Free And Open Source

In releasing the software, Dwango has made clear on their site that the open source software license allows it to be used free of charge for both commercial and non-commercial projects, and that developers may modify its source code freely under the terms of the simple and liberal New BSD License.

Along with the main software package, Dwango also released an effects development kit for advanced image processing like lighting and distortion effects, as well as GTS, a scanning tool developed by Studio Ghibli that allows for efficient scanning of sequentially numbered drawings. Dwango says it expects the open source community to find new ways to build out the software with the “aim to develop a new platform for connecting the academic research into frontline animation production.”

OpenToonz has already generated tremendous interest from the animation community. A user forum launched in the past 24 hours already boasts hundreds of discussions, while a development forum is launching deeper discussions of how to build out the software. 

Animators have also launched unofficial resource guides like this one on Tumblr and have started posting basic video tutorials:

The general consensus seems to be that while there’s some clunkiness that needs to be smoothed out, the program is incredibly powerful and includes the full feature set used by Studio Ghibli in the production of films like The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, The Secret World of Arrietty, and Spirited Away. “This is some serious in-depth 2d animation software,” wrote a user on the Foundry forum. “I have been looking for more traditional animation software with X-sheet functionality – THIS IS IT!”

Another artist who tried out the software wrote on Tumblr, “I think I might still prefer OpenToonz to Toonboom. Once I get it working without crashing constantly, it’s gonna be one god damn powerful program.”

 

 

 

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