Synfig Animation Studio 1.2.0
FREEWAREFILES EDITOR'S REVIEW
Have you ever thought of creating 2D animation without having to buy expensive software? Then Synfig Studio is the perfect choice for you. This free animation software offers a superb industrial-strength solution that uses both bitmap and vector graphics to create film-quality animation.
- Temporal Resolution Independence: The computer creates smooth motion by automatically interpolating animation-keyframes.
- Spatial Resolution Independence: Synfig Studio does not create pixilation in built-in components because the elements are largely vector-based. In addition, the software generates all layers parametrically, which means pixilation only occurs in imported raster images even when you change the target resolution of your project.
- High Dynamic-Range Imaging: HDRI processing uses floating-point math when making image calculations, allowing canvases to have an internal understanding of a wider range of pixel luminance. The result is improved lighting effects and color composition.
- Artist-oriented design: The free software is specifically designed for animation.
- Pentablet-friendly Tools: You can create different types of lines simply by adjusting the pressure you apply on your tablet.
- Layers: The program is compatible with different types of layers, including distortions, fractal, geometric, transformations, filters and gradients.
- Path-based Gradients: Synfig Studio fully supports gradient paths, which makes it easy to add soft shading to 2D animation without having to paint it onto each frame.
Using Synfig Studio
We are particularly impressed by the last feature mentioned above because it allows amateur animators to save time. They will not be forced to draw all required frames to make their animations, as they can import existing bitmap and vector artwork and use the program to create better quality 2D animation.
The program interface takes the whole screen and displays several panels that may initially overwhelm the inexperienced. However, this only means the software suits even experienced users. The program comes with built-in examples that you can browse to see what you can do. The free animation software also offers plenty of tutorials that will help anyone interested in the industry. The interface needs some figuring out but works well.
The user interface has three floating windows:
- Toolbox: the main window that serves as the control panel
- Canvas: the working surface
- Panels: offers a centralized location for various tools and details
Since Synfig Studio is vector-based, graphics remain sharp and smooth irrespective of resolution. It allowed us to create animations that remained sharp and smooth even when we used different types of devices and screen sizes.
Software Product Description
2D Animation has traditionally been very expensive because every frame must be drawn by hand. Even with today's digital inking and painting software, the process still relies on individuals hand-drawing each frame. This laborious task is called "tweening".
Synfig eliminates the task of manual tweening, producing smooth, fluid motion without the animator having to draw out each frame individually. This allows you to produce 2D animation with fewer people while producing art of a higher quality.
"Pretty good, especially considering the price..."
Review Date: 2010-04-30
Other Thoughts: Nice vector based animation software comparable in many ways to Toon Boom studio. I haven't used it much yet, but, some of the animations I've seen on YouTube are quite good. One plus is that there are video tutorials online, including YouTube. Further, the fact that you don't have to draw each frame would be a great time saver to amateur animators. (As opposed to hand drawn cell software such as Pencil)
On the minus side, in previous versions there was a lack of audio integration meaning you have to do the soundtrack>video editing in another program such as VirtualDub or Windows Movie Maker. Didn't see anything in the changelogs on the site that would indicate a change in this area.
But, this is free, Toon Boom is not. If you're looking for something to get your feet wet for free, this would probably be a good place to start.