Hi guys. I've just finished testing out Studio Ghibli's 'OpenToonz' OpenSource animation software, (a release of the software that was built 20 years ago for Ghibli to make their amazing movies!), and I wanted to share my newfound wisdom (and of course, the link) with you.
Okay! So you guys want the link, right? Right now? You can't wait to download this software and make anime!! Awesome anime!
STOP RIGHT THERE, BUSTER!
There are very very few people who are going to benifit from this program. Firstly, it's over 20 years old, although it has been upgraded and meshed with a lot of new systems and drivers, you're running a lottery for whether it'll even install!
Having said that it installed and worked flawlessly for me.
BUT! Even with perfect function, for the average animator, this program is a complete and utter downgrade!
If you have a Flash-code program, or moderately-advanced movie-making software, don't bother downloading it. Don't even try. If you want to make anime animations, practice your drawing skills! (You can follow my tumblr nekoni-sensei.tumblr.com/
and I'll even be covering animation techniques eventually.)
The few people this program MIGHT be good for are those who have no decent animation, flash or movie software but have an excellent computer (and the patience of a saint-(I'll explain why these things are required pronto)) OpenToonz is FREE! Absolutely free. LEGALLY, LEGITIMATELY, AND VIRUS FREE! But not headache free.ON TO THE RADIOACTIVELY GLOWING REVIEW!!!
Firstly, my compliments to the programmers and animators at Studio Ghibli for their masterful work. For 23 years ago this was great, and the work produced with it was astounding, (especially for what I'm about to tell you) they did a fantastic job, considering this was at the dawn of the personal computer.
But I'm going to review it from it's modern standing, and consider its modern useability. If you think that's Ghibli bashing, please, turn back now! (or skip to the end, download the program, THEN read my review
Let's start with the user interface.USERINTERFACE:
The design isan ergonomic one, resembling the perfection of the visage of the great god Cthulhu
Click that link.
We on the same page?
There are 6 seperate interface tabs. Each of these tabs are functional, but the drop down menus will change on each of them, and it's not clear what each of them are for (some, you can perform the same function in) there's also a hidden 7th interface deemed the most useful. Before you start, you'll have to set up all your toolbars and tools in these interfaces because that's not even automated. Then you'll discover that 'color 1' is transparent, and 'color 2' is black, and oh my god you have to make your own palettes!!? You'll also fail to discover that depending on whether you have a Raster or Vector object selected, the drop down menus will all change (not 'fade out' options and let you know you're not going crazy. They'll change. And you'll think you're simply -lost- because my god what sadistic programmer would do that to people!?) There's also the small issue of it being a program translated from japanese (or maybe just the age) things like 'layers' are instead called 'columns', so initually you'll be very confused.
Just by reading that you've been spared the experience, but incase you forget, -it's evil and you're not going crazy-.
All in all though, the interface, you can get used to. It's like finding your way through the backstreets of manhattan, eventually you'll start to get the hang of it; I was only using the program for 6 hours but I got used to it....
...but the interface isn't the problem.
The problems arise when you try to actually produce a piece of anime quality artwork.LINEART:
There are three formats for artwork in this program. You can import a black and white lineart, (no shading zone lines!) that's already been drawn in another program to anime quality. You can retain the quality by using the 'cleanup' tab and options, and alligning them perfectly. This will LOOK the best. Unfortunately you're left with a raster image, which is a huge CPU hog.
You can trace over your raster image (or use the convert to vectors option, I think that's on tab 4), you'll lose the perfect lines because OpenToonz's canvas is so small. You can make the canvas bigger to compensate (as you would in any program), which is also... a total CPU hog. (it's bad, I tried 3000 pixels wide and the whole program just cried and jumped out the window.)
You can draw your artwork first time round in OpenToonz, you have no sketch layers or light and whispy pencil tools so your art is probably going to look like you've had a stroke, but that's okay, because it's in vector and... it's still a total CPU hog.
Really the problem with getting decent linework in this program is that it's running so many proccesses to get things done (and probably so many coversions to allign with 'modern windows (good luck mac users.)) that if you've overclocked your computer at any point, it's likely to spontaniously combust by your attempts to make shiny shiny anime.And I'm only partially joking. Computers do catch fire sometimes It's not that common really. I mean unless you upgraded your graphics card without taking into account the heat generated and the amount the fan is set up to deal with. But why would you do that. COLORING:
As I already mentioned, you have to construct your own color palette. It makes sense for a company's workflow, as it keeps everyone's coloring uniform and correct. But there's no elf setting up the color palette for your 5 frame animation; there's only you. But I'm exagerating, that's only going to drive you slightly crazy...
Compared to the fact there's no gap fill. So your linework better be SO #ONPOINT
. One little gap and your picture will flood with one color.
Think you can handle it? There's more! Your tight little corners and twists in your linework, (by this I mean pretty much any corner) are like a little uncolored pixel utopia. You'll be coloring those in by hand. On every frame.THE SANE PERSON'S RESPONSE:
'Okay I get it, it'll be easier and my art work will look better and more anime-like if I do it in another program first and use a transparent background and save it as a png. Then I can import it, right?'
Yeah you're right! But... if you have animation or flash or movie software installed, do you really want to deal with the clunky interface and the risk of your computer catching fire (I am exaggerating!) for... nothing...? You have other programs... you're good!
If you have none of those softwares, then you can give this a try! Just bare in mind it will legitimately try to make you insane.
If you're still going to try it because 'omg Ghibli!' or 'no way it can be THAT bad-' have fun! No, seriously, those are legitimate reasons to try it too. You can't say I didn't warn you!
Also I'd like to make a footnote. As this is open source software, which has been released for one month-- if the right people become interested (and I would suggest ripping the program down to its nuts and bolts, a complete rebuild, for CPU's sake!) this program could get better, and become the animation standard of the western world! But right now...?LINK:
So now I bet you're really excited! If you've skipped the review for the link! Here you go! opentoonz.github.io/e/
<8u8< Super Genki Happy Fun Time for you!!! >8u8>