Wednesday, August 4, 2010

2 Cool Animation Programs

Did a little surfing around yesterday looking for new or updated animation programs. Currently in my spare time I'm using Blender for 2d animation, but I try to keep updated on proper 2d animation programs.

Well I saw that Synfig has been updated a few months ago. It now fully supports importing svg files. I tested it out a little bit, it works great. It handled every svg I threw at it, including a few pretty complex ones. The greatest part is it's a proper import, meaning I seem to be able to edit svg files I import the same way I could edit an image I made entirely in synfig. This is really cool.

Synfig, for those who don't know, is a vector 2d animation program that was designed for professional use, abandoned, then open-sourced. It seemed to sit there for a while, gaining little improvement (probably because the volunteer coders were fixing bugs, not adding features) but it's really coming along now, and seems stable enough for me to use for a lot of my projects.

Unfortunately, Synfig still doesn't support adding sound to the timeline, so you'd have to use a cue sheet or something similar to time lipsync movements so that actually match up with an external audio track. Lack of sound support is a big deal for me, though I understand that it will take a lot of work for them to implement.
Sound assumedly used to work in Synfig, but very poorly so using a proprietary and (now) depreciated library.

That said, sound isn't too big of a deal. Remember that 20 years ago nearly all animation was done by hand, so all lip syncing was done by counting out the number of frames. Lip-syncing in Synfig is still easier than it would have been back then.

The other program I stumbled across is Animata. From it's website's description:

Animata is an open source real-time animation software, designed to create animations, interactive background projections for concerts, theatre and dance performances.

Go to the website and check out the videos on it's front page. Then check out the tutorials over here. Pretty cool, huh?

The main problem I can see with Animata is that, as they say, it's real-time and designed for live performances. There doesn't seem to be a way to save an animation as a video file or as a string of still images. I haven't played around with the program yet, but I'll bet you could use CamStudio or some equivalent to record the animation off your monitor and save it as a video. I don't know how good the quality would be, but it could work.

There you have it, two cool animation programs to play with if you're so inclined. Unfortunately I can't at the moment, I'm still too engrossed with Blender to even think about digging into another app.

For now, anyways.


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