Synfig Studio (formerly known as SINFG) is a free, Open Source 2D vector and timeline-based animation software. It was created by Robert Quattlebaum (currently no longer involved) who decided to make it Open Source in 2005 under the GNU license. You can use this application to create feature-film-quality animation, web animations, advertisements etc. It has a long list of features such as: support many layers ( filters, gradients, distortions, transformations, fractal and many others), spatial resolution-independence, temporal resolution independence, High Dynamic-Range Imaging (HDRI), pentablet-friendly tools, artist-oriented design, path-based gradients, etc. New features are added all the time such as the bones tools or frame-by-frame animation which extends the capabilities of this program. Currently, Synfig Studio is available as a stable release for Microsoft Windows (XP/Vista/7), Linux RPM-based distributions (Fedora, Mandriva, RedHat etc.), Linux DEB-based distributions (Ubuntu, Debian etc.), other Linux distributions, Mac OS X (requires Apple's X11 environment - XQuartz) or you can choose to compile and run Synfig Studio using the source code.


Synfig Studio Review

Installing: Please note that the setup file will also install FFMpeg and Examples (setup was tested on Microsoft Windows OS). You can choose which components to install, just in case you already have FFmpeg installed.

Main interface: The main interface is constructed of Panels which you can choose to close, open, drag, resize, play or customize them in many ways. If you ever wish to return to the "default view", just choose "Window", select "Workspace" and choose "Default" and everything will be restored.

What you can do: Probably the best example of what you can achieve with such a software suite is Morevna Project where Synfig Studio was used for 2D animation (vectorization & tweening). Looking for more examples? Check out the "Examples" section which contains the sources for animations or the Gallery. Additionally, you may want to check the "Scripts and Tools" section which also contains an interesting collection of tools or the YouTube official channel.

Working with the program: Unless you're an expert in this area, the best thing to do is to start with the "Synfig wiki" which contains the User Documentation (Manual, Tutorials, Reference and Glossary), Developer Documentation and Writer Documentation. Probably, the "User Documentation" is the most accessed section which covers almost anything you want to know about this software so make sure that you read the "Manual" and "Tutorials" sections.

Conclusion: Most software titles that I tested were easy to use (at least the basic options) and I am not going to say the same thing about this program. This is (without a doubt) a professional 2D animation application but just like any other similar tool, it has a certain level of complexity and it requires you to put some effort in the learning process. Obviously, you might disagree if all you want to do applies to a certain task such as the creation of animated charts or anything like that. In that case, you might concentrate your attention on a "specific" Tutorial and obtain what you want. Finally, don't forget that until 2005 this was an expensive application which was released as a free, Open Source software and the current development team is doing an excellent job in keeping it updated and adding new features. As you will probably notice on the official project homepage, the team working on this project struggles to support further development meaning that each and every donation counts. If you like this free animation software, please consider a donation.

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