Animators aspiring to be the next Hayao Miyazaki are now one step closer to their dreams, as the animation software used by Studio Ghibli is now free and open source.
Toonz is a software package created by Italian studio Digital Video. Designed to aid in the creation of traditional 2D animation, it has been acquired by Japanese telecommunications and media company Dwango, which is planning on releasing it to open distribution.
From 26 March, anyone will be able to download Toonz Studio Ghibli Version, which includes features the famed animation house has helped develop. Beyond that, Dwango’s acquisition comes with the agreement that the software becomes even more accessible. From the deal’s announcement, “Digital Video and Dwango agreed to close the deal under the condition Dwango will publish and develop an Open Source platform based on Toonz”. This will be known as simply “OpenToonz”.
Toonz was first released in 1993 and has gone on to become a powerful tool for 2D animation. Besides Studio Ghibli’s more recent works — first used on 1999’s Princess Mononoke — it’s also been used to produce the likes of Futurama, Asterix, and even video games such as Discworld 2. It’s flexible too, able to work with old-school hand drawn animation or entirely digital productions. OpenToonz has the potential to expand the relatively insular creative world of animation, making a professional-level suite available to amateur or independent animators and bigger, established studios alike.