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Open-Source Animation Production Software OpenToonz Available March 26

Animation production software with expanded feature set employed by Japan’s famed Studio Ghibli to be distributed for free.

TOKYO -- Japanese developer and media company Dwango announced that it has acquired animation production software Toonz from Italian developer Digital Video, with a forthcoming release of an open-source version containing the same feature sets as the Toonz Ghibli Edition developed by longtime Toonz user Studio Ghibli.

Toonz Ghibli Edition is a customized version of the Toonz software which was developed by the famed Japanese studio and has been used in the ink and paint, color design and digital composition process for most of their titles ever since The Secret World of Arrietty. In addition, OpenToonz will also include effects developed by Dwango that utilize its artificial intelligence technology, and a plug-in feature that enables anybody to add original effects to OpenToonz. The new open-source software -- which is completely free to use and update -- will be officially presented in Tokyo at Anime Japan, running March 26-27

“During the production of Princess Mononoke in 1995, we needed a software which enables us to create a certain section of the animation digitally,” Atsushi Okui, Executive Imaging Director, Studio Ghibli, commented. “We checked for what was available at that time and chose Toonz. Our requirement was that in order to continue producing theater-quality animation without additional stress, the software must have the ability to combine the hand-drawn animation with the digitally painted ones seamlessly. From then onwards we continued to use the software while going through major updates to make it easier for us to use. We are happy to hear that this open-source version contains the Ghibli Edition. We hope that many people inside and outside of the animation industry will utilize this software for their work. We would like to extend our gratitude to the staff of Digital Video.”

Digital Video will also continue to develop and market a Toonz Premium version at a competitive price for those companies willing to invest in the customization of Toonz for their projects.

With the aim of building an environment where research labs and the animated film industry actively cooperate with each other, Dwango hopes to develop a platform via OpenToonz to help the animation industry instantly apply various animation production-related research results acquired in the field.

“The contract with Dwango, which offers the Toonz open-source platform to the animation community, has enabled Digital Video to realize one of its strategies, i.e. to make of Toonz a world standard for 2D animation,” said Claudio Mattei, Managing Director at Digital Video. “It will be also the starting point of a new exciting plan to endorse the open-source business model, by supporting training and customizing Toonz for the old and new users. We are proud to share this path with Dwango and with Studio Ghibli, the renowned Toonz user since 1995.”

“It is a great honor for us to be able to release OpenToonz as open source software,” added Dwango Chairman and CTO Nobuo Kawakami. “We’d like to express our deepest appreciation to Digital Video and Studio Ghibli for their help and support We hope the high-quality software that meets the demands of animation professionals will contribute to revitalizing the animation industry. Dwango will also utilize OpenToonz in order to present its research and development results."

An OpenToonz demonstration and exhibition will take place at the Kadokawa booth in AnimeJapan 2016 held at Tokyo Big-Sight March 26-27. In addition, a business seminar entitled “Open Source Project of Animation Production Tool” will be held at the Creation Stage on March 26th. Nobuo Kawakami, chairman of Dwango and Shun Iwasawa, assistant professor at Tokyo University, will be on stage welcoming Studio’s Ghibli’s Atsushi Okui as a special guest.

OpenToonz Seminar in AnimeJapan 2016
“Open-Source Project of Animation Production Tool”
Saturday, March 26, 2016 -- 11:00-11:45
Tokyo Big-Sight, Creation Stage in East 6 Hall

Speakers: Nobuo Kawakami, chairman of Dwango, Shun Iwasawa, assistant professor at Tokyo University, and special guest Atsushi Okui, Executive Imaging Director, Studio Ghibli.

In addition to this seminar, there will be exhibition and demonstration of OpenToonz for two days -- March 26 & 27 -- at the Kadokawa booth in the main area (J41). Attendees will be able to try the software at the booth.

Source: Dwango

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.