Synfig Studio is a free and open-source 2D animation software, designed as powerful industrial-strength solution for creating film-quality animation using a vector and bitmap artwork. It eliminates the need to create animation frame-by frame, allowing you to produce 2D animation of a higher quality with fewer people and resources. It eliminates the need for tweening, preventing the need to hand-draw each frame. Synfig Studio features spatial and temporal resolution independence (sharp and smooth at any resolution or frame rate), high dynamic range images, and a flexible plugin system. Creating digital animations is not exactly the same thing as applying the red-eye filter in your image editor; it’s still a detailed process that involves a lot of steps. But Synfig offers tons of help, tutorials, examples, and extras, making it as easy or easier to use than other Flash animation tools, and it’s fun to see your animations come to life.
Synfig Studio’s user interface consists of three floating windows: the Toolbox, which serves as the main window and control panel; the Canvas, or working surface, which can be more than one instance; and Panels, which centralize access to a variety of project tools and information. Panels can be opened, closed, ragged around, and changed in various ways. The Toolbox looks like a cross between a calculator pad and a tool palette, with a variety of icons for accessing system features and tools. It has a wiki-style Help file, though you can also view tutorials and a Reference page and access Web-based resources. The Canvas page opens with a default Root Canvas, “Synfig Animation 1,” and its toolbar suggests doing various things to “ducks” (which aren’t waterfowl at all but instead are simple means of controlling a parameter, such as the radius or diameter of a circle).
There’s something to be said for the fact that Synfig Studio exists at all: you can download, for free, a full-featured animation creation studio that can create digital animations surpassing anything Hollywood could do not so long ago. Anyone who has used a video editor or similar tools should be able to learn the basics of this capable suite, with some time and effort, not to mention a little animation and some fun.