Overview

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Animation is the rapid display of a sequence of images ("[[frame]]s") to create the illusion of movement. Convincing movement requires many such frames, but 2D animation is traditionally created by drawing each frame individually, a method called "frame-by-frame animation".
 
Animation is the rapid display of a sequence of images ("[[frame]]s") to create the illusion of movement. Convincing movement requires many such frames, but 2D animation is traditionally created by drawing each frame individually, a method called "frame-by-frame animation".
  
Digital animation makes it easier for artists to animate more quickly, efficiently, and consistently.  It introduced concepts such as automatic [[tweening|in-betweening]] of frames and [[Reuse Animations|reuse of small animations]].
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Digital animation makes it easier for artists to animate more quickly, efficiently, and consistently.  It introduced concepts such as automatic in-betweening ([https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tweening|"tweening"]) of frames and [[Reuse Animations|reuse of small animations]]. Synfig Studio is free, open source, 2D animation software that implements those concepts.
  
Synfig Studio is free, open source, 2D animation software that implements those concepts.
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==Layers are Different==
 
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==What are Layers?==
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[[File:overview-layers.png|thumb|Each shape is a layer.]]
 
[[File:overview-layers.png|thumb|Each shape is a layer.]]
The [[Layer]] in Synfig is a different structure than in most 2D vector editors.  Every object, be it a rectangle, circle, [[BLine|bezier]] outline or region is a layer on its own.  The characteristics of layers control how they look.
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The [[Layer]] in Synfig is a different structure than in most 2D vector editors.  Every object, be it a rectangle, circle, [[BLine|bezier]] outline or region is a layer on its own.  The properties of layers control how they look.
  
==ValueNodes==
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==The Power of ValueNodes==
  
Synfig's [[ValueNode]] system gives us flexible control over repeated data and complex relationships.  All layer properties are stored as reusable ValueNodes, which can be linked to each other or even derived from mathematic formulae.  An important aspect of ValueNodes is that '''they can be animated and tweened'''; in fact, the vertices of a shape are ValueNodes, and tweening them morphs the shape.
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Synfig's [[ValueNode]] system gives us flexible control over repeated data and complex relationships.  All layer properties are stored as reusable ValueNodes, which can be linked to each other or even derived mathematic formulae.  An important aspect of ValueNodes is that '''they can be animated and tweened'''; in fact, the vertices of a shape are ValueNodes, and tweening them morphs the shape.
  
A feasible example of ValueNodes' capabilities is clothing.  If a character's clothing must be colored the same throughout a project, their colors can be [[linking|linked]].
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A feasible example of ValueNodes' capabilities is clothing.  If a character's clothing must be colored alike in multiple shots, their colors can be [[linking|linked]] across files.  Whenever one instance's color is changed, they are all changed instantly.  
  
==Morphing==
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Aside from linking simple pieces of data, you can also define relations between them using a functions and conditions. The artist has the ability to create automatic animation based on defined laws and brings the whole animation process to a new level.  A ball from a cannon can be realistically fired, or a pseudo-3D character's face can rotate accurately with its head.
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<!-- TODO: Example illustration of parabolic shot -->
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<!-- TODO: Write a few lines here that Synfig can be used to produce simple animations too -->
  
'''Morphing''' takes two images and creates a smooth transition between them. This is done by changing one shape into another, often assisted by the use of '''control points'''. Synfig Studio morphs vector shapes automatically. Animation is done simply by supplying drawings in key positions at relatively wide time intervals. The artist supplies as many frames as needed to create the basic sense of motion for a scene. Synfig Studio takes care of creating the in-between frames.
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==Possible Animation Types==
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===Morphing===
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'''Morphing''' takes two images and creates a smooth transition between them. This is done by tweening the vertices of one shape to the vertices of another. Intricate nimation with this method is done simply by supplying frames in key positions ([[keyframe]]s) at relatively wide time intervals, and allowing Synfig to fill in the gaps.
 
<!-- TODO: Insert illustration of morphing animation here -->
 
<!-- TODO: Insert illustration of morphing animation here -->
  
==Cutout==
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===Cutout===
  
 
[[File:Boris-munchausen-cut-out.png|thumb|right|[https://munchausenproject.wordpress.com/ The Adventures of Boris Munchausen], an example of cutout animation]]
 
[[File:Boris-munchausen-cut-out.png|thumb|right|[https://munchausenproject.wordpress.com/ The Adventures of Boris Munchausen], an example of cutout animation]]
 
'''Cutout animation''' is created by splitting objects into parts and applying some simple transformations to them (like translation, rotation or scale) at different points in time. Synfig Studio uses those values to interpolate the motion for in-between frames. Cutout animation can be produced from both bitmap images and vector graphics.
 
'''Cutout animation''' is created by splitting objects into parts and applying some simple transformations to them (like translation, rotation or scale) at different points in time. Synfig Studio uses those values to interpolate the motion for in-between frames. Cutout animation can be produced from both bitmap images and vector graphics.
  
In either case Synfig Studio's role is to fill the gaps between frames (also called "keyframes") to produce smooth, fluid animation. This process is called "tweening".
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<!-- Although Synfig Studio is not directly intended to draw animation frame-by-frame, it can be used to bring your hand-drawn frame-by-frame animation to film-quality level. The artist converts each frame's bitmap data into vector format. This process, called "tracing", is usually done by hand by constructing vector shapes on top of bitmap images. Some fun and fascinating effects can be applied during the creation process to achieve a professional animation look. -->
 
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<!-- Is this necessary? -->
Although Synfig Studio is not directly intended to draw animation frame-by-frame, it can be used to bring your hand-drawn frame-by-frame animation to film-quality level. The artist converts each frame's bitmap data into vector format. This process, called "tracing", is usually done by hand by constructing vector shapes on top of bitmap images. Some fun and fascinating effects can be applied during the creation process to achieve a professional animation look.
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<!-- TODO: Illustration - bitmap image and same image traced in Synfig Studio -->
 
<!-- TODO: Illustration - bitmap image and same image traced in Synfig Studio -->
 
Among the plain linking pieces of artwork data you can also define relations between them using a set of functions. That allows the artist to create automatic animation based on the defined laws and brings the whole animation process to a new level.
 
<!-- TODO: Example illustration of parabolic shot -->
 
<!-- TODO: Write a few lines here that Synfig can be used to produce simple animations too -->
 
  
 
Synfig Studio's features are covered in detail within this manual.
 
Synfig Studio's features are covered in detail within this manual.

Revision as of 23:31, 28 November 2012

Navigation Navigation:  Manual>>

Animation is the rapid display of a sequence of images ("frames") to create the illusion of movement. Convincing movement requires many such frames, but 2D animation is traditionally created by drawing each frame individually, a method called "frame-by-frame animation".

Digital animation makes it easier for artists to animate more quickly, efficiently, and consistently. It introduced concepts such as automatic in-betweening ("tweening") of frames and reuse of small animations. Synfig Studio is free, open source, 2D animation software that implements those concepts.

Layers are Different

Each shape is a layer.

The Layer in Synfig is a different structure than in most 2D vector editors. Every object, be it a rectangle, circle, bezier outline or region is a layer on its own. The properties of layers control how they look.

The Power of ValueNodes

Synfig's ValueNode system gives us flexible control over repeated data and complex relationships. All layer properties are stored as reusable ValueNodes, which can be linked to each other or even derived mathematic formulae. An important aspect of ValueNodes is that they can be animated and tweened; in fact, the vertices of a shape are ValueNodes, and tweening them morphs the shape.

A feasible example of ValueNodes' capabilities is clothing. If a character's clothing must be colored alike in multiple shots, their colors can be linked across files. Whenever one instance's color is changed, they are all changed instantly.

Aside from linking simple pieces of data, you can also define relations between them using a functions and conditions. The artist has the ability to create automatic animation based on defined laws and brings the whole animation process to a new level. A ball from a cannon can be realistically fired, or a pseudo-3D character's face can rotate accurately with its head.

Possible Animation Types

Morphing

Morphing takes two images and creates a smooth transition between them. This is done by tweening the vertices of one shape to the vertices of another. Intricate nimation with this method is done simply by supplying frames in key positions (keyframes) at relatively wide time intervals, and allowing Synfig to fill in the gaps.

Cutout

The Adventures of Boris Munchausen, an example of cutout animation

Cutout animation is created by splitting objects into parts and applying some simple transformations to them (like translation, rotation or scale) at different points in time. Synfig Studio uses those values to interpolate the motion for in-between frames. Cutout animation can be produced from both bitmap images and vector graphics.


Synfig Studio's features are covered in detail within this manual.

Navigation Navigation:  Manual>>