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Toonz, a piece of software for animation, will be open-sourced. Toonz was recently purchased by Dwango, who announced the changes today. On Saturday March 26, a free version of the software will be posted on the site. A paid, premium version of the software will be available, “at a very competitive price for those companies willing to invest in the customization of Toonz for their projects. “

Toonz is software used to draw for animated features. Notably, it is used by Studio Ghibli, responsible for critically acclaimed films such as Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and Castle In The Sky. It was also used on Futurama when it was in production.

As of this posting, Dwagno has not announced any information on the pricing of the premium version of the software, or what features will be lacking from the free version. They have also not announced which license they will be releasing Toonz under. The most commonly used open source licenses are the GNU General Public License (GPL), Lesser General Public License (LGPL), the MIT License, the Apache License, and the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) License. The GPL is a “copyleft” license that would require distribution of source code with binary distribution, and stipulates that all derivative works also be under the GPL. The MIT, Apache, and BSD Licenses are more permissive, primarily requiring attribution.

Quick Take

This is good news for the open source world. There’s a bit of a lack of open source software for professional creative use at this time. I’m also curious as to how they’ll license it. I would imagine they’d use either the MIT or Apache License, since they would more easily allow for two separate branches, one free, and one proprietary.  The GPL does allow for this, but care must be taken to strictly separate the two as to keep the proprietary branch proprietary. 

John Quilty

Staff Writer

I've been a lover of video games, writing, and technology for as long as I remember. I have a B.A. in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and I'm happy to write about gaming and technology for TechRaptor.

  • Nope Naw

    I’m very intrigued by this news. Good animation software is actually pretty hard to come by if you don’t want to use puppets, bone rigs and/or vectors. I’m definitely grabbing it come saturday and will be messing around with it.

  • Nope Naw

    After having -tried- to get into it, Opentoonz is very unforgiving. The original software was built to be used by traditionally trained animators. So the workflow will be completely alien to most new users who are more familiar with the modern horizontal timeline, rather than the traditional vertical XSheet employed by Opentoonz.

    Add to that that the program’s interface is overly convoluted and could have been drastically streamlined, this made even worse with absolutely zero official english support and training material.

    The program boots up with a blank project to start with. However, it’s using a severely outdated resolution, and changing that resolution to something else… I’m pretty sure the process involves sacrificing a goat to some elder gods.

    In short, the program is free, yes, but sadly you get what you pay for. The interface is an incomprehensible mess and the drawing engine is quite frankly shit. Not to mention that it’s unstable. The english speaking forum for it was cramped with crash reports, and still is. The devs are actively updating the software, though. It already had a critical update just recently, but using the program is so much of a hassle. I’d rather just plonk down the 500€ and buy a license for TVPaint instead. If I had that kind of money to spare.