Studio Ghibli Animation Software Will Be Open Source

Studio Ghibli has captured the minds of many viewers over the years. And now they have decided to share the secrets behind their flawless movies with the fans. The software used in Studio Ghibli movies like Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away is called Toonz, and it will soon be available for use. This came through after Digital Video, an Italian studio, made a deal with Japanese media company, Dwango, which ensured that Dwango releases a free version. The free version, which can be used by anyone with no charges, will be called OpenToonz.

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“The contract with Dwango,” said Digital Video managing director Claudio Mattei, “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,” the Verge has reported.

The first release from Toonz was in 1993. The technology was in its initial stages back then, and was mostly used to draw art by hand into vector graphics. Studio Ghibli has been using Toonz since 1995, when they needed it to “digitally render a sequence in the film.”

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Studio Ghibli’s imaging director has said that they started to use the software when they thought that they needed something that could seamlessly combine hand-drawn and digital images. “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,” said Atsushi Okui, Studio Ghibli’s executive imaging director.

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Toonz is the software that is also behind Futurama and The Simpsons Movie. Digital Video has said that it would come up with a version of the software that is premium.

Nobuo Kawakami, Dwango chairman, has said that their company would use the software for its future projects as well. It sure look like many will benefit from such a great freebie! “It is a great honor for us to be able to release OpenToonz as open source software,” said Dwango chairman 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,” Wired has said.

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Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation film maker, who have among their hits Spirited Away (that won an Oscar) had announced that it was going to halt production. This happened in 2014 after Hayao Miyazaki retired from it, BBC had reported. Toshio Suzuki, the co-founder has said that the company needed to think about the future of the company. “It is by no means impossible to keep producing [movies] forever. However, we will take a brief pause to consider where to go from here.” He went on to say that the studio needed some “housecleaning” after Miyazaki took retirement. It’s obvious why the departure of Miyazaki would make the studio think about the future. The studio made movies for more almost three decades.

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The films by Studio Ghibli include Castle in the Sky, My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, Ponyo, and many more. Before Studio Ghibli was formed, its founder had already worked in Japanese film and TV animation. Hols: Prince of the Sun and Panda! Go, Panda! were some of the movies they made, Wikipedia has said. Suzuki also edited Tokuma Shoten’s Animage manga magazine before he became a part of Studio Ghibli. Eight of the fifteen Studio Ghibli’s films are among 15 highest-grossing anime films in Japan.

[Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images]