Have you ever wanted to create films like Miyazaki? Or animate a series like Futurama? Well, the tools of the trade are about to become much more accessible. Digital Video, the makers of the 2D animation software Toonz, and Japanese publisher DWANGO have announced that as of March 26 Toonz will be made open source under the name OpenToonz.

Studio Ghibli has been using Toonz for animated features since 1995 when it needed to seamlessly combine digitally painted and hand-drawn animation for Princess Mononoke. OpenToonz will use the Toonz Studio Ghibli Version and include features developed for the studio over the course of their many years using the software. Atsushi Okui, Executive Imaging Director at Studio Ghibli, has said in a statement that “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.”

toonz

Photography courtesy of the Digital Videos YouTube channel

Toonz has also been used in the production of such well known television series and films as Futurama, Fox’s Anastasia, and Amblimation’s Balto. It’s also been used by game developers for computer games like Discworld 2. This is a professional program, and soon it will be available to amateur and indie animators alike. I’d love to see a surge in independent animation come out of this.

Digital Video will still offer a premium version of Toonz. The buy in gets you training, installation and configuration, customization, and few other perks that they detail on their website. One of Digital Video’s goals in making Toonz available as a free download, according to Claudio Mattei, Managing Director at Digital Video, is “to make of Toonz a world standard for 2D animation.”

As of March 26, you’ll be able to download OpenToonz for free.

[via Cartoon Brew]