Yesterday I stumbled across an open source graphics project I had never heard of before called Pencil. I think it’s quite new, it is currently in version 0.4, 4th beta. In any case, it has a fantastic interface for an open source program. Yesterday I downloaded something similar (but very different) called Synfig. One look…Ewwwww… the interface is disgusting. It’s worse than what the GIMP used to be (and still partially is). Not to mention the not-too-simple install for it (I had to download the gtk, some gtkmm thing and two synfig installers). Of course, this could be because of the lack of support for the project (it does have a nice looking website though). From the look of it, Pencil is made by one person – an artist, animator. Artists would be sure to make a nice interface. In any case, the program itself is incredibly simple to use. It has tablet support, and it’s ever so simple to draw and colour in. However! Bewarned! It is surprisingly easy to start drawing crap (manga) so watch out! It is bitmap and vector based, apparently. I see it has two layers, a bitmap & vector layer respectively, but I haven’t figured out how to use the vector one yet. Animating couldn’t be simpler. Well, it could, but it has Flash rivalling frame usage (on that, it clearly states on the website that is is not a web based flash rival. However it does export to swf if you ask it nicely).

I’ve told you what I love, now what I hate. Frankly, there isn’t much, but I am picky about a few things. They all relate to the layers panel. I don’t like the colours of the layer panel, and the gradients remind me of other open source software (like audacity). Also, I would like to be able to right click on frames, and operate stuff like that. Remember, it isn’t flash, its like a flip-book. There are no symbols, no tweens, no actionscript, no inverse-kinetics (for cs4 users)…just pure traditional animating. It’s Cross Platform. It’s Open Source under the GNU/GPL (I think). It’s great.

(btw, the code’s not in pascal, thats just his name. its c++. if this is obvious, ignore this, but it’s my first time looking at source code so bear with me)