×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Simple 2D Animation Software for UNIX-like OSes

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the building-cartoons-without-windows dept.

Graphics 51

BSDanimation asks: "I want to create slide based cartoon-like animations with speech bubbles and simple programmable 2D effects in a widely accepted format like MPEG or AVI. I have considered using Ming to code a Flash animation, but then decided against Flash and would prefer to stay away from such proprietary formats. Blender seems nice, but is too complex and a complete overkill. OpenOffice presentations seem promising, but I am not sure if it is possible to program effects and speech bubbles in it and export such presentations into a format other than Flash. What free UNIX-like OS based open source software is there for such simple 2D animation that would also allow me to distribute my animations commercially without any licensing restrictions?"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

51 comments

Blender is not Overkill (4, Insightful)

ironfroggy (262096) | more than 8 years ago | (#13642310)

There is no more reason to say that Blender is overkill for such a task than to say OpenGL is overkill for non-3D graphics. Just use a single view angel and don't move anything in the third coord. Southpark is even animated with such a tool. Besides, this will allow you to expand your effects in the future, should you ever find the need.

Re:Blender is not Overkill (3, Interesting)

vcv (526771) | more than 8 years ago | (#13642329)

But is there a higher learning curve than using a 2d tool because of what it's designed for? I've never used blender, so I can't so. But for any other 3d tool I've used, I would definitely say yes.

Re:Blender is not Overkill (2, Informative)

TheWanderingHermit (513872) | more than 8 years ago | (#13642444)

I can't give you a full answer, but I can tell you I'm no expert and no skilled artist by any means. I've always been interested in playing around with 3d animation, and downloaded Blender several years ago, when I needed a creative outlet. At first I thought I'd never learn it and nothing made sense to me. Then I bought a copy of "The Official Blender 2.0 Guide" (I guess that probably says how long ago it was!). I started reading through it and was designing 3d objects within a few hours. Once I had a guide to Blender and saw what the intent was with all the strange (or so they seemed to me) way things were done, it make sense and I was able to start working with it quickly.

Re:Blender is not Overkill (3, Informative)

thhamm (764787) | more than 8 years ago | (#13643846)

Once I had a guide to Blender and saw what the intent was with all the strange (or so they seemed to me) way things were done, it make sense and I was able to start working with it quickly.

i think there`s nothing more to say about blender than this. the learning curve is somewhat steep, but you can learn it quickly, but only with a manual. but then, it`s left hand on the keyboard, right hand on the mouse, and off you go. never had a better modelling tool. it will get you to your results more easily than 3DS, lightwave etc. even if you`re only doing 2D, or video editing (sound editing excluded).

for me, getting into some other specific tool for the task would take more time than just blendering it in a few minutes. though i preferred the 1.x interface without dropdown menus. and it`s opensource now.

/me big blender fan. :)

Re:Blender is not Overkill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13678127)

it`s left hand on the keyboard, right hand on the mouse

That explains why you use the backtick symbol for your apostrophes

Re:Blender is not Overkill (1)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 8 years ago | (#13643614)

No. South Park uses 3d models in Maya and uses cel shading [wikipedia.org] to make it look two dimensional.

Re:Blender is not Overkill (1)

Directrix1 (157787) | more than 8 years ago | (#13643927)

He didn't say South Park was made with Blender, he was saying South Park is made in a 3d modelling program.

Re:Blender is not Overkill (0)

poopdeville (841677) | more than 8 years ago | (#13644129)

But he implied that South Park was made using two-dimensional models.

Re:Blender is not Overkill (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 8 years ago | (#13645275)

No he didn't. He just said it used a single viewpoint and didn't make much use of the depth axis.

Re:Blender is not Overkill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13647785)

southpark IS made with 2d models,which is easy to do in a 3d program. Next time don't correct people if you don't know wtf you are talking about. I don't care if wiki says it's made in 3d and cel shaded, I've been a 3d animator for years and know exactly which techniques are used just by seeing the show. Have you ever seen 3d cel shading? that is not what it looks like.

Re:Blender is not Overkill (1)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 8 years ago | (#13648104)

I don't give a damn how it works. I was just pointing out that he did not, in fact, say what you believe him to have said.

Re:Blender is not Overkill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13663365)

I'd lust like to jump in here and say nothing in particular. This post was not worthwhile.

Re:Blender is not Overkill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13645073)

I don't belive you. Why would they create models and then only show them from the side, front or back. Back your claim up, or retract it.

Re:Blender is not Overkill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13647947)

they arent really models, they are made from 2d planes, just like the original paper models. using a 3d package allows them to rig them once and save them instead of cutting out all that paper over and over again, it also allows them to save a library of common shapes and switch them in and out as needed. and even if the did actually build those characters in 3d, any experienced modeller could do it in less than an hour.
      also, as a professional artist working for someone else is always a trip, you could create a whole huge painting only for some designer to use it to fill in some type or something, as long as you get paid you move on and look for the next job.

Re:Blender is not Overkill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13648453)

southpark IS made with 2d models,which is easy to do in a 3d program. Next time don't correct people if you don't know wtf you are talking about. I don't care if wiki says it's made in 3d and cel shaded, I've been a 3d animator for years and know exactly which techniques are used just by seeing the show. Have you ever seen 3d cel shading? that is not what it looks like.

Re:Blender is not Overkill (4, Interesting)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 8 years ago | (#13644292)

What's nice about using 3d for 2d animation is the ability to create everything to scale, keep it at scale and simply move it back into the distance (z-index) instead of 'faking it' by scaling it down. This makes depth much more plausible to the viewer and much easier to animate... think of it like a theater stage with a backdrop and stand up props, except that you have an infinitely deep stage to work with and unlimited 'tracks/layers' to put your props on.

Re:Blender is not Overkill (1)

Cloudface (702721) | more than 8 years ago | (#13667988)

I think the similar such a tool you're referring to (re "Southpark") is called "Maya" and it has a very steep learning curve indeed...I'd call it more of a cliff than a curve. (Well worth the climb, tho.) And Blender's interface is indeed similar. For simple 2D animation, ToonBoom Express might be one way to go. Neither of these programs is anywhere near as free as Blender of course...

Flash and non-preparatory formats (4, Interesting)

Distortions (321282) | more than 8 years ago | (#13642335)

You *do* know you can author in flash and export it as video, right?

Re:Flash and non-preparatory formats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13642433)

Not with the Ming library, AFAIK, you can only do it with the Flash authoring suite that runs on Windows. Read the summary - he wants to author in UNIX.

Re:Flash and non-preparatory formats (1)

Distortions (321282) | more than 8 years ago | (#13647374)

"I have considered using Ming to code a Flash animation, but then decided against Flash and would prefer to stay away from such proprietary formats." Emphasis added by me. Thats true though, I wouldn't know. I've never used Ming. Worst case you could screen cap or find/write a way to export raw frames. Or, he could just author on unix and export under mac/windows. Does flash work under wine or something similar?

Re:Flash and non-preparatory formats (1)

cloudmaster (10662) | more than 8 years ago | (#13650946)

From the question: What free UNIX-like OS based open source software is there.... This doesn't sound like someone who wants to pay $400+ for Macromedia Studio MX 2005 GX XP Plus Turbo. Though yeah, Flash's video export is nice enough - if you're someone who likes to pay for and "use" Windows and Flash...

Re:Flash and non-preparatory formats (1)

corrosive_nf (744601) | more than 8 years ago | (#13671942)

or he could just use flash mx on a mac and get the same unix-like software he has already been using.

How about Moho? (4, Informative)

Tool Man (9826) | more than 8 years ago | (#13642420)

Moho is a vector-based program from Lost Marble, and runs on Linux as well as Mac and Windows. It can output Flash as well I think, but wasn't restricted to Flash output either.

http://www.lostmarble.com/moho/index.shtml [lostmarble.com]

Re:How about Moho? (2, Informative)

Tool Man (9826) | more than 8 years ago | (#13642584)

Just one thing... Moho isn't quite free, but pretty close. The demo version watermarks the output and renders Flash as gray-scale, but the full version is $100 US. Considering the features, it's still cheap cheap cheap.

Re:How about Moho? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13649514)

Where art thou synfig [voria.com] ?

Re:How about Moho? (1)

Tool Man (9826) | more than 8 years ago | (#13649932)

Looks neat, but nothing beyond contact info for the author. News of release plans or something might be a nice teaser.

Re:How about Moho? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13652183)

Last I heard the author tried to get Apple interested and then annonced he would be releasing it under the GPL. Is that enough of a teaser?

Re:How about Moho? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13656329)

I'd have to second this. It is full of features to get you going quickly: particles, bones, and lots of goodies that cost tons of $$ in other packages.

The support from Lost Marble in the forum and from other users is very good. I've had minor issues with the linux versions and had patches from their support people in 2-3 days. Give it a whirl!

Artificial limitation (3, Insightful)

node 3 (115640) | more than 8 years ago | (#13642440)

Are you sure you want to artifically limit yourself by not using Flash?

Flash is sort of the obvious answer, and there are essentially no practical drawbacks to using it. I'm all for promoting freedom and openness, but if your primary goal is to create a 2d animation for people to see, Flash really is the way to go.

Not only that, but your hobby will also be spent learning a skill which can be very highly marketable.

Besides, I believe it's trivial to convert a flash animation into other, more traditional, video formats.

It's expensive (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 8 years ago | (#13680602)

Flash is sort of the obvious answer, and there are essentially no practical drawbacks to using it.

What to buy? Food, or a copy of Flash?

Not OSS but.. (1)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 8 years ago | (#13643128)

For doing 'cartoon' like animation, I would install UAE (Universal Amiga Emulator, OSS software) and run a package called Disney Animator on it.

It allows you to create animations in a way very similar to how traditional (oilskin) animations are created.

Of course you'd have to get a hold of AmigaOS 1.3 or compatible and the Disney Animator software.

No idea if this is available on other platforms also.

The good old days... (3, Interesting)

bscott (460706) | more than 8 years ago | (#13643360)

Where is EA's old "Deluxe Paint III" (Amiga version) when you need it?
Sometimes the march of progress plows under the simple-but-useful.

Re:The good old days... (1)

Emil Brink (69213) | more than 8 years ago | (#13645121)

If you don't feel like digging up an emulator and running the real thing, I've heard from a credible source that Cosmigo's Pro Motion [cosmigo.com] comes pretty close. Free 30-day trial version, or just short of $100 for the full version. There's also a "lite" version, at $30. I've no affiliation with the company, and it's been a while since I looked at it, but whatever version was current then even "inherited" some of the DP III keyboard shortcuts.

Re:The good old days... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13667689)

there is a 'deluxe animation' for MS-DOS, which is sort-of port of dp3 to PC. Remember that DP2 got ported too.

Re:The good old days... (1)

armb (5151) | more than 8 years ago | (#13674474)

> Where is EA's old "Deluxe Paint III" (Amiga version) when you need it?
In a cardboard box in the back of a cupboard with other stuff on top of it, like my Amiga, I think. I wonder if the floppies are still readable.

SVG - scalable vector graphics (5, Informative)

sed@netcom.com (6179) | more than 8 years ago | (#13643398)

have you looked into scalable vector graphics format (svg)? it is a mature spec published by the W3C, and like macromedia flash, svg stands to become much more popular once it is distributed with web browsers.

there have been svg browser plugins for some time; now native svg is included with firefox on ms-windows, and scheduled for inclusion with firefox and mozilla. here are some SVG and SVG animation links for you:

Re:SVG - scalable vector graphics (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 8 years ago | (#13650612)

Agreed. Let's not forget KevLinDev [kevlindev.com] , a great intro to SVG.
"Animation" is built into the DOM, but can be further enhanced by Javascript.

Moho (2, Interesting)

rrwood (27261) | more than 8 years ago | (#13646720)

Might not be exactly what you're looking for, but Moho from Lost Marble [lostmarble.com] is a great 2D animation tool. And it comes in all your favourite OS flavours (as long as that means Windows, OS X, and Linux).

All smartass commentary aside, I think it's great that the Lost Marble guys have ported to Linux. I'm sure it's been a total loss as far as monetary return-on-investment goes, but I like to think that the PR value has made it worthwhile (heck, it made me post this to SlashDot).

NLE software (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13647844)

I have worked as both a 3d and 2d animator, tho the Idea if using 3d software is a good one, and blender is a nice mature package, the interface is daunting. I have found that for what you are describing, using a combination of GIMP and some sort of NLE (non linear editing) software that supports alpha channels would be a good combination. I have to admit tho I'm not sure what the NLE options are like right now (somebody help!) I know cinelarra was in the works but that was a while ago.
      all you have to do is create your characters and whatnot in gimp and save them as 32bit tiffs using the alpha as transparency, you then should be able to layer them in the editing soft and output straight to video sound and all.
    I know these techniques work in the proprietary world using tools like gimp/pshop and premiere or after effects.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...