Animation Software Toonz is going Free and Open Source

The animation software behind Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli, Toonz is about to go free and open source.

Toonz boasts an extensive history, dating back to 1993, and has been used on the production of several Studio Ghibli Films. Toonz was first used by Studio Ghibli in 1995 when creating Princess Mononoke, and went on to play a part in several other masterpieces. Besides Ghibli Movies, Toonz has been plenty used in popular animated TV series like Futurama, as well as in Hollywood features and TV series including Fox’s Anastasia, Amblimation’s Balto, and MTV’s The Maxx.


Atsushi Okui, executive imaging director at Studio Ghibli, notes that they initially chose Toonz back in 1995 “in order to continue producing theater-quality animation without additional stress,” and a desire for software that had “the ability to combine the hand-drawn animation with the digitally painted ones seamlessly.”

The announcement came with the acquisition of Toonz Software by Japanese developer and media company Dwango from Italian developer Digital Video. The company will release the open source version (previously $10,000 per license cost) software on March 26 as “TOONZ Studio Ghibli Edition” which includes features developed in collaboration with Studio Ghibli.

The software serves as a bridge between the traditional use of pen and paper and modern, paperless animation production methods. The tools help speed up the process of scanning and cleanup of drawings, along with inking, editing and animating, and compositing.

The open source Toonz, OpenToonz will have a potentially profound impact on the animation industry; allowing independent animators to use the software without the high up-front cost.

“With the aim of building an environment where research labs and the animated film industry actively cooperate with each other, Dwango hopes to develop a platform via OpenToonz to help the animation industry instantly apply various animation production-related research results acquired in the field.” – AWN writes.