Japanese tech firm Dwango has revealed that its open source 2D animation software OpenToonz was one of the tools helping bring the Kamikaze Douga studio’s debut animated feature Batman Ninja to the big screen. Produced by Warner Bros. Japan, the time-traveling samurai superhero adventure was directed by Junpei Mizusaki (producer, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure) from a script by Kazuki Nakashima (Kill La Kill, Kamen Riders).
First distributed by Dwango in March 2016, OpenToonz is based on the Toonz tool from Italian developer Digital Video S.p.A., and is now accessible for anyone to use and modify free of charge. OpenToonz features include functions customized by the longtime Toonz user Studio Ghibli. Dwango has developed visual effects that utilize their artificial intelligence technology and plugin features that enable any user to add effects. Since its release, Dwango has been making additional modifications based on on-site feedback, such as during production of the first feature film made in OpenToonz: Mary and the Witch’s Flower (Studio Ponoc).
Batman Ninja is primarily created in 3D CG, but certain scenes incorporate 2D animation. OpenToonz was used for these elements to process strokes, effects composition and cinematography. One reason the studio selected this tool was its ability to process drawings in a special format which preserve the halftone information required to replicate the natural look of a pencil stroke and subtle, faint lines. Additionally, OpenToonz uses a palette system which enables a flexible workflow — for example, a user can work on the cinematography of materials before the colorization process, or change the color specification without having to go back to the finishing process.
“I was able to make a good use of OpenToonz to complete this [Batman Ninja] – however not without a slight trepidation as this was my first time working on a large-scale project with this software,” said compositor Yoichi Senzui. “I found it particularly useful during the last few sequences of the production where we needed to correct colors and Xsheets. OpenToonz had many well-thought-out features that helped me along the way, such as the color management system which utilized palettes and the Xsheet interface. The camera work configuration was also visually intuitive. Although I was the sole staff working on OpenToonz for this project, I hope that more people will learn how to use this software to produce more works.”
Learn more about the software at opentoonz.github.io/e