Italian indie developer Digital Video and Japanese publisher Dwango have inked an agreement for the latter to acquire Toonz, a digital animation software solution. The deal goes forward under the condition that Dwango will publish and develop an Open Source platform based on Toonz, OpenToonz. This will be made available for free download on March 26.
OpenToonz will include features developed by Studio Ghibli (Toonz Ghibli Edition). The acclaimed Japanese animation producer has been long-time user of Toonz software. Dwango will also create a platform aimed at welcoming research labs and the animation industry to actively cooperate with each other.
Digital Video will move into an open source business model, offering commissioning, installation & configuration, training, support and customization services. The developer will also continue to fine-tune and market a Toonz Premium version for companies willing to invest in customization for their projects (toonzpremium.com).
“During the production of Princess Mononoke in 1995, we needed a software enabling us to create a certain section of the animation digitally. We checked for what was available at that time and chose Toonz,” said Studio Ghibli’s executive imaging director Atsushi Okui. “Our requirement was that in order to continue producing theatre-quality animation without additional stress, the software must have the ability to combine the hand-drawn animation with the digitally painted ones seamlessly. From then onwards we continued to use the software while going through major updates to make it easier for us to use. 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. We would like to extend our gratitude to the staff of Digital Video.”