Animation software Toonz Ghibli Edition becomes open source

Toonz, the animation software used by Studio Ghibli and the makers of Futurama, among others, will be open source. The software is free to use from March 26. Studio Ghibli is the maker of films such as Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke.

The move to open source is the result of an acquisition. The Italian company Digital Video, the maker of Toonz, has sold the software to Dwango, a Japanese publisher. The sale of the animation software continued on the condition that Dwango develop and release an open source platform from Toonz.

That platform will be called OpenToonz and it should ensure that researchers and people within the film industry work together. Part of the platform is making Toonz Studio Ghibli Edition available for free. The well-known Japanese animation studio has been using the software since 1995; then the studio was looking for a package to digitally animate part of the movie Princess Mononoke. Since then, the studio has continued to use the software and several features have been added, depending on Ghibli’s wishes.

Digital Video is moving to an open source business model, with the company providing support and training to companies using the Toonz software. In addition, the company continues to make custom versions for major customers, under the name Toonz Premium.