OpenToonz Review

OpenToonz

 OpenToonz

OpenToonz is a free, open-source animation program used by the likes of Studio Ghibli, Futurama, and Steven Universe. It's completely free, but is it powerful enough for your needs? If you need a strong, capable means of creating traditional 2D animation, the answer is "most likely".

What We Don't Like

Crashes are frequent. The crashes don't seem to be in response to any particular stressor; the program just crashes randomly from time to time. Just make sure that you save your work regularly.

The Xsheet is confusing. This is the digital equivalent of an exposure sheet. You use it to control timing of everything in a scene.

Some features and windows are hard to find. A lot of the windows you would think vital aren't available when you first open the program. You have to poke around a bit to turn on the toolbar, timeline, and other features. It's a minor complaint, but it's frustrating when you're navigating around the program.

It doesn't always make new frames automatically. Some users report having to restart and set up a project again after drawing a frame to get around this.

Design and layout seem outdated. This doesn't affect the program's actual performance, but the interface isn't as streamlined as some other options.

What We Like

You can combine hand-drawn and digital animation. No other program allows you to bring in scanned drawings and polish them digitally as well as OpenToonz does.

It's full-featured. OpenToonz is quite comprehensive in its abilities, with features such as the ability to animate, then clean up that animation, have color swatches on your pallet, bring in real hand-drawn animation to digitize, and more.

It's open-source. Not only does this mean the program is free of charge, but it also ensures that developers are always improving upon the product. Free of corporate red tape and profit motives, updates happen as needed and without cost.

Final Impressions

Despite the slight clunkiness and other minor drawbacks, OpenToonz is a truly powerful tool for traditional 2D animation. Given that it's open-source (aka, free), you have nothing to lose by downloading and playing around with the program. We think you'll agree that it's a strong competitor to programs such as Adobe Animate.