introducing myself and a minor question

Hello everybody,

I’ve recently taken interest in Pencil2D, both as a programmer and a wannabe graphic artist. I’m not familiar with the traditional animation workflow, and from what I’ve read it seems that Pencil2D is meant to be used as a “sketching” tool (not sure what the right term is) rather than a solution to create production-ready animation. Is this true ?

I would like to try out Pencil to create animations for a 2D game. As a total noob when it comes to drawing and animating, I need a simple and easy to learn approach. Also since I work as a programmer on medical imaging using C++ and QT, it would fit in nicely with my development environment.

I’m really not a big fan of the flash style animation trend (that’s an understatement actually, because I hate it). I think classic cell style animation is much more appealing.

Side note: I’m under the impression some of this project’s members are french ? Just curious because I’m french too :slight_smile:

Hi @fcollot welcome to the Pencil2D site. Let me dispel some of your doubts:

  1. Some of the devs are french (I only know user feeef), but there are people from all parts of the world. Originally this software was made by Pascal Naidon, a frenchman, but he abandoned the project a few years ago due to his own reasons, so Matt Chang, the current lead programmer, picked up Pencil to restart development.

  2. Pencil2D is not only aimed for “sketching”, that is making a “croquis” or a previsualization of a fully rendered drawing. It is meant to create hand-drawn animation from idea to movie, skipping maybe the compositing part.

A typical animation pipeline overview in a small studio can go like this:

IDEA - STORY (Script)
VISUAL DEVELOPMENT (Character Design, Set Design)
AUDIO RECORDING (animators use pre-recorded dialogue to match up performance)

-TIMELINE TIMING (You time out the keys in advance, then scan or draw directly on the shot /scene timeline) (this step often varies between studios)
-ANIMATION (Character Animation, Fx Animation, this is done “rough” based on the storyboards, animatic and the layout reel; for example in tv shows usually they crank super precise storyboards and use that as a rough layout to begin animating)
-CLEAN-UP (INK & PAINT) (Done digitally nowadays)

-COMPOSITING (Overlay of layers one on top of the other. EG. Background last, next character, next foreground elements, etc)
-VIDEO EDITING - RENDER (depending on your pipeline you’ll render out either shots or full scenes, and them stitch them together in your batch renderer or in a dedicated video editor)

Ideally Pencil should help to contribute with mostly everything in the pipeline that has to do with drawing, painting and cleaning-up, and it should be able to be used to animate for 2D games, since what you need for your game engine is either a sprite-sheet or an image sequence of your animation to import.

If you’re interested in learning more about 2D animation software for production I’d suggest going to TVPaint’s website which is a french app for professional hand drawn animation. This is one does cost money, but it’s great.

As a bonus, let me tell you about Natron which is a french node based open source compositor which uses OpenFX plugins, just in case you wanna learn more about that hehe :slight_smile:

Hope this helped clearing up what we should be expecting from pencil. And I really hope you can help us developing Pencil, so join the GITHUB whenever you can to stay up to date with the latest revisions! :slight_smile:

Thanks for your very detailed reply, I appreciate :slight_smile:

I checked out the two references you mentioned and they look very interesting (although for TVPaint, I prefer free solutions for now since this is really a side project at the moment).

I checked out the github project and already have some technical questions but I’ll save them for the proper forums when I have some more time.

Thanks again !

By the way, I have checked the language list of translation of Pencil.
I see just four languages: English, Chinese, Italian and Czech (partially).
There is not yet a French Spanish Portuguese version, or I can’t find them ?

@tiber Yeah no one else has attempted to add a translation to other languages. You can confirm it here: as well as in the sourcecode folders. It shouldn’t be too hard to translate it if someone is bilingual in both english and the preferred translation language, but I guess no-one has had the time.

@morr Strange, I guess it is not a long and hard job to do, especially for a mother tongue. Well, I could translate in Spanish.
Apart chatting and complaining for bugs, a small practical contribute to this project I think it will be better.
Later I will analyze the source code.

[Caso necesites de ayuda para la traducción al castellano, te podré ayudar en mi tiempo libre]

By the way, how could I know the most common language of Pencil2d users here ? I think that 2d animation production is still alive and kicking in the Anglo-Saxon countries, where English is spoken. And East Asia too (Japan and South Korea).
In North West Europe (France and Netherlands and less Spain and Italy). In East Europe there is a great tradition but I do not know the situation today.
I could start with the Spanish translation next week. Then I think to give priority to French but I can not help you with Asian languages.