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Feature FilmTools

‘Mary And The Witch’s Flower’ Was Made With Free OpenToonz Animation Software

Hiromasa Yonebayashi and Studio Ponoc’s animated feature Mary and The Witch’s Flower, which debuted last month in Japan and will be released in North America by GKIDS, is the first feature to incorporate the free, open source animation software OpenToonz into its production pipeline.

Japanese publisher Dwango acquired the Toonz software last year from Italian tech company Digital Video, which has been producing the animation package since 1993, and has begun distributing it as free, modifiable software that can be further developed by individual users and studios.

Even though Mary is the first film to use the open source version, earlier versions of Toonz have been used extensively in professional productions, most notably by Studio Ghibli to produce films like The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, Howl’s Moving Castle, and The Wind Rises. Yonebayashi himself directed two films at Ghibli – The Secret World of Arrietty and When Marnie Was There – which used Toonz software, so it’s logical that he would continue working with the open source version in his post-Ghibli work.

Studio Ponoc employed OpenzToonz for scanning the paper animation (with the scanning tool GTS that is distributed with OpenToonz), and also used the software for designing color models. It’s not clear if the software was used for the film’s final ink-and-paint.

Another instance of OpenToonz usage was to create a special effect that generates rainbow patterns on the bubbles. In fact, Dwango has created an effects SDK that allows all users to more easily develop effects for the package.

Below is a screenshot of OpenToonz that shows Studio Ponoc’s bubble effect in the process of being made:


And here is a screenshot of the result in the finished film:


The soap bubble is further explained below by OpenToonz developer Shun Iwasawa:

To download the free and open source version of OpenToonz, go here.

  • Lazer-Lion

    I’d be too afraid to ever use this, it seems so daunting and scary to use. I hate that I’m so scared of failing something like this.

    Also, Pretty annoyed that there’s huge emmy considerations for Teen Titans Go, I hope something worthy gets the award.

    • Marti386

      I’ve been watching some tutorials on YouTube. It’s honestly no more daunting than Toon Boom.

      • Mario Bros

        That’s not saying much. Toonboom is hard to learn.

        • Marti386

          That’s why I usually just stick to Adobe Animate CC. XD

          But unlike Toon Boom, OpenToonz is totally free.

  • Great news, but…

    This is great news, although the Mac version is super glitchy, and they haven’t developed a Mac edition of GTS yet…

  • I’m still amazed at how a program as robust and professional as this is totally free. I’m just learning it myself, and already the possibilities are staggering. O.O

  • Taco

    This “Was Made With Free OpenToonz Animation Software™®”… also Drawings! It’s simply amazing what you can achieve with a pencil & scanner or digital stylus these days! Just make sure that you’re constantly enabling all your brains *Life Drawing firmware updates* to get the most out of the program. Otherwise you’ll just be throwing good money away on your subscription to the Human Consciousness™®. Too many animators & artists don’t use it’s full potential. Don’t forget about how talented, overworked & underpaid those Japanese artists are, maybe if you deprive yourself of sleep by working demonstrable hours you could achieve this too. (Disclaimer:) Not everyone can draw Manga Style™~:^P & ~;^)

    • There’s certainly a lot of OpenToonz-made videos on YT that suggest just that, people aren’t using it fully and it’s a shame not to see too many professional demos or tutorials being released publicly to show off those capabilities.

      • Part of the problem, aside from the lack of skill level mentioned, is that people misunderstand what Toonz is used for. A lot of these people are making animations with their tablets. Sure you can animate with a stylus, but it’s not the best software for that. Toonz is designed for studios importing paper drawings, to have a smooth workflow for ink and paint…etc. If you’re animating on paper, and can’t afford paid commercial software, Toonz is not a bad choice. But if you want to animate with your stylus, Krita is a much better way to go.

        • I knew that for years as I was following Toonz and similar programs developed for what was usually called “Digital Ink & Paint Composition” (a pal of mine once shortened it to “DIP”), systems/software of this type have been around in one form or another since the 80’s but I wouldn’t put it past many expecting to do the latest techniques to give it a passing grade.

  • You’re SO right!