Synfig Studio is a powerful piece of animation software that offers a pleasantly surprising number of features for a free platform.
- Offers multiple layer options including geometric, gradients, filters, distortions, and transformations
- Supported with a robust cutout animation system
- Can sync your animation to a soundtrack without the need for external software
- Packs in a lot of features despite being an entirely free package
- Supported by a vast and genuinely helpful collection of tutorials and documentation
- Easy installation
- Despite the helpful tutorials, there's still a fairly sharp learning curve to figuring out the ins and outs of animation
- Missing some of the features of more expensive and industry standard platforms
Adobe Animate has long been the leader for professionals working in the field of animation, but there's always been a large barrier to entry for the software. It's notably expensive and sometimes difficult to learn the intricacies of, and it's only become more prohibitive with Adobe's transition to a software as a service model for all of their platforms. For amateurs looking to play around with the fundamentals of animation or professionals working on a tight budget, Synfig Studio is a great alternative, a free animation studio that offers most of the tools an animator needs to get the job done. Synfig Studio is relatively easy for a newbie to pick up and learn the functions of, but that doesn't mean it's as simple as figuring out the basics of an image editing app. Animation is naturally a far more complicated affair, and there's bound to be any learning curve for anyone just entering the world of animation. Luckily, Synfig Studio makes the process of getting involved pretty easy. The program comes completely supported with a wide selection of tutorials, FAQs, and help tool pop-ups. When so much software requires hunting through the internet to figure out, Synfig's Studio robust support for its users is a refreshing change of pace. Installation is equally as simple, a process that Synfig took great pains to remedy after hearing complaints from their users. For a free product, development and updates come at a satisfying pace, and the features available are anything but bare bones. This strive for simplicity and quality of life is reflected in the general interface of Synfig Studio, and that's a crucial advantage given how much time users will probably spend navigating the UI. Three floating windows constitute the main suite, and the ability to move and manipulate them on a whim means that users can restructure their workspace depending on their preferences. This is especially valuable for high end users who work on multiple monitors at the same time. The layout will be familiar to anyone who's worked with a video editing or even photo editing software package in the past. The Toolbox takes the popular approach of shrinking down the tools to simple icons, an industry standard but a necessity given the number of options available in Synfig Studio. The Canvas is where most of the work will be done on your animation, and Panels provide you with resources dedicated to the entire project rather than the immediate affairs of what's happening on the canvas. Multiple varieties of layers are available, allowing animators to create complicated artwork in which various elements are segregated for easy granular control, and a bones system similar to that used in Flash facilitates the use of cutout animation. Synfig Studio boasts that their software can help you create professional animation, and that appears to be the case. Their website hosts a number of featured animations, and the software itself contains most of the tools you'd find in more expensive animation suites.