Non-Linux FOSS: Animation Made Easy

If you've ever wanted to make an animated film, the learning curve for such software often is really steep. Thankfully, the Pencil program was released and although basic, it provided a fairly simple way to create animations on your computer (Windows, Mac or Linux) with open-source tools. Unfortunately, the Pencil program was abandoned.

And really, that's the coolest part of open-source software. Building on the incredible Pencil program, a new project was born. Pencil2D is under active development, and it's a cross-platform application allowing for a frame-by-frame animation sequence to be drawn and exported. Pencil2D supports soundtracks, multiple layers, imported graphics and a really cool onion-skin feature so that subsequent frames can be changed by increments making for smooth animations.

The program isn't perfect, and it does crash from time to time. As you can see in my screenshot, it enables a non-artist like myself to create animations. (If I pressed play, you'd be shocked and amazed at my puffing chimney!) Whether you want to make a quick animation or produce a full-length movie, Pencil2D is a neat program that will cost you nothing to try. Download your copy, and see how you can contribute to the project at http://www.pencil2d.org.

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Shawn Powers is a Linux Journal Associate Editor. You might find him on IRC, Twitter, or training IT pros at CBT Nuggets.