Sophie Hatter during the battle in Howls Moving Castle

Studio Ghibli’s Animation Software Is Now Free

Ever since I first saw Castle in the Sky as a teenager in the mid 90’s on one of Channel 4’s late night anime runs, I’ve being in love with the work of Studio Ghibli.

I didn’t even know who Studio Ghibli was at the time, and didn’t find out until years after watching that film that there were other equally incredible films by the same studio and the now legendary director, Hayao Miyazaki. (What can I say, it was in a time before the internet had pervaded our everyday lives and made looking things up easy).

Over the years I discovered more of their work, before Disney brought wider attention of them to the western world, and my fascination with the stories and art and animation in their movies has only grown.

So, as a freelance animator, to read the news that Toonz, the software that Studio Ghibli (and many other large animation houses) have used on a lot of their later films is been released for free, open source as OpenToonz, is pretty exciting.


Will it make me an incredible animator!?

No, sorry. Just like by using a Wacom Cintiq you won’t magically turn into an amazing illustrator, creating an animation in OpenToonz doesn’t mean it’ll actually be a good animation. That magic lies in the hands of whoever’s wielding the stylus or drawing the key-frames.

I’m pretty sure if Miyazaki and his team of animators were forced to use Adobe Animate (or as it used to be called, Flash – if you’re old school) they could create a masterpiece – but the fact that a production-proven piece of software like OpenToonz is going to get into the hands of anyone who wants to give it a go is incredible.

Will I ever be able to produce anything even one-hundredth as good as Ghibli? I can only dream, and I’ll deffinitely download it an give it a try. It’s free, I’d be daft not to!

I imagine the folks at Toon Boom aren’t too happy about the news :)


Porthaven gets bombed during the battle scene in Studio Ghibli's animated version of Howls Moving Castle

The Cat Bus  Spirited Away






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