First impressions

Just wanted to share my initial first impressions of Synfig. And since the focus of this post is on features it seemed appropriate to post this here. The most overwhelming thing is when you first start Synfig and are confronted with an onslaught of floating windows. Synfig should take a page from Blender’s book and make it a goal to have a unified non-overlapping interface. Of course having the ability to “un-dock” portions of the UI and have them display on another monitor is useful. And that GIMP (GTK) look is and always has been visually ugly. The interface should show the tools and information the user needs, but be in the background. It would be nice to see QT implemented for the UI or at least take the current design and slim it down.

Everything as a new “layer” is a bit overwhelming and having to encapsulate the data to make things more visually workable is more of a hack word around I think. (Of course it works in the short term) The layers of transforms (ie. effects, translations, scales, etc.) should be applied to the selected/active object and give the user control to apply outside the object if the effect/transform requires.

I’m curious why points are referred to as ducks. It seems documentation wise it would be easier to talk across applications if they were called what the common term is…unless there is a reason they are called ducks? And a big error keeps occuring on the wiki. Sometimes I get a repeated error messages and the impression that the docs won’t load. That is a bit disconcerting I’m sure to new users.

Currently, I’m running on Windows to use Synfig. And now that I’m not running off of my phone for internet I’ll give compiling on OSX a try. But I’d recommend not even posting up an install (even with a warning) until it for sure works. That will lead to many trying it, seeing that it doesn’t work and walking away.

I am amazed by all of the effects that are possible in Synfig. I think thats definitely a strong point of the application and I look forward to exploring them all in detail.

Features I miss from Toonboom and ASP (some perhaps that a Synfig user can direct me to workarounds :slight_smile: ):

Bones. It’s discouraging to see that bone development was talked about back in 2008-2009 and it’s 2011. This feature would greatly amplify Synfig’s use. Of course I understand that developers are limited and you don’t want to implement a halfway developed feature.

Switch layers. It may not be necessary at all in Synfig to have anything like that. I get the impression that waypoints can function in that regard, but I may be misinterpreting things.

Rotating light tablet/canvas effect. It’s really great when drawing to be able to rotate the canvas and it’s something I miss in Synfig.

I’ll post more here as I go, but those are my initial thoughts.

Brushes. I’d love to see mypaint brushes or Krita’s brush system implemented into Synfig for frame by frame based animation. Would be incredible even to be able to paint a character and animate the image elements with the bones discussed earlier.

Audio support of some sort. Just for basic lipsyncing would be useful.

Disclaimer: I did use Synfig early in it’s development. So I am sort of familiar with the app.

Hi Nichod,
first of all thanks for take your time on review and write the first impressions. Nothing help us more than a sincere explanations of the likes and dislikes of a firs user contact.

I won’t enter on things that we agree on. We are aware of them and work as many as we can to make real one of those days. Meanwhile the people who is taking care of the project (not many actively lately ) are doing our best to keep it alive.

Change this behaviour would require to rewrite the core of the application from scratch. It would be a very significant change not affordable with the current situation.

The layer concept of apply the transformations and effects has its advantages too. There are some types of transformation that can’t be achieved if they are not applied at raster level. It can be argued that any transformation could be applied as parameters of a paste canvas and would affect to all the elements inside. That would end with the same problem of multiple encapsulations to apply different filters to determined amount of layers. At the end of the day, complex compositions lead to complex layer stacks. There is not easy solution for that.

Yes, read here:

Recently our host providers ( has migrated all their machines to Debian Squeeze. It needs some adjustment on the wiki that will be fixed as soon as possible.

We think that have nothing is even worse. At last people who want to help us on improve the Mac OS installer or builder has the opportunity to give us a feed back and help on walk in the good direction.

In Synfig you can switch an entire canvas. There is a type of layer that holds a entire canvas. It is called the Paste Canvas Layer. Its canvas parameter can be animated to allow the user have the same functionality than the Anime Studio Switch layer. It needs lots of improvements, though. See a video example here: