reading back some of my posts I’ve noticed that my enthusiasm asking for help or pushing people to contribute to Synfig has decreased lately.
And that’s not possible!! Synfig needs (must) to be in continuous change, evolving for the excellence and becoming the leader of the 2D animation of the FOSS world.
So what does a leader application needs?
Le me list them here (not in specific order):
- Good documentation.
- Stable coding cycle: Feature->develop->release->feedback->debugging
- Modern input and output support (media and human interfaces)
- Good support in all platforms.
- Friendly user interface/intuitive
- Fast user response. Ready for work-flow
Good documentation: This is the basic element to make the user experience satisfactory. Although even if the application interface is self explanatory, it is not possible to expose all the features in one single interface. A good documentation is always an unfinished project that needs continuous polishing. Is anyone doing anything on document Synfig?
Stable coding cycle: When someone want to make some serious work, it is needed that the tool you use has good support. The feature->develop->release-feedback->debugging cycle is essential for the free open source software and its strength is based on this cycle. One application is nothing if there is not a good user base using it that complete the cycle of feedback bugs and feature requests to make the application better day by day. I wouldn’t continue using any application that looks dead without development support because I don’t have any guarantee that the new bugs that might be found will be addressed or new features are added. It is essential that the application continues working on the new platform versions or finally it will die. Is anyone taking care of that?
Modern input and output support: The applications has to adapt their interface for data input and output to the new formats and devices. Video and audio input and outputs in all its codec formats, new human interfaces devices and new vector and raster formats are essential for the future of the Synfig. Is anyone taking care of this area?
Good support in all platforms: It is absolutely needed to have good support for the basic platforms. If we are not updating the support for Windows for example better to leave the platform and concentrate the efforts on the rest than continue having bad feedback from Windows users. Sometimes I’ve been tempted to rewrite the core of Synfig just for Linux with parallel computing support due to the complexity of keep it for all them. We need to think about it. Is anyone working to improve Synfig in Windows?
Friendly user interface/intuitive. There are many aspects of Synfig Studio that can be improved. Some of them implies a lot of work but once done (if well done) would allow a very much better development of the new features. I’m not going to list all the needed changes in this matter because they have been extensively discussed in the forum. Is anyone doing something tangible on this?
Fast user response/ready for work-flow: It is very hard to work with an application with a high latency. Most of the time of work of the user is wait the system to respond to the changes and that’s absolutely inadmissible. The main bottle neck of that comes from the floating point calculation of the raster operations that are made by Synfig when rendering an scene. Specially there are many vector operations that are made in the raster space instead of the vector space. That’s OK for certain operations like a blur or a noise distort but is not admissible for a rotation or a shape boolean operation. For better render speed I’m working on Cairo render but there is many aspects to improve in that area. Later, a transition to perform the vector operations in the vector world (in opposition to the raster world) is also absolutely needed.
This listed areas are just the core of the needs of the project. Synfig needs other aspects that aren’t listed here: logical support for the above points (wiki, source code repository, tracker system, website), internationalization, administration activities. All those needs someone that takes care of it. Apart of Zelgadis, is anyone interested on take care of it?
As you can see this it not a task for a single one person. Not for two nor three. Synfig needs a supporting community.
I love Synfig. It has many features that are awesome and the potential of dozen of them that would make it the pioneer on the graphics & animation world. So why don’t people see this? Why don’t we have dozens of coders knocking for patches acceptation and hundreds of users requesting new features?
I do my best every time. I’m aware that Zelgadis is doing his best every time.
And you? are you doing your best to improve the future of Synfig?
(If you read this post and feel uncomfortable and stir your stomach let me tell you that it was its intention.)