I am Luke, plus my first impressions

Hello everyone,

My name is Luke and I “was” hoping to use Synfig studio to create animations since it is an open source project, and I love open source projects mainly when they work properly.

Firstly, before I have a rant over the interface of the program, I shall introduce myself:

I am a student currently studying Business and Law and college and hoping to build up a business in video game development. My first game or project is going to be a 2d game, and looking around to find some decent programs that are easy to use in order to create graphics and animations for this “mystery” 2d game.

First of all, after seeing this program, I thought to myself “this looks promising”. However, now installed on my computer I am regretting having downloading it. Okay it is in “beta” and many things need to be sorted out; for instance, the interface. This is one of the things I have criticised about Paint.NET, which I might add is one of my favourite graphic drawing programs but trying to move to vector drawing - unfortunately, Inkscape is too complicated for me and only some of the tools I can get used to.

Now “trying” to use Synfig, my first impressions and reactions to using it for the first time was - “what is going on with all of these windows?”

Having not really seen the documentation yet, I am hoping to get some information from these forums in terms of how to use this program, and to integrate all the tools into one Window, much like Flash but that’s too expensive for my budget.

Okay after getting over the initial rant of the clunky interface was the actual drawing itself. Very simple, or rather “too simple” for my liking. Again, I can understand that it is in Beta, but as with most vector drawing programs, you should have at least the option to add curves to straight edged objects - Synfig lacks those options and barely a vector drawing program as a consequence.

So after that I tried to fiddle around with moving the object “rectangle”. Click on rotate? Check. Rotate the object… so I hold down left-click and try rotating… oh, it doesn’t rotate. Let’s try filling the object with the colour red. Does it work? No. I left click and the object is, by the way, selected up to this point.

Hopefully the developers can make it so these “very simple” functions can actually work, but until these options are fixed I am not using the program. Maybe I am being dumb and thickheaded and not looking at the documentation, but so far I am disappointed.

You might think I am being harsh and not reading properly and being over the top, and I would understand your “over the top” reaction if it were, but being the Internet community I am going to see a lot of rant over this topic. However, what I would like to see is responses to actually being able to figure out why I can’t use this program in the way I want it to.

I hope I don’t offend anyone but this “beta” project is what I am seeing as very unfinished.

Yes, these are my first impression too. Many things that is often done like changing colors, choosing colors, zooming, etc. are quite inefficient and cumbersome. I think it would improve in next version or so. I was just thinking of how to give some advice, tips, etc. of sorts to the developers so that using Synfig would be more enjoyable.

Hi brutalexcess,
I won’t reply your impressions one by one because all they are mostly answered on the wiki and many times on this forum.

Synfig is a initially non intuitive application. It has its own way of construct the shapes and its own way of layer combination. It differs from many of the other 2D animation programs you can even used.

Just a few things:

  1. A Rectangle Layer always would produce a axis aligned rectangle. Since it is defined by just two 2D points (its opposite corners) it can’t draw a rotated rectangle. So If you modify those values with any tool (Rotate or whatever) it will continue being a rectangle.

  2. Layers in Synfig are of two types:

a) Primitives
b) Filters

Primitives produces shapes based on its own parameters (Circle, Rectangle, Region, Outline, Gradient, etc.)
Filters modify the render result of the layers that are below that layer. Filters are of a large variety of types: affine transformation, raster deformation, color correction, time modification, etc.

  1. Layers are be blended together from top to down using different blending methods.

  2. Layers scope is determined by the canvas they belong too. It is possible to create inline canvases using the Paste Canvas Layer that acts like a folder to offer a private canvas to render the stuff there and stopping the layer’s effects from outside of the canvas.

  3. Curves are added by using the Bezier Tool. You can create straight lines just by point and click and curves by point click and drag.

After know the insights of Synfig Studio all the people that has broken the first barrel is very satisfied with the result and its power. There is much much more there than apparently you can see in the interface.

It is true that our mission is to make it more intuitive for newcomers. We are in the process but our resources are limited and so, changes are slow.

Please start reading the manual and let us know if your disappointing continues.

And thanks for your sincerity. We need people that tell us truly impressions. That helps us a lot.


Thanks for your reply!

I think I am going to stick with Paint.NET for now since I have found a animation plugin for it (won’t export to anything other than GIF but it’ll do). Until this project matures and the tools in the interface are dockable into the main window or else, I will be looking for alternatives.

I think I may spend some of my budget on a relatively decent vector program, given that I can get used to it. I’m just too used to Paint.NET’s ease of use. PhotoShop is cool, but it’s bitmap. Illustrator is, in my opinion, cool and love the flare effects it has and great for designing logo’s but anything more complicated than that and I just suck at it :L

Hopefully I can find something decent out there that I can use just as easy as Paint.NET for vector drawing, maybe, unless there is a plugin for it :slight_smile:

Usability of synfig

  • Yep, the first look can be rude… because synfig is an original program, not a copy from another things.
    Synfig come from the professional world of animation (see history in synfig.org) , so it is THE/A perfect tools to do animations.

  • Still not V1 … ok, but definitivly not in alpha or beta version … you will found too much functionalities for basics shapes animations and a giant treasure for complex animation if you take time to follow tutorials (video one’s and here).

About Inkscape
An Open Source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator, CorelDraw, or Xara X, using the W3C standard Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) file format.
Inkscape supports many advanced SVG features (markers, clones, alpha blending, etc.) and great care is taken in designing a streamlined interface. It is very easy to edit nodes, perform complex path operations, trace bitmaps and much more. We also aim to maintain a thriving user and developer community by using open, community-oriented development.

And them, you can export svg to sif (synfig format) : http://wiki.synfig.org/wiki/Doc:Svg2synfig