Since a time ago I feel like sharing with you developers (and the rest of users and Synfig lovers) the features I think are missing or not implemented as a professional solution for designers. I created the list after using it and after teaching Synfig to my Graphic Arts students during 3 years now.
The following features are the ones that, under my personal opinion, I consider could boost Synfig to new levels:
clone tool or “clone layer”: the idea is to have a layer that gets its information from any “folder layer” present in the canvas. The “clone layer” would have a parameter called “parent” in which you could select any “folder layer” of your canvas and own transformation parameters (position, rotation, scale) so that you could place or animate the cloned layer independent of its source. “parent” parameter could even be animated to get new effects. Obviously, if you edit the source “parent layer”, this clone layer updates with the changes. EDIT: check the next answer, this feature already exists in Synfig: it’s called “canvas”
import SVG “as images” or as vector so that they work as linked files (if you edit the file, it is updated in Synfig)
motion blur: improved and automated as the available one is basic and doesn’t really analyze the movement of your canvas
easing: so so handy when animating some kind of things. It would be nice to have them “open” so that users can add more with their own math rules
adding waypoints everywhere, no matter if in animate mode or not (already been developed, great!!)
configurable mouse settings: users may want to configure the mouse behavior
option to edit manually animation curves with bezier curves
SVG animated export option, I know this is hard and there is a nice Lottie Files export, but a proper pure animated SVG would attract lot of web page designers (that surely not only use but collaborate making Synfig even better)
option to add limits to transformation parameters for layers, the ones used as drivers for rigging
I hope you like them and inspire you to implement some of them
If not, at least I probably opened a friendly discussion about near Synfig future features.
Yesterday looking for new ways to animate things in Synfig, I found out how “canvas” works and, hey! I don’t know how it was meant to be used but they work just as I described in my desired “clone layer” feature.
So this one goes out of my list as it’s totally implemented. Probably Synfig newbies could not reach at this feature as it’s not self explanatory but once you know how it works it’s fantastic. In case you are interested just check any Youtube tutorial about “synfig canvas”, there are a few.
We also kinda have this feature too, not exactly what you want, but close to it.
You are required to use Inkscape to make this work.
Suppose you have a car.svg and want to use it in your main.sif animation.
You open the file in Inkscape.
Save it as a sif file, named car.sif
Now import car.sif into main.sif
Later you can make changes to your file in Inkscape and just save it again with the same “car.sif” name. (replace the old file with new)
You need to re open the main.sif file and your changes are reflected there. Ofcourse , having those changes reflected immediately rather than re opening your file is much better.
Also does your idea include support for animation? Because I have no idea how they should work.
Can you elaborate it more?
Do you want to limit a value to certain defined range? For example, you have an Angle, you want the angle to be in between given limit, let’s say 10-50, and it shouldn’t exceed more or less than given range, is it correct ? Or is it something different ?
This is interesting, but I would like to know some more details. Define the math rules between two waypoints, or for a parameter throughout whole animation duration? Or is it more like “Flow” plugin for After Effects (for context, it lets you save your Bezier curve styles and apply it to selected waypoints)?
Yes, I have tried with “workflow”. The big problem here is that exported .sif files lack of lot of Inkscape features so it makes it very soon not a good option.
The other option I tried and find it suitable is to export your Inkscape files to .png (in order to keep transparency) and then load it into Synfig.
My proposal would be to automate it so that you don’t need to export to png when working with Inkscape… internally Synfig could render the file using Inkscape terminal and even let users select the output resolution as a parameter inside the imported PNG layer. Maybe there are better ideas, I was just building an option.
That’s it, you explained perfectly. This way riggers can limit their rigs so that animators don’t “break” them
Maybe here the closest approach would be “interpolation mode” in Blender keyframes, you can set normal interpolations (constant, linear, bezier), easing or dynamic effects. For last two, if you store them into simple files or fields (as AE Flow extension does for sharing, copying, etc.) then you have a powerful tool apart from simple interpolation modes.
You are right, I guess it would be a huge work but if you can export to Lottie Files you can probably export to animated SVG as well (and import!). I hope somebody knows and want to develop it