Synfig = better than Chocolate!

VShane may have it right about the ultimate importance of coffee, but synfig looks so fantastic, I’m sure it at least beats chocolate!

Discovered Synfig just a few weeks ago, right after discovering the Morevna Project, which I stumbled upon while web surfing Blender and art sites. I’ve had a great interest in art and animation since I was a kid, but back then there weren’t computers available to common folk, and the idea of “digital art” didn’t exist, and I didn’t have the vocabulary to express my desire to futz with “pixels” - another word that didn’t exist then. Now we’re living in a new era, whoo-whee!

I like the international flavor of Synfig. I like projects where we Americans are outnumbered by those from everwhere else - people in the US often forget how big the world is! And I like the wide variety of people joining the forum - I just read all the introduction posts - all skill levels, professionals and hobbyists, serious artists and nonartists needing to just make something.

I usually describe myself as an physicist/artist, though I don’t do so much physics, and actually work as a “software engineer” which seems to have little to do with any of the established kinds of real engineering. Though I’ve been doing it for aobut 20 years now, SW development is not my main area of talent, but it’s what I keep getting interviewed and hired for. It pays the rent. I’m mostly a pixel-shoveling, bit-twiddling, number-mushing io-port-poking low level guy who concocts clever high-performance algorithms, then hammers them into libraries, DLLs or something else to pass to the app developers who need signal processing, geometry, physics calcuations or image manipulations. App development itself is work I’d rather let others do. Fluent in C, C++, Python, Ruby, studying Vala (and Genie). Clueless about databases, video games, networks, web apps, anything enterprisey; my last job hunt took a very long time because of my narrow low-level pixel-hacking-only skills.

Still, I’d like to help fix bugs in Synfig when I have time. Tried compiling from tarball src and git src but having some troubles, so I’m running on my Linux distro’s package, which is pretty fresh. That’s just as well, as I should become fluent in Synfig as a user first, before diving deep into source.

Currently I work for radio astronomers at NRAO. I had spent five years working on image processing for the Cassini spacecraft at Saturn. That was great stuff! A front row seat to the discovery of the plumes of Enceladus, peering through the thick atmosphere of Titan, watching storms merge in Saturn’s cloud bands, and of course the spectacular rings. Had a great time inventing new ways to enhance images and correct defects to bring out detail, make images show better, while staying close to scientific accuracy where possible. Met many top-notch world class planetary and atmosphere scientists, drank beer with people you now see on science shows on the cable channels. Naturally, I’m very interested in ways synfig can modify images and drawings.

As for art, I might dabble in acrylic or colored pencil, but mostly prefer digital. Acrylic paint doesn’t have a “backspace” key :wink: At least you can paint over boo-boos. Still, you can’t experiment with dozens of color combinations, compositional nudges, moving background details around, like you can in GIMP, Inkscape, Blender or Synfig. I also toy with creating .swf using the Haxe language and compiler, but I’m no genius at that yet.

My interest in Synfig comes mainly from that I’ve realized that not all of my projects are best done in 3D. 2D with animation would be better. I’ve had an animation idea since 1994 or so that I haven’t found the right tools to make. Tried writing my own C++ image processing/rendering/layering stuff but that takes time! Got plenty of ideas for animations to illustrate ideas in astronomy, microwave electronics, signal processing, solar energy, and to make title and credit clips, humorous shorts, artwork for interior decorators (how can they use animation?) and whatever.

See some of my digital art, photographs, and whatever else happens to be online at

Hi darenw,
welcome to Synfig world. It is good to hear that a skilled coder is coming up to help on fixing bugs. I hope that Synfig will fit your artistic needs and also that you feel with the mood to join us with the code.

Current developers actively working here are nikitakit and my self. Another member, eldruin, has contributed recently too to the code and comes back to code when time permits. There are also others that start to dive in the Synfig code but doesn’t have git write rights yet. I’m some sort of coordinator of code application to master branch of git repo but I can’t consider a full knower of the whole Synfig code or a skilled C++ coder. I’m average knower of C++ and a beginner on the rest of needed stuff.
Nikitakit and I have in mind lot of stuff to do in mind and need to put it properly listed in the roadmap. Here are some of the mid or long term targets:
-Rework GUI towards a single window
-Give good GUI interface for the on going bones feature.
-Sound support
-Better video import support.
-Increase render speed (add new renderer system via opengl or cairo)
-Cmake build system

What can I say more? we need any help on all the aspects. Just feel free to snoop the Synfig code, find something to fix or improve or if you like take the leading of one of those task and contact with me for coordination and integration in the coding team. We only ask for a little of continuity of the contributions so the help is guided and continuous, not just a big effort in a short time and leave us unfinished branches.

BTW, very beautiful photos.


Got other art projects this weekend to work on, besides learning as many of Synfig’s features as I can. It’ll be a week at least, probably two before I get a good chunk of time to look over the source, get git set up, and pick a bug or something to work on. But I am looking forward to it!

Thx for the compliment on my photos!