Synfig virgin, Sita Sings the Blues

Greetings. My name is Nina Paley and I made a copyleft animated feature film called “Sita Sings the Blues” using mostly Flash.

We screened “Sita” at DebConf in New York earlier this month, and I met some inspired Debian developers. They are working on a way to migrate the “Sita” Flash source files to Synfig. … lues_Files … onvert_fla

Meanwhile, I use a 3-year-old Mac Intel tower and a Cintiq tablet. I am not a command-line coder. I am completely dependent on GUIs. Apparently Synfig has been more or less abandoned for Mac, and I’m not up to using it command-line-style.

I am however willing to purchase a tablet PC just to explore Synfig and other Free graphics/animation software. I’m also willing to consider a dual-boot setup on my Mac. What I really need is a Linux pro with Synfig experience in New York to help me.

Any qualified New Yorkers want to help set me up?

If all goes well, I could attempt a new short on Synfig. I’m doing a series about Free Culture with
I’d love to finally be able to say “yes I made this with Free Software.” I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to at this time, but at least I can make an effort.


–Nina Paley

Hi Nina,

Welcome to the forum! If you haven’t already, you may also want to check out Pencil. I tend to use both Synfig and Pencil on projects since they each have different strengths and weaknesses. And I believe Pencil’s primary developer works on a Mac, so you should be good to go in that respect.

2D animation in the open source world is still a piece-meal affair, unlike 3D where you have Blender serving as a mature and robust package. In addition to Pencil and Synfig, I usually wind up using Inkscape, the Gimp, and Blender’s Video Sequence editor - just to name a few packages. And I haven’t even mentioned sound!

Anyway, good luck with your project and certainly feel free to ask any questions here. This is one of the friendliest and most helpful forums I’ve ever been a member of.


PS - Sorry about using a preposition to end a sentence with. :open_mouth:

Hello Nina,

great to see you here in the Synfig forum!
I’m very impressed by your Nina Sings the Blues, astounding work for a single creator!
I live in Europe so unfortunately I can’t help you live but I would be glad to help you out over the net, just mail me.

If you’re buying a new tablet there’s not really much help you’d need I think. Download and install a linux build on it, they’re all GUI based and very easy to use nowadays. I’d recommend Ubuntu as an easy to start with distro.
As for installing Synfig just download the latest release, then double click it and let it be installed.

Hi Nina, welcome to the forums!
It would be a big milestone for Synfig to have your beautiful movie in its showcase stock.
I’m currently involved in Synfig’s code development and have some news that might interest you:

As rylleman, muhkayoh and others outstanding Synfig’s users already know, my maximum commitment is always back the professional animators that use Synfig as one of his tools or the animators, that being amateurs, will give Synfig a third dimensions due to the quality of their works (there is a joke in the last sentence :wink:).

There is not written documentation for the Synfig file format (sif) than the source code itself. My current top priority now is to review the source code of Synfig libraries to achieve two things: Document the code for other developers and prepare it for migration from autotools build system to cmake build system. If I achieve those two steps (code documentation and cmake migration) it wold be possible to relaunch mac and settle down windows builds. Also, in the path of that target, I will understand much better how Synfig code works and then will be more prepared to help on SWF->SVG->SIF transition if the current translation tools have some problems on its final result.

Regarding to run Synfig Studio and play with it, if you consider have dual boot and choose Linux as second system, Synfig will be easy to use, as rylleman mentioned. I also recommend to use VMware or Sun’s Virtual Box to run a embedded Linux what would allow you run other native applications at the same time without need to reboot.

Finally, as you can see if you look for my works in the web using Synfig, I’m not specially gifted for drawing or animation skills, but I can tell you that I know most of the tips and tricks of Synfig (Studio) and that you have all my support (as anybody here has) for any question, suggestion, or need you might have regarding Synfig usage or the work-flow to obtain the final desired result.

Looking forward for the success of Sita’s to Synfig translation.

Hi Nina,

I finally got around to watching Sita a week ago (coincidentally) - one of the most wonderful and inspiring flicks I’ve seen in a long time - so it’s great to sign in and see you’ve dropped by

Well there’s plenty of help in this place with Synfig and Linux, it’s the New York bit that may be a bit hard
(personally I’d love to go there again, I’d leave tomorrow, but you know, there’s that big ocean to cross)

I hope you get Synfig working and have fun playing with it - looking forward to seeing more memes

Thanks everyone!

I just got a used Fujitsu Lifebook T4020 off Craigslist to have as a guest work/scanning station for another project. But I can use it to fiddle with Synfig too. It’s Windoze, not Linux, but it seems there’s some Synfig support for Windoze right now, and at least I won’t have to mess with my Mac.

I have a ton of other stuff on my plate, so it may be a while until I get to this. I’ll keep you posted and of course come back with questions.


I’d be happy to help answer any windows related Synfig questions. I was blown away when I saw Sita…


Your film is amazing! Congratulations.
Looking forward to following your process here.

Congratulations on your film.
I also have a Mac. Before getting install Synfig, I was using Ubuntu under Parallels Desktop. You can do the same.
Anyway, I know people who are learning to program for Mac. I hope when they know a little more, they will help us to build the Mac version of Synfig. :smiley:

Hi Nina

I am yet another fanboy for Sita - truly inspiring - hopefully enough so to get me animating myself.

I was disappointed running Synfig on Windows. I was persistent but it just wasn’t the same solid proposition it is for me now I run it on Ubuntu. Strange crashes I guess were the most common issue. I spent quite some time on the various threads to resolve them but it became clear that Windows support is really lagging behind even on the very latest Synfig.

I had decided to put my tablet pc purely on winxp but now it is dual boot Ubuntu/WinXP and I never boot into the WinXP at all. The tipping point was when I tried Synfig on my Debian box and it was totally solid. I really wanted to spend some time with Synfig so I decided it was worth the effort and the hd space to go dual boot.

What happened was that soon enough I found inkscape, mypaint, GIMP and Alchemy (with some fiddling) were much more desirable to use on my slow tablet pc under Ubuntu than Windows. And solid. Pencil too. Especially with tablet PCs GTK apps can be a real pain on Windows. In particular the GTK/tablet pc/Windows combo has cursor calibration issues - Mypaint causing the most annoying examples. GIMP is another classic pain with Windows randomly hiding behind others for no apparent reason on ALL the many Windows PCs I use. This problem has hung around for at least 3 years on GIMP for Windows and it is in WinXP and Win7.

I love FOSS, FOSS loves Linux, Linux loves IBM/Lenovo laptops - I don’t know why it took me so long to work that out. In short Ubuntu on my tablet pc is really working for me very well. My dirty secret is that I run anime studio pro 6 on this ubuntu box too. It is just much more fluent to work with than Synfig even though Synfig has many secret powers and great cut and paste animation capabilities.

best of luck - I can’t wait to be able to play with those Sita resources!

Strangely I have it running on Windows and haven’t crashed once.

And welcome to the club Nina

Greetings, Nina!

I love your work. I really loved your “Copying is Not Theft” animation.