For all of you aspiring artists and animators who have ever dreamed of channelling Hayao Miyazaki, that fantasy can now be a reality. The animation software Toonz, used by Studio Ghibli for the first time on their 1999 movie Princess Mononoke, has now been made free and open source, and anyone will be able to download the Toonz Studio Ghibli Version from March 26th.
Created as an aid for traditional hand-drawn 2D animation, first released in 1993 and recently acquired by Dwango, the media company agreed with Toonz’ original developers Digital Video that they would publish and develop the Open Source platform, simply known as OpenToonz, while Digital Video will continue to develop their own Toonz Premium software. This will be aimed at professionals, and make its revenue from installation, support, training, and customisation services.
So, thanks to this compromise between Digital Video and the rising company Dwango, which owns the Niconico Douga streaming site and merged with Kadokawa in 2014, we will all be able to access the tools Ghibli used to create its more recent works, and have also been used to produce Futurama and the video game Discworld 2. As When Marnie Was There could be the studio’s final independent feature, this development may well have a big hand in nurturing the next generation of animators inspired by Miyazaki and Isao Takahata.