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Check out promising open-source 2D animation tool enve

Friday, January 3rd, 2020 | Posted by Jim Thacker

 
Graphic designer Maurycy Liebner has released enve, a promising new open-source 2D animation tool.

The software, described as polished and intuitive by early testers, has both vector and raster animation capabilities, and a workflow that should be familiar to users of other open-source graphics apps.

(Full disclosure: it came out last year, but we didn’t spot it until Libre Graphics World did a story on it.)

A promising open-source 2D animation tool for motion design work
Although it has raster animation tools – it uses the MyPaint brush library as the painting engine, and has graphics tablet support – the early demos suggest that enve’s real strength is vector animation.

That may be a selling point for open-source software fans who use OpenToonz or Blender’s Grease Pencil toolset for drawn animation, but need a tool for logo animation or motion design work.

It has a UI layout reminiscent of After Effects, with a standard timeline and layer stack at the foot of the screen, and a graph editor view to control interpolation between keyframes.

Vectors may be edited through standard Bezier controls, and there is a simple fill and stroke editor.

 

 
Control the look of animation through customisable shader effects
enve also supports basic layer blending modes and effects, including a range of text effects, and object and filter properties are fully animatable.

According to Libre Graphics World, users can also define custom shader effects as XML-based files.

As well as importing still images in a range of standard vector and raster formats, including SVG, enve can import image sequences, movies and audio files, and export in any format supported by ffmpeg.

Still early in development, but already a promising tool
Although Liebner describes enve as having a “long way to go to be production-ready”, posts from early users on community forums suggest that it is already a pretty slick, capable tool.

Workflow – including many of the keyboard shortcuts – is described as being reminiscent of both Blender and open-source vector design tool Inkscape.

Libre Graphics World describes the key current limitations as the lack of easing functions and “working undo/redo support”, but notes that both are “high on [Liebner’s] priorities list”.

The software is also currently Linux-only, with Windows and macOS builds “not even planned yet”, so you will need at least a Linux partition in order to use it.

System requirements and availability
enve is available for Linux only under a GPL licence. You can download compiled binaries here, and there are instructions for compiling from source in the project’s GitHub repo.

If you want to support future development, you can back the project on Patreon.

Read more about enve on GitHub

Watch video demos of enve’s key features on YouTube

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