is an animation/drawing software for Mac OS X and Windows.
Pencil is an animation/drawing software for Mac OS X and Windows. It lets you create traditional hand-drawn animation (cartoon) using both bitmap and vector graphics. Pencil is free and open source. http://www.les-stooges.org/pascal/pencil/
I have always loved animation. As a child, I tried to make some animation by drawing in notebooks but the result was somewhat unsatisfactory. Nowadays, computers make animation much easier. However, there is surprisingly almost no free cross-platform software for traditional animation.
I was lucky to find "Pencil Planner" by Patrick Corrieri, a little program for pencil tests. I decided to improve it and use it as a basis to build a bitmap/vectorial animation program.
Pencil is not intended to mimick web-oriented vector-based animation software such as Flash. Its main purpose is to make traditional animation. Neither does it try to rival commercial software targetting the professional animation sector. Pencil is intended to be a simple program enabling anyone to make 2D animation.
A Pencil document is organised in layers. There are currently four types of layers: bitmap image, vector image, sound and camera. The Time Line window at the bottom of the screen shows the existing layers. By default, a new document contains a bitmap layer and a vector layer on top of it, but you can add and delete layers as you wish (using either the and buttons next to "Layers", or the menu Layer).
Each layer has a track which enables you to change it as a function of time. This is done by inserting keys (the little grey rectangles) at certain frames in the track. Each key contains information about what the layer should show or produce at the frame where the key is located. To add or delete keys at a particular frame in a layer track, use the or buttons next to "Keys" (shortcut: type "return" to create a new frame). For image layers (ie bitmap and vector), each key corresponds to a different image. The sequence of these images creates an animation.
The current frame is indicated by the red bar and can be changed by moving the red bar to scrub through your animation (or use the left and right arrows). To play the animation, use the controls in the time line. Note that you can loop the animation, as well as set the number of frames per seconds.
To select a layer that you want to edit, just click on it in the layer list (or use the up and down arrows). You can change the layer order by dragging their name. The order affects the way image layers are displayed on top of each other; it does not affect the sound and camera layers. Layer properties, such as their name, can be changed by double-clicking on the name.
Layers can be activated or deactivated by clicking the circle at the very left of their icon. A deactivated image layer is hidden from the canvas view.
If the currently selected layer is an image layer, it is shown in the canvas view at full opacity. By default, the other image layers are semi-transparent, to help you focus on the selected layer. However, if you wish to see all the image layers at full opacity (as they will appear in the final rendering), press the circle above all the layers to turn it black. If on the contrary, you want to concentrate on the selected layer and hide all the other layers, press again the circle to turn it blank.
The first thing you might want do to with Pencil is drawing. In fact, disregarding the tracks and animation controls in the the time line (which can be all hidden by dragging the vertical separator in the time line), one can use Pencil as a drawing drawing program. Using the standard drawing tools (pen, pencil, brush, paint bucket...), you can draw a picture in one of the image layers. By default, the first selected layer in a new document is a bitmap image layer. Note that you can draw anywhere inside the main window: it is a canvas with unlimited space.
The drawing tools behave more or less as one might expect. The size, colour, etc, of each tool can be specified in the Options palette. If a tablet stylet is used (which is recommended!), the pressure is used to affect the width and/or opacity of the selected tool. If you don't have a stylet (but only a mouse), it might be easier to draw with the polyline tool than the pencil or pen tools. Simply click different points on the canvas, and a smooth curve going through these points is created. When you are done, double-click on the last point (or press return). If you just want to draw a straight line, click to define the starting point and double-click to define the ending point.
When a vector image layer is selected, you can use the same tools to draw on this layer. The main difference is that all your drawings and strokes are converted to geometrical shapes. As a result, you can zoom or enlarge your drawing without getting any "pixel" (aliasing) effect. When you change a colour in the Colours palette, the colour is automatically changed in the vector image. The points of vector curves can be adujsted using the finger tool.
That makes vector images ideal for finished "clear-cut" drawings (typically a character in an animation), while you might prefer bitmap images for quick drafts or more complex/fuzzy images (typically a background in an animation).
Pencil v0.4.3b - Power PC Binary for Mac OS X 10.3.9+
Pencil v0.4.2b - Binary for Windows XP
Categories: Graphics - 2D Animation - Mac System X - Panther - Tiger - PPC - Windows