Synfig Studio vs Synfig
In the Synfig Project there are two main tools:
- Synfig: The command line renderer
- Synfig Studio: The graphical user interface (GUI)
Both applications use the synfig libraries to render the output animation. The first one (Synfig) just converts an animation composition into a movie file and the second one (Synfig Studio) is a GUI that helps the user to create the animation composition and save it to a source file.
Synfig Animation file format
It is not the interest of this article to show you the synfig animation file format. For the moment you should only need to know that the file extension is .sif and that it is an XML formatted text file. For space saving it is saved and loaded in gzip format under the extension of .sifz. If you're interested in learning more about synfig file format or want to contribute to its definition visit this page.
Synfig the CLI renderer
Although Synfig CLI (command line interface) is an independent application from Synfig Studio it is worth it to have it installed in your system. In fact, both share the same libraries to produce the output renders, one (the GUI) to the screen output and also to the file output and the other (the CLI) just the file output. The syntax of usage is the typical one with optional parameters that just need an input file and an output filename in most of the cases. One of the things that makes synfig CLI great is the ability to render large files without take your computer with your attention. Also if the render is quite long and there is any possible error (for example power supply) you can always continue rendering later, using the CLI, where the animation render ended (this is only possible if you use an image sequence render target). It is explained in some of the tips of the Tips page. Also, for modern computers with several cores, if you tell to the renderer the proper values, you can run several simultaneous instances to drastically decrease the render time. It has not been developed yet but it is possible to create render farms to decrease render time for huge movies.
Understanding and learning the Synfig CLI syntax is not very difficult. Once you understand the basic concepts of Synfig by using Synfig Studio you will dominate the Synfig CLI quickly.
Synfig Studio is a graphical user interface that is used to create new animations. With Synfig Studio you can:
- Create a new animation from scratch.
- Import external resources: single images, image sequences, other vectorial files (SVG) and even videos (at the moment through ffmpeg).
- Export the animation into a movie file or into a animated graphic or a image sequence.
- Edit several files at the same time.
- Reference external sif files and create a macro composition.
- Preview the animation.
- Redo and undo the operations performed during edition.
Synfig Studio interface is a bit complex when you watch it for the very first time. But after a while, and after learning the animation work flow you feel comfortable with, you'll understand "why things are like that" ;-)
If you're impatient and want to go straight to knowing the interface of Synfig Studio see this quick visual overview. But it is more interesting to discover, step by step, the meaning of the Synfig Studio components and its usage.
- Principles of Animation with Synfig Studio
- Synfig Studio Work Flow
- Advanced Techniques