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Monday, February 23, 2009

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written by: Viktor Ustijanoski in
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Pencil – animation/drawing tool for Windows, Linux and Mac OS

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Pencil is free, open source animation/drawing software for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. You can use Pencil for drawing (Vector and Bitmap) and animating. The Pencil document is organized in four types of layers: bitmap, vector, sound and camera. The layers are shown in bottom Time Line window. By default, a new document contains a bitmap layer and a vector layer on top of it, but you can easily add and delete layers according your needs.

For drawing you can use standard drawing tools (pen, pencil, brush, paint bucket...) and 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. You can draw anywhere inside the main window: it is a canvas with unlimited space.

Pencil supports importing images. If you feel more comfortable you can draw on a real paper and after that import your drawings in Pencil. You can import a bitmap image in a bitmap layer with using the Import image command in the Layer menu or drag and drop bitmap images from an external window onto the canvas. Also a key is added to any imported picture for faster identification.

As an animation tool Pencil has Onion skin support. This is useful when you are drawing the current key image from next or previous key image displayed in semi-transparency. This is called onion skin and you can activate or deactivate with onion button.

When images are ready you can continue to animate them. You can use camera and sound layers. A camera layer lets you define a particular view with a certain aspect ratio; define a view for each key of the camera track and other functions. For adding sound you must create sound layer then import chosen sound file. This will create a triangular key in the sound track. The key indicates where the sound will start to play. All sounds can be turned on and off for the whole animation by pressing the sound button in the time-line controls.

When your animation is ready, you can export it as a sequence of PNG images, Flash movie or QuickTime movie. Feature development will include also a vector SVG export. So get your “Pencil” in your hand and start drawing.

More about Pencil and download here.

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