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We are an Italian no-profit group for the promotion and development of cartoon animation (ARiCA) that is about to start the development of a 'Computer Aided Cartoon Creation' program/programs suite. Our goal is to create a mainly 2D tool that will enable little animation studios and fan groups alike to use 'modern' computer animation technology in their work without the prohibitive costs of commercial programs like Toonz or Animo (that sells for $30.000 per seat), so that the "access cost" to animation as a media will be within reach of a broader range of groups, that in turn will be able to bring their hopefully new-and-fresh ideas to the animated world.

 Since initial number of developers on this project will be really small, we can't afford "to reinvent any wheels" and the GPL/LGPL license is a requirement to be able to use many of the tools that eventually will allow us to release something in reasonable time. We've already been through the process of selecting the main long-term feature we'd like the program to have (bitmap to vector conversion and resolution independence, network based work sharing, 3D support and integration, multiple input devices, etc.) and what tools to use to achieve these goals and to integrate them in a end-user-friendly program (QT/KDE, sane, autotrace, QGLWidget).

We'd like very much to have your advice on these subjects:

  • Do you know of any Open Source project with similar features/goals?
  • Do you know of other resources (libraries, toolkits, widgets, etc. that in your opinion could be useful to our project?
  • In your experience, is there anything that we should still do *before* we start coding/prototyping?
  • Which C development environment is better, in your opinion, to ease the burden on windows developers that will start programming in Linux with this project?
  • Other things your experience suggest :-)

Many thanks,
Roberto Maurizzi
ARiCA Italy   (we have no connections with the city of Arica in Chile :)

This project is sponsored by digitALPHA

Project Goals

  • Open program that ideally will be able to aid anyone interested in the creation of an animated /thing/, be it a short, a commercial, a TV series of a full feature length movie
  • Support for new medias: animation for the web, animation on the web, animated series for new markets

Project phylosophy

  • Open source, to allow anyone to modify the program to obtain a particular effect, so that the program could be bent to artists' desires.
  • Bitmat to vector conversion for all drawings, with the exception of backgrounds which for practical reasons and to allow maximum freedom have to available as a bitmapped image too.
  • Seamless 3D graphics integration (this is for the veeeery distant future ;-)

AniToolBox inspirators and 'building blocks'

These are the homepages of various other Open Source project on which we are planning to build upon to achieve some of our project goals
AutoTrace   --   eGroups : autotrace AutoTrace is the cornerstone behind this project: the use of vector based drawings allows us maximim flexibility, all this while using hand drawn sketches
SANE Device independent access to scanners and video input
Ming - an SWF output library and PHP module An interesting library that creates Flash movies. Very nice but I still have to check it thoroughly.
Video for Linux resources Various resources (links) on video4linux support. Useful to see what hardware can be used to acquire images. Very important for Line Test application
The KDE Desktop project In about 4 month of checking, studying and comparing GTK/Qt and Gnome/KDE, I've come to the conclusion that for this project I prefer to use KDE. Many of the tools/programs I'd like to use are C++, and the multiwindow management of KDE enables some interesting UI solutions.

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