Recently Davis Sorenson tweeted that he has resurrected the mypaint-xsheet branch- a special branch of the popular FLOSS painting application that has support for animation, in the form of a playable exposure sheet type interface that harkens back to traditional animation. The original creator of the branch, Manuel Quiñones, used it to animate the open movie Viaje a la tierra del Quebracho , and it subsequently remained pretty much as-is. Davis has since then updated the branch so it tracks the most recent version of mypaint with all the new enhancements, and has so far added the ability to adjust framerate, and is working on a new file format that takes inspiration from blender’s SDNA for forwards and backwards compatibility. You can get his current progress from his github. His goal is to develop this as a standalone animation application, that naturally shares the mypaint brush engine.

I’ve often used mypaint to ‘sweeten’ renders by adding a certain amount of grunge, smearing and artistic adjustment. Now we could even contemplate producing animated sequences for tube, for use in texture sequences or in post processing, enhancing the film with some direct touch.

I’ve done a bit of experimentation in the new branch, and I have (of course!!!) a list of things I’d like to see – this list is intended as feedback, but not as a series of demands, I believe Davis has his own priorities before he starts adding a bunch of features, but, well, a person can dream ;) :

  1. exporting a sequence is either missing or diabolically hidden; I ended up exporting frame by frame (not fun!)
  2. copying a cel results in a ‘linked’ cel , painting on one affects the other. That’s cool, but there needs to be an obvious way to unlink them for individual modification
  3. working with multiple animated layers; i.e. more than one cel per frame would be great.
  4. once 3 is implemented, it would make sense to import a sequence as an animation.
  5. timeline based animation like pencil?
  6. sound in the timeline for lip/sound sync?
  7. transformation tool (mypaint is currently lacking this)
  8. perhaps exploit mypaints vectory strokes to do some kind of tweening

That being said, don’t let the lack of features discourage you from playing: this is an intensely addictive and fun program, and in a way, its simplicity is a factor in that; however Davis decides to take this program, I hope that he keeps this element in mind.

Finally, Davis is thinking about names for the new animation program: his conditions are that the name be a single word (no portmanteaus), that it be meaningful, and finally that it sounds good! Suggestions welcome :)

3 comments
  1. Deevad says: May 13, 20133:24 am

    Cool article , it makes me want to try it and doodle too with it. Too bad , after my moving , I still don’t have internet at new home to test ( only cell phone connection at the moment ).
    Suggestion for a new name ? I have : MyFlipbook , to keep parenting to the MyPaint project, and not be too technical as MyRotoscopic , or MyAnimation.

  2. Fweeb says: May 14, 20137:07 am

    I’m inclined to like the name “Dopey”. It refers to animation both in terms of dope sheets and a reference to a specific classic 2D animation character. And as a bonus, it’s got a tinge of self-deprecation… after all, this is animation; we don’t want to take ourselves too seriously.

  3. Bassam says: May 15, 20135:07 pm

    what about just ‘dope’ instead of dopey? triple entendre ftw.

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