Synfig Studio gets faster rendering

Synfig Studio has just been updated to feature performance improvements, simplified plug-ins execution, various keyframes improvements, and the switch to conventional terminology.

What’s changed

The new version finally has optional Cairo-based rendering that improves performance for many common scenarios like cutout animation:

However, Cairo isn’t suitable for a lot of filter layers, which is why in a number of cases you might experience slower performance. This is why Cairo-based rendering is not yet enabled by default. The team has been considering a few options like GEGL for executing filters.

Am important under-the-hood effect of switching to Cairo is that Synfig Studio now uses Pango library for handling text in Unicode. This is a great first step fo further improvements in the Text tool.

Synfig Studio 0.64 also got a new “Plug-ins” menu that simplifies running Python scripts for currently opened animations. It also ships Stickman Template plug-in created by Morevna team.

While meeting Nina Paley at LGM in Madrid, Morevna team created a template for her Sita character. You can download and try it for yourself.

For more information about plug-ins have a look at the wiki page, or join a new forum section.

There are also various improvements regarding control over keyframes. On top of that terminology was updated (handles instead of ducks, splines instead of BLines etc.). Please read the full announcement for more details.

What’s next

During Libre Graphics Meeting the team met to discuss further work and came up with the following list of decisions:

  • Bones branch will be merged into master. There is no user interface for it yet, though.
  • Implementation of Cairo-based layers has to be finished.
  • Color management will be added. There is an ongoing discussion on that in the developers’ mailing list.
  • Synfig Studio will be ported to GTK+/GTKmm v3.

The next minor update (0.64.1) is supposed to have bones (probably without UI), better support for Cairo and maybe some minor improvements, if those are complete.


Synfig Studio 0.64 is currently available in source code, and packages for Linux and Mac. Windows installers are pending.