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Animated PNG could have been a standard more than 10 years ago and yet we're stuck with GIF. We'll make new OSS tools to use it now!
522 backers pledged $10,433 to help bring this project to life.

GIMP and Inkscape integration

Posted by Rei Kagetsuki (Creator)

We've just taken down the GIMP and Inkscape animation editor features from the stretch goals. We've decided if we are going to do these they can't be little hacks we make on a small budget. We'll be reaching out to the core GIMP and Inkscape teams and putting together new and properly laid out projects to implement animation editor support. For example in the GIMP we'd want separate layer stacks for each frame and in Inkscape we want onion-skinning and tween animation. These are things that we would just not be able to implement on our own with such a small budget.

We understand many of you had probably put money in specifically to try and hit these reach goals. Please know that as far as development costs go we're already spreading ourselves pretty thin. Rather than promise something only to end up without proper funding and providing a poor implementation we'd like to do it right. Besides, realistically it does not look like we would have come close to either goal. We hope you understand.

Also please keep in mind that part of the core of this project is creating a cross platform GUI for apngasm. You can still save individual frames in the GIMP or Inkscape and use them to create APNG animations.

Thanks again for your support. We sincerely hope you will understand our decision.


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    1. Steve Baker on

      @Terry: I think that's the point though. What needed to be kickstarted was a push to make this format into a widely accepted standard. Once it is, there will be massive incentive for all tool-side developers (be they open-sourced or proprietary) to support it. So while I can see some backers wanting tool support as a specific reward that they are "buying" - the Kickstarter ideals of using our money to start something important are best met by increasing "pull" from the browser side rather than "push" from the tool side. If this project is to make any actual tools at all - then a photoshop plugin is (regrettably) the thing that most needs to be done. It's by far the most popular web-developer tool.

      Hence, I think Rei is doing the right thing - even though I've never used Photoshop in my life (I use Linux) and I'm a fanatical GIMP and Inkscape user and open-source enthusiast. It's not wrong for Rei to use Kickstarter money to make something that he can sell for profit later - heck that's what 99% of Kickstarters do. Consider the fact that he's going to plough those profits back into making OpenSourced APNG software to be a victory for OpenSource - paid for by people in the closed-source world - that's a win-win situation! :-)

    2. Terry Hancock on

      Have you looked into Synfig Studio, Pencil, or Tupi? Inkscape is not really an animation program at all, so it lacks any frame-based features (though I'm sure you could do something with layers and scripting).

      But Synfig, Pencil, and Tupi are actually 2D animation editors, so implementing APNG as an output format should not be so difficult. There shouldn't be much in the way of major conceptual changes to the program.

      Tupi is actually fundraising on Kickstarter right now as well for other features. Synfig and Pencil are pretty mature.

      I am also primarily interested in Free Software packages and really don't care much about the proprietary goals you've made, though I can appreciate that they may have strategic significance to you in getting APNG more widely accepted.

    3. Rei Kagetsuki 6-time creator on

      @3DGeek thank you for understanding. I knew GIMP support was going to cost me more time than the stretch goal would fund so it was weighing on me heavily. As soon as I was contacted by a GIMP and Inkscape related developers talking about how they had full plans and were looking for funding to implement it themselves I knew I needed to not try and make some kludged implementation in a code base I was not familiar with and instead should try to get help for the real core developers aside from this project.

      If anyone wants to reduce or take back their pledge for this I fully understand and I made this update as soon as possible to try and leave time for that. I do of course ask that if you take down your pledge because you were backing specifically for Inkscape or GIMP support that you look out for future funding projects or try and find ways to give to these projects directly.

    4. Steve Baker on

      I think this is the right direction to take the APNG development work - and in that regard it is a good thing...but it's clearly controversial.

      It's dangerous to break promises to the community when being Kickstarter funded. This whole house of cards stands or falls on the ability of backers to trust project holders. Delivering on promises is a key part of what makes this work. That said, these were always "stretch goals" - which means that people backing the project couldn't be guaranteed that their money would get the project to deliver them. But there is a problem with that view. Backers don't just donate
      money. They also use their valuable time to promote the project to other people. When there is a stretch goal that people would like to see happen, they put in extra effort to try to push more people to join in. The effort those people put in is wasted when a stretch goal is yanked away.

      However, I think it's clear that focusing on the core libraries and getting really good browser support has to be the first goal here.

      For those who are disappointed in those plugins not being here, let me say this: If browser support doesn't happen in Chrome - then APNG will remain a dead format. Sure, this project might have written the exporters for GIMP and Inkscape - but they'd have been "quick hacks" that would have gone largely unsupported by the respective core teams.

      But if APNG takes off as a widely-supported browser feature that MANY web developers will be keen to use - then the effort to support them in GIMP and Inkscape will be much easier to obtain - and that effort won't cost this project a penny.

      So, while this is a tough pill to swallow - I think Rei is right to make this choice.

      If you really hate this decision - then there is a big blue "Manage Your Pledge" button at top-right of this page - you can go there and reduce your pledge to $1 or back it out entirely any time in the next 10 days.

    5. Rei Kagetsuki 6-time creator on

      @Wes Frazier We did reach out to them nearly a month before we started the project. Only now did we get their attention apparently.

      I'm trying to be as honest as possible here. I understand your frustration but honestly how would you have felt had I collected for the stretch goal and then not been able to pull it off?

      The Adobe plug-in goal was added from user/backer demand and because it also creates the possibility of post-project funding to maintain, improve and create new tools. You need to realize that other than responses to the update I got a lot of direct messages from not-yet-backers stating they would put in for the Adobe plug-in. I added it in early because of this demand, NOT as an assault or an attempt to undermine Open Source.

      "I appreciate that foss devs need money and I am more than willing to donate money to them for the cause of foss." - I haven't taken a paycheck in months and yet I still work on Open Source every day. As I'm not the only one involved in development only a small portion of the funds from this project will end up in my pocket. If we were a company that had a regular income off of something else I wouldn't be running a kickstarter to try and fund development to begin with I would have just created the github repository and started making it.

    6. Wes Frazier on

      A lot of this should have been forseable by communicating with GIMP and Inkscape devs beforehand, understanding the time requirements of existing stretch goals and limiting $2,500 backer level and above to a level that was managable.

      I appreciate that foss devs need money and I am more than willing to donate money to them for the cause of foss. I have thought kickstarter is a novel way to approach this and have backed other foss devs through it. However, the shifting sand of the stretchgoals, and the prioritization of the proprietary adobe plugin make me genuinely wonder what my money is actually going towards. It feels like this project has a lack of direction at best or a bait and switch at worst.

    7. Rei Kagetsuki 6-time creator on

      @Wes Frazier I very much agree with you but the fact is we have two $2,500 level backers (including the Hard Light Projects collective contributions) so we're stretched pretty thin. It was also pointed out to me from a GIMP and Inkscape developer both projects have designed and priced out animation editing. Rather than doing it poorly ourselves we'd like to see the core groups get funding to do it properly.

      I know the project total will take a hit due to this but I did not feel comfortable making a promise I could likely not keep.

      This time we simply succumbed to demand, but know that any additional funds secured from the Adobe plug-in will be put toward open further Open Source efforts.

    8. Wes Frazier on

      That should likely read "browser title of the kickstarter page."

    9. Chris Weekly on

      Makes perfect sense. Thanks for the transparency and the focus! Good luck! :)

    10. Wes Frazier on

      I must confess more than a little anoyance again, that GIMP support is being removed, when the Kicktraq trend for the project shows that it was not unlikely to be reached.

      I appreciate that you want to break these things out into thier own projects. However it continues to bother me that the only stretch goals geared towards folks who wish to create APNGs are now wholly proprietary, on a project which markets itself as FOSS friendly and mentions both GIMP and Inkscape by name in the very title of the kickstarter.

    11. Dominik Pich

      honesty is always best :) thanks for that