我们 LinuxToy 最近对 Synfig 项目的领导人 Carlos López González，做了一次非常有趣的采访。感谢 jcome 来稿
Scroll to the end for the English version.
Synfig Studio 是开源的二维矢量动画软件，通过它，在有限的人力和物力情况下就能制作出具备电影品质的动画电影。最近我们联系到了 Synfig 项目的领导者 Carlos López González， 让他就 Synfig 的开发，使用以及社区建设等方面情况和我们分享。
LinuxToy (LT): 您能自我介绍下吗？
Carlos López (CL): 我是 Carlos López González，西班牙人，过去的十七年里，我生活在加的斯（Cádiz），它是一个位于安达鲁斯亚（Andalucía） 自治区南部的古老城市。我出生并成长在塞维利亚，并在那里度过了我的主要的学校学习生活，获得了工业工程师学位。到目前为止，我在汽车制造行业工作八年了，而在这之前的九年里，我为安达鲁斯亚政府工作。我排行老五，是家里最小的，离异，有两个儿子。目前我和我的伴侣一起住，希望过上更加幸福生活。
LT：相比 Blender，GIMP 或者 Inkscape，Synfig 不是个被人所熟知的开源图形图像软件。您能给我们介绍一下吗？Synfig 后面有什么故事？
CL：站在 Synfig背后的是一小群热心人，他们致力于把 Synfig 打造为权威的开源动画应用程序。
Synfig 经历过的时光也是有好有坏。我认为现在它正处在一个好的时刻。虽然去社区看上去不是非常活跃，但当前的基础设施条件是最好的。我们有备份脚本可以备份整个基础设施，这让我们在迁移到其他服务器上时可以不受任何影响。特别感谢 Konstantin Dmitriev (aka zelgadis) 的工作，如今我们的网站和论坛放在一个付费的服务器上，可以自动更新论坛数据库和 CMS 引擎。Wiki 还在 TuxFamily 的服务器上，程序代码和 trackers 则在 Sourceforge 上。对于复杂的开发任务，Konstantin 和我采用 Pivotal Tracker 作为追踪开发问题（功能和缺陷）的系统。
另一个非常有趣的能力是值节点（value node system）系统和这个系统带来的无止境的可能性。这里有个例子，是我以前通过值节点系实现的粒子模板。
CL：我是通过报告 bug 的方式开始对这个项目的贡献的。那时候，我们已经有
wiki 页面了，而且 Chris Moore（aka
bug 的期间，我开始尝试掌握如何使用 Synfig Studio，这幫助我写下了很多
Chris（那时他是主要的代码和 wiki 贡献者）之间非常活跃的沟通。先是在 IRC
dooglus 决定暂时离开 Synfig
FOSS 项目，决定移交 wiki，论坛的管理给我，同时移交的还有 Sourceforge
darco 的私人服务器迁移到了 Sourceforge，稍后又迁移到
因此，从新手到大师（LOL）的故事基本是在 IRC 聊天纪录里纪录着。
LT：除了对代码的贡献，您也被 Synfig 社区称为最友善的人。您对 FOSS 社区文化的建设有什么想法？
bug 。不只是简单报告 bug
理想的状态是，这类沟通最好有个公开的频道。我们过去有用 IRC 或论坛，但我认识到了多数是使用邮件和私聊。狡辩下，这可能是因为没有足够时间，大家所处得时区也不不尽相同。也许我们应该多用邮件列表来公开我们的对话交流。另外，Pivotal Tracker 是公开和开放给任何人的，我们（也）在那里做事务交流。
LT：Yu Chen（aka jcome）在本地得 Linux 用户组做过两次的演示，但是收效甚微。然而，在 LT 上发布的，新 Demo Reel 的 Spiderboat 动画渲染求助却非常的成功。按照您得经验，推广这个专业的软件的正确方法是什么？
CL：推广的第一个方法是用它，用它并创作好的动画。这是可能的！第二个方法是铲除它当前发展的两个主要障碍：没有 Mac 平台的包维护者；还有因为它当前的渲染引擎没有很好的对实时播放进行优化导致得界面响应速度慢的问题。我相信一旦这两个问题得到修复，这个应用程序的普及度会大大提高。
CL：我们的 Wiki 还有很多地方要完善。虽然，在 2010 年我们做了卓有成效的努力更新 Wiki，但仍有很多文章需要扩展，进行内容充实 。
关于 wiki 上的开发者园地，目前“占地面积”非常的小，需要更多的文章来充实。这是时间和资源的问题，因为，特别是在这个领域，并没多少人能写相关文章。
如果您真的想要掌握 Synfig，我觉得步骤应该和我所经历过的一样：学习软件的使用，报告发现的 bug，写 wiki，发送补丁，然后变成官方的 coder。还有就是要滥用当前 Synfig 贡献者的耐心和友善。。。；）
LT：既然“使用”是第一步，您觉得如果我只是动画爱好者，没有动画专业知识，想在业余做些动画找点乐趣，我可以学 Synfig 吗？从哪里开始比较好？
LT：在 2012 年，Synfig 有什么计划？哪方面是您觉得最需要获得帮助的？
CL：短期的计划是发布一个新版本（目前没有决定是小版本还是中版本）。我有和 David Rylander（aka rylleman）讨论过和您提的同样的事情。我想成立一个小小的团队做个头脑风暴，看看我们下一个要开发的新功能是什么。我们要在第一下就要瞄准目标。因为手头可利用的资源非常有限，在和我们拥有的时间、知识水平相匹配的前提下，选择开发一个最有影响力的功能。我们也试着探寻请求某些特定社区的帮助，让他们帮忙完成某个指定的编程任务，比如 OpenGL 实现，但这个还没有最终决定。
可以说我们目前正处在一个非常关键的时刻。编写代码方面，我也感觉自己比之前更加熟练了。现在正是做出成绩能在 FOSS 世界引起反响的改变的时候。
LT：您能推荐一两个使用 Synfig 的动画艺术家和他们的动画视频吗？
LT：最后我想看看您的动画大作来结束我们的采访：）可以吗？（看，我在滥用当前 Synfig 领导者的耐心和友善了。。。；）
CL：呵，我沒有多少可以给大家 show 的东东，有的只是此类的小故事，一些功能演示和测试用的视频。我也只是处于入门级别的！
LT：非常感谢 Carlos 花时间和我们聊这些。
English Version Start from Here
Interview of Synfig project leader, Carlos López González
We, LinuxToy held an interesting interview with Carlos López González, the leader of the Synfig Project:
Synfig Studio is a free and open-source 2D animation software, designed as powerful industrial-strength solution for creating film-quality animation using a vector and bitmap artwork. It eliminates the need to create animation frame-by frame, allowing you to produce 2D animation of a higher quality with fewer people and resources.
LinuxToy (LT): Would you please talk a bit about yourself?
Carlos López (CL): My name is Carlos López González. I’m Spanish and for the past 17 years I live in an ancient city of the southern part of Andalucía: Cádiz. I was formed in Seville where I was born. There, I did my primary school studies and completed my formation obtaining the Industrial Engineer’s Degree. I've worked in the automotive industry for eight years and now, for the past nine years, I’m working for the Andalusian government. I’m the youngest son of five children. I’m divorced and have two sons. Now I live with my partner, looking for a happy life together.
LT: Comparing with Blender, GIMP or InkScape, Synfig is not quite a well-known open sourced graphical application. Can you please introduce Synfig a bit? What's behind its name?
CL: Behind Synfig there is a small and enthusiast group of people that is decided to make Synfig the definitive open source animation application.
Synfig Project (as it is now, one open project) is the result of the effort of keep alive the inheritance we received from Robert Quattlebaum (aka darco) and its, now closed, animation company (Voria Studios, LLC). The basis of the Synfig project is the code itself. Around it, people who has been contributing to this software, has supported the project by adding the resources to make it a complete suit. One website, a forum, a wiki, mailing lists, social blogs, etc. conform the core of the protect.
The group of Synfig Project maintainers (leaders, collaborators, or whatever you like to call them) has changed along the time, naturally. There is not any special rule to participate and the “responsible” of each area is not particularly decided, just it is.
Synfig has passed good and bad times. I think that now is a good moment. Although apparently the community is not very active, the current infrastructure is better than ever. We have backup scripts for the entire infrastructure that would allow us migrate to other servers without effort. Thanks to Konstantin Dmitriev (aka zelgadis) the hosts of the website and the forum are supported in a paid server that has automatic updates of the forum database and CMS engines. Wiki is still on TuxFamily servers and the code and trackers are hosted on Sourceforge. Konstantin and I use Pivotal Tracker as system to keep track of development issues (features and bugs) on complex developments.
LT: Besides being open sourced, is there any other advantages over other commercial animation tools?
CL: Synfig has several features that makes it unique. One professional animators that has tested it has applauded the antialiasing results of the render engine. It gives great results thanks to the float point calculations of every parameter it makes internally. For me the main advantage is the floating point calculation that gives real time and space independent resolution.
Another very interesting ability is the value node system and its endless possibilities. One example is the particles template I did using value nodes.
LT: How did you join this project? After browsing the forum, we found you had a very short time from noob to master. :) Can you share some insights on this?
CL: I started to contribute to the project by reporting bugs. At that time the wiki already existed and there were a lot of work already done by Chris Moore (aka dooglus) but many areas were incomplete and not written. So meanwhile I reported some bugs I started to try to understand how to use Synfig Studio which helped me to write a good set of wiki pages. When I started to understand how the program works I keep a active communication with Chris (who was the main code and wiki contributor those days) with the IRC chat first and with a one to one talk client later. We were working together on implementing some of the features I requested or fixing the bugs I reported. It was a very fluid and active communication time. Then the forum was born and I got some of the administrator privileges for it. Later dooglus decided to take vacations from Synfig Project (that still last to this day) and I took the torch of the code contribution. More or less a the same time Paul Wise (aka pabs3), the other great contributor of that time, decided to pass to me the administration rights of the wiki and forum as well as the code admin on Sourceforge to dedicate to the maintenance of other FOSS project he is involved in. Finally, thanks to the efforts and help of zelgadis, the infrastructure were migrated from a private server run by darco to Sourceforge, lately to Tuxfamily and finally to his own private server.
So, the period of transition from noob to master (LOL) is registered basically on IRC chat logs.
LT: Besides significant contribution to the code, you have a reputation of being "Kind and Nice" within Synfig community. What do you think of breeding a culture in FOSS community?
CL: I think that everyone can contribute. The greatness of the newcomer is that his mind is empty of prejudices. People (especially coders) that has worked with the same project for some time, tends to reject new focus of the problem that don’t conform with the already established formats. It is good have some kind of discipline when dealing with a project of some importance but most of the time the lack of knowledge makes administrators loud out to the newbie: If it works, don’t touch it. If that happens then there is needed a more deeper knowledge of how the Project works (code, website, forums) because the user, especially the one with a non biased mind, always has a reason.
So for me the most important achievement of FOSS project is to listen
the users. This is what I’m trying to do (as well as continue learning)
lately. I’m in continuous contact with zelgadis in discussion to how to
implement some certain feature he requested. Zelgaids, as good animator
he is, transmits very well the needs of the modifications or the bugs
found that blocks work flow. It is very important to not only report
bugs or request features but work together with the coder (or
administrator) to the completion and resolution of it.
Ideally this communication is better to have in a public channel. We have used in the past the IRC and the forum but I recognize that we are using more the email and private chat. It is probably the lack of time and the difference of time what justify it. Maybe we should use more the mailing lists to make public our conversations. On the other hand, Pivotal Tracker is public and open to join to anyone and there we talk about those things.
LT: Yu Chen (jcome) had presented the Synfig in local Linux user group twice but received few response. However, the rendering request for spiderboat (part of new demo reel) published on LT is a huge success. Based on your experience, what is the proper way to promote this relatively professional software?
CL: The first way to promote is to use it and create good animations with it. And it is possible! The second way is to correct the two main blocking problems it has by now: There is not Mac maintainer and has a slow responsive interface due to its current render engine is not optimized for real time playing. I believe if both problems were fixed the popularity of the application would increase a lot.
LT: How is the tutorials and other documents about Synfig? Could you please give me some suggestions for a starter like me?
CL: The wiki needs lot of work. Although there was a great effort during 2010 to make it up to date, there are still many articles that need expansion and that are just a little stub. Also good tutorials and video tutorials are needed.
Regarding to Developer
area of the wiki,
it is really small and needs more articles. It is just a question of
time and resources, because, especially in this area, there are so few
people that can write articles.
The code itself is the only way to understand the code. It takes time and effort to understand at first, but once you get the whole idea, the things look easier.
If you really want to master Synfig I think that the steps would be the same than I followed: Learn to use, report bugs, work on wiki, send patches, and become official coder. Always abusing of the patience and friendship of any of the current Synfig contributors... ;)
LT: As a hobbyist who lacks professinal knowladge for animation and not a coder at all, would be possible to be a user of Synfig Studio? The purpose is just to have fun with it. What is the best way to start with?
CL: My first reccomendation is to just have fun. Animaiton is a question of time and spacing and that cannot be learned with just a software. Warp a animation book and follow the recipes it has. Copy others. Don't try to find your own style from start, just be happy with your artwork and have fun doing animations. Learn from others critics and form time to time refine your works by trying to do better some aspects of the animation. Animation is time consuming and needs lots of concentration. If there is not patience, there wont be good results.
LT: What is the plan for Synfig in 2012? Which part do you think that needs a hand most?
CL: The short term plan is to release a new (minor or medium we haven’t decided yet) version. The other day I was talking to David Rylander (aka rylleman) about the same thing you mention. I would like to setup a micro team to have a brainstorming to see what’s the next feature in development. We need to hit the target at the first shot. Since the resources are very limited, we need to select to develop a new impacting feature that could be feasible within a normal time and using the current knowledge we have. We can explore the possibility of ask for help on some particular community for a specific task of coding (like opengl implementation) but that’s not decided yet.
Let’s say that we are now in a key moment. I feel that I can code more fluidly than in the past and now is the precise moment to give a effect hit on the FOSS world with a impacting change.
Those are my wishes but I don’t know what would happen. What I’m sure is of one thing: I’ll continue with this as long as I get some fun out of it.
LT: Can you name one or two animation artists using Synfig? Any video clips to show?
Konstantin Dmitriev - The Morevna Project: Production Cuts
David Rylander - Rylander Animation bumper 2009
Quadro Chave -Convite de casamento
LT: Those video you mentioned above are so impressive. Your Mr Tip Toe Adventures Spanish clip is so great. May we have another of your great aniamtion clip to end the interview :) (We're abusing of the patience and friendship of the current Synfig leader... ;)
CL: Oh, I haven't so much apart of that small story and some demos and tests. I'm just a beginner!
LT: Thank you for your time Carlos, has been a pleasure talking to you.