In the past seven years, the tech world has undergone a major shift in terms of giving “the little guy” the tools to build a high-quality product and a platform to monetize his efforts. The self-publishing craze that was sparked by the digital publishing revolution is probably the most widely reaching example; even children’s book authors have the tools and the capability to produce a very decent product. YouTube and iTunes have given musicians and filmmakers the launch pad to put their content in front of audiences; even Amazon’s new Lumberyard gives gamers the ability to write and share their video games.

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Now, animators can rejoice in the new open-source release from Toonz that puts a full spectrum of professional features in their hands. Toonz Ghibli, a collaborative effort from Toonz and Toonz-users Studio Ghibli, is a software version that lets smaller animation studios (yes, even one man operations) use the same level of software that has produced films like The Secret World of Arrietty and Princess Mononoke.

In an article for AWN, Jennifer Wolfe spoke with Atsushi Okui, Executive Imaging Director, Studio Ghibli, who said, “During the production of Princess Mononoke in 1995, we needed a software which enables us to create a certain section of the animation digitally. We checked for what was available at that time and chose Toonz. Our requirement was that in order to continue producing theater-quality animation without additional stress, the software must have the ability to combine the hand-drawn animation with the digitally painted ones seamlessly. From then onwards we continued to use the software while going through major updates to make it easier for us to use. We are happy to hear that this open-source version contains the Ghibli Edition.”

The software will officially be presented at the upcoming AnimeJapan convention in Tokyo, and then will be available for use shortly after.