Multi-week recap — 25 November 2020

Multi-week recap — 25 November 2020

Highlights: new releases of GIMP, Scribus, FontForge, Synfig, Tahoma2D, LibreDWG, Giada, Ardour, new features in Krita, Inkscape, Olive, Kdenlive, a new take at fullscreen color management with HDR support in Wayland.

Graphics

There have been two major anniversaries lately.

GIMP turned 25 years old last week and released version 2.99.2 a few weeks prior to that. It's the first unstable release leading up to v3.0.

It was 20 years for FontForge, and another release:

The Krita team merged the last GSoC 2020 project this year, the storyboard editor. There's a nice walk-through in confifu's blog. Developers also released their own fork of SeExp, called KSeExpr. According to Boudewijn, they couldn't get hold of upstream developers regarding various fixes that the Krita team had done. They are in contact now, and KSeExpr has dual licensing to make their changes available to upstream.

Krita storyboarding

Scribus 1.5.6 is out with PDF-based printing (to replace PostScript-based printing eventually), PDF 1.6 exporting, and some more niceties. Here is our video, and you can also read its edited transcript.

I spoke to Craig Bradney about the future v1.6. release. Here is what he told me:

We haven't yet come to the final conclusion what v1.6 should be but I think we’re getting close. Any form of major UI revamp or changes should really wait now. There’s tables that we’d love to finish but we’ve got some interesting work going on.

Jean has stabilized the notes work a lot. He is going to review the new PDF importer code from a new contributor and he is rewriting the copy/paste code right now to make copy/paste between documents work more reliably and cover some import gaps.

I have started working on an API generator script that will give us shells of API commands to be filled in with functionality — inspired by Ale’s work on some APIs in some way. The aim being we have an API to call and replace all the active code in scripter, and also allow other scripting languages and even internal Scribus code to use the public API where it makes sense. We can really pick a point to release, but just need to decide.

The Inkscape team merged the new dockable dialogs system written by Valentin Ionita over the summer (it was one of the GSoC projects).

Pekka Paalanen announced ongoing work on fullscreen color management protocol with HDR support for Wayland. This is not the first attempt. RIchard Hughes mentioned that back as 2012 (here is my interview with him). The idea is to rely on ICCv4 color profiles with an outlook for iccMAX (which they probably should have sticked to from ground up).

Photography

Aurélien Pierre finally merged his color mixer module to darktable. The module is now available under the name of 'color calibration' and works sort of similarly to what you can find in Lightroom and probably saw a few times in videos like 'make your colors POP!', 'your editing will never be the same again' etc. You can support him on Liberapay, by the way.

darktable, color calibration

Harold le Clément de Saint-Marcq implemented unbounded blending modes, RGB scene-referred parametric masking in JzCzhz color space, and a boost factor to set thresholding above 100% to work on HDR images.

Filmulator 0.9.1 was released with some workflow improvements.

Animation

Synfig 1.4.0 is out with a crazy amount of improvements and new features. Some of the release highlights:

  • Editable curves in Graphs Panel
  • Waveform display and elimination of sync issues
  • Transform tool got a control point to change transformation origin
  • Animation of any parameter can be baked now
  • TimeTrack panel now allows setting playback range and looping the playback
  • Simplified importing of image sequences
  • Port of the bitmap vectorization tool from OpenToonz

I also completely missed the latest release announcement of Tahoma2D, a recent fork of OpenToonz by Jeremy Bullock who used to be one of the most active OT contributors. Version 1.1 comes with what appears to be a huge blob of small improvements all over the place, including but far from limited to these:

  • Vanishing points and advanced straight line drawing on vector levels.
  • The vector brush can now draw behind, auto close and auto fill strokes.
  • Bitmaps copy-pasting between Tahoma2D and other programs.
  • Linux builds and support for webcam on Linux for the stopmotion feature set.

Boris Dalstein announced some interesting improvements in the Animated Cycle Editor in VPaint. See his Patreon post for details.

3D

Blender Foundation announced that Facebook will be joining the Developer Fund in the Q4 of 2020. Facebook develops its own augmented reality tools and ships an add-on for Blender. As is usual in such cases, some people started freaking out that Facebook is up to no good.

Here's my take on that if you care to read. There is no public information about how much they are giving, only that it's above $300 a month. Facebook's marketing budget for 2019 was close to $9.9bln. Even if they donated $1mln (which is unlikely, it would be a huge story), that would be nearly 1/10000 of the whole marketing budget. This is peanuts. They would lose a lot more than what they spent if they were caught trying to manipulate Ton.

None of the embrace-extend-extinguish theories I've read so far look remotely realistic. So this is simply a win-win case: Facebook gets good karma (that they really need) for what is effectively a few cents for them, and Blender gets some more funds.

CAD

Reini Urban released LibreDWG 0.11.1 with a bunch of fixes. The library can now also be included in CMake projects. For the list of changes, please see here.

Yorik van Havre posted his October report for FreeCAD development. Highlights:

  • SVG hatches support in the TechDraw workbench
  • New style editor for the Draft, Arch, and BIM workbenches
  • ImagePlane tool now available in the BIM workbench
  • Clean-up in the Material editor

By the way, people started testing the Turning add-on for FreeCAD that uses LibLathe to enhance the Path workbench and control a CNC lathe.

SolveSpace is getting some much needed love lately, mostly from its current new maintainer, Paul Kahler.

There's a new release of BlenderBIM with 52 new features and fixes, including improved material and presentation layer support, improved geolocation support, and various workarounds for IFC files generated by Bentley ProStructures. See here for more details.

BlenderBIM 20-11-15

If you are interested, what's next for Ladybug tools, here is a long-ish video:

Video

W.P. Morrow aka Good Guy, lead developer of Cinelerra-GG, passed away after being hit by a truck while cycling in early November. He was 66. Phyllis is taking over her late husband's work, the mailing list seems to be active but so far no new commits to the git repository.

MattKC posted a monthly update on Olive development and laid out basic plans for the near future. The next version, v0.2, will focus on delivering functional cutting and exporting, with proxies, caching, and everything. It might also get a basic color grading node. Then v0.3 will have further node editing improvements and better color management. Most recently, Matt brought back Transform and Mosaic nodes, as well as localization support, and rewrote exporting code. Meanwhile, Thomas Wilshaw is busy improving OpenTimelineIO support.

Kdenlive team merged the subtitle editing GSoC project of Sashmita Raghav. It's not exactly all functional right now, but since we are talking about the master branch, I'd say it's safe to expect this working in the next release later this year. At least, it's available in recently released beta of v20.12 along with same-track transitions.

Kdenlive subtitles

Music-making

Giada looper is out with VST3 support and minor UX/UI improvements. There's a changelog in the downloads section on the website if you want to know more.

Ardour 6.5 is out with VST3 being the major new feature.

Ardour w/ Vital

As you can see, I'm using newly released Vital softsynth by Matt Tytel. Everybody was wondering if he would release source code but that doesn't seem to be the case so far. Nevertheless, both LV2 and VST3 version are available. And, since he didn't even promise that, welp, at least this is not Lightworks all over again.

There's another alpha release of Zrythm available, mostly with minor improvements.

Tutorials

Fred Brennan posted a new FontForge tutorial about creating a variable font with non-linear (higher-order) interpolation:

New Inkscape tutorial by UkrArtDesign:

Making a lightbulb with Blender:

Artworks

New Inkscape artwork by Sven Ebert, reportedly vandalized by Sonya Benett. You can find the pure and unadorned version here :)

Sven Ebert

Some speedpainting practice from Philipp Urlich:

Philipp Urlich

Sylvia Ritter published another book cover commission she recently did with Blender and Krita.

Sylvia Ritter

Syed Waleed Shah posted more artwork made with Krita.

Syed Waleed Shah


Each of my weekly recaps involves researching, building and testing software, reporting bugs, talking to developers, actually watching videos that I recommend, and only then writing. Time-wise, that's between 10 and 20 hours. If you enjoy the work I do, you can support me on Patreon or make a one-time donation.

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