Week recap — 11 August 2020

Week recap — 11 August 2020

Weekly highlights: first alpha release of Akira, new releases of darktable, Pinta, Synfig, Blender, and Qtractor, new features in Olive, Shotcut, and Ardour, more progress with storyboarding support in Krita.


There's certain peer pressure to talk about the release of Pinta v1.7. I get it: people want simpler editors than what you get with e.g. GIMP (or Krita, since some people prefer it for general image editing). That makes a perfect sense, and the changes in the release, accumulated over the last 5 years, might just about justify installing Mono. Some of them are:

  • Tabbed view to open and switch between multiple images, it's also possible to dock them side by side.
  • New Smooth Erase tool (as a mode of the regular Erase tool).
  • Blend mode choice now available for the Pencil tool
  • Better performance when working on selections, especially fot large images

The problem is that my laptop has a HiDPI display, and the new version of the program uses GTK2 without any GIMP-like hackarounds whatsoever. So it makes the program pretty much unusable. The good news is that GTK3 port is being worked on in a dedicated branch. Until then, I'm just happy for people who don't run into this issue anyway.

Saurabh Kumar, one Krita's GSoC students this year, implemented saving and loading of storyboard items, as well as an storyboard exporting dialog.

The first alpha release of Akira UX prototyping tool is now available. You have to give it to Alessandro Castellani et al. Back in early 2019 when I interviewed him, he was ready to admit the Kickstarter could fail and expected to continue working on this project regardless:

A failing campaign is a very real possibility, and actually is what I prepared for before even launching it. The team of developers is passionate about the project and they will keep working like we're doing right now, part-time, overnights, and during weekends.

That's indeed what happened: the campaign wasn't successful but the team continued hacking on the project. Here is what you can do right now:

  • create artboards
  • draw rectangles and ellipses and tweak their fills/strokes/opacity
  • add images
  • transform objects (scale, rotate, mirror)
  • export custom areas, selections, and artboards to PNG and JPG

Here is a nice overview from a month ago, the applicaiton hasn't changed all that much since then in terms of features.

There are several downloading options, Flathub seems to work for me.

You can support the team on Patreon.


Darktable 3.2 is out with an impressive amount of changes (and now with a bug fix update too). Should you upgrade?

  • If you didn't like the performance or the look of the lighttable mode,
  • If you weren't quite at home with the 'filmic' module rendering,
  • If you have scans of negatives and you find yourself doing extra tweaks before you can get to editing them,

...you definitely should check out the new release. See the extensive release notes for details.

darktable 3.2 screenshot

Following a discussion on Twitter, Tobias Ellinghaus (of the darktable fame) created phonedepth, a small command-line application to extract depth maps from photos made by various Apple, Huawei, and Samsung phones. You can use it then in e.g. GIMP to blur the background in photos (real depth map support still coming to the Lens Blur filter though).


Synfig 1.3.16 is out with urgent bug fixes. On the good news front, though, the Skeleton tool by Aditya Abhiram (GSoC student) has been merged to the main development branch and will become part of a future release.

Maurycy Liebner suspended (temporarily, I hope) the development of enve (and the Patreon page) citing health issues. I think this is a good time to say it out loud: nobody has to be sorry if they are dealing with bad stuff in life and can't contribute to free software projects as much as they used to.


Blender 2.83.4 (long-time support) update is out. No fancy new stuff, just bug fixes.

Pablo Dobarro rocks as usual with sculpting tools:



Some exciting stuff about to be dropped by Andrew Peel. See his earlier post from June for more details.



Jeremy HU made the first alpha release of AutoRemesher, an automatic quad remeshing application. The plan is to integrate it into Dust3D once AutoRemesher is mature enough.



You can download builds for Windows, Linux, and macOS.


BlenderBIM v0.0.200810 is out with ungodly amount of changes again. Some of the features are new graphical interfaces for IFC COBie and IFC Patch, as well as IFC Diff changes visualization. See the list of changes for a lot more info or just download the update.

BlenderBIM v200810

There's finally a lot going on with LibreCAD v3, not in the least place thanks to this year's Google Summer of Code project: hatch pattern loading from external files, new Approximate Area tool (written in Lua), various UI updates, and more.


Olive got a bunch of caching updates. For instance, the new way autocaching works makes it possible to make it multi-threaded in the future.

Shotcut got a new filter called Pillar Echo that looks a lot like what you get on TikTok: blurred copy of the original video in the background and the original video in the foreground.

Pillar Echo in Shotcut

Also, the Size and Position filter now supports rotation and zooming (only rotation is animatable though).


Qtractor 0.9.16 is out with fixes, dummy CVPort support in JACK, optional autosaving when adding new plugins, and other changes.

After Ardour v6.0 release, Paul Davis resumed working on the nutempo2 branch that will significantly improve working in both audio samples domain and musical time domain. And then there's this:

There's some good progress on the Sound Recorder app for GNOME as part of this year's GSoC project by Kavan Mevada.




Speed Art Inkscape 1.0: Sakura & Bird, by UkrArtDesign

How to make meshes with Python in Blender, by Curtis Holt:

Essentials of the Arch workbench in FreeCAD, by mathcodeprint:


István Szép, "Why I'm afraid to wash dishes", drawn with Inkscape:

István Szép, Inkscape

New interior render by George Turmanidze (Blender, Cycles):

George Turmanidze, Cycles

Philipp Urlich, a new landscape painting, made with Krita:

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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