GIMP / Krita / darktable / RawTherapee / Blender / QCad / FreeCAD Weekly-ish recap — 11 March 2019

Week highlights: new releases of darktable, QCad, Dust3D, and ZynAddSubFX, new features in GIMP, Blender’s Grease Pencil, Olive, and VCV Rack, a school in the U.S. is using Krita to teach 5th graders. Warning: there’s some graphic content at the end of the Art and Showcases section.


Last week, Jehan Pages added direct on-canvas color preview when editing a colormap color and introduced some improvements to Line Art detection. Ell added some interesting improvements to transform tools:

Krita developers focused on bugfixing last week, so there’s not much to report. However, they posted a tutorial on creating Python plugins, written by Zlatko Mašek.

Meanwhile, Progressive Arts Alliance announced that 5th graders at Hannah Gibbons-STEM school in Cleveland’s Collinwood neighborhood are using Krita to learn the basics of digital painting and animation.

Krita in US school


The darktable team released the first bugfix update in the 2.6.x series. The 2.6.1 version also comes with a number of new features, such as Piwigo exporting, enhancements to various processing modules, importing/exporting of presets, better CSS customization, support for TIFF CIELAB/ICCLAB 8/16-bit, and more. See the release announcement for details.

There’s also a lot of activity in RawTherapee, where the newlocallab git branch is now basically serving as a testbed for all sorts of new features and improvements, such as:

  • Better FujiFilm X-series support
  • New “Unclipped” processing profile to easily save unclipped floating-point images
  • New Local Shadows Highlight filter, with blur shape detection
  • Guide filter now used for Mask Exposure and Color and Light mask
  • Dual-illuminant DCPs for a few cameras


There have been less than usual commits in the master branch of Blender last week, but there’s a lot going on in the greasepencil-object branch coming from both Antonio Vasquez and William Reynish: new Extrude operator with multiframe support, all kinds of improvements for textured strokes (including caps generation), basic edit support for Hook and Array modifier.

Jeremy HU keeps releasing beta versions of Dust3D 1.0. Two most recent updates feature improved mesh and remesh quality, support for cut face customization, new Chamfer tool, a back wireframe view, and support for onion skinning in the pose editor.

Lubos Lenco recently demonstrated a new Text tool in ArmorPaint: you can now drop in a font file and stamp text onto objects.

Text tool in ArmorPaint


Andrew Mustun released QCad 3.22.0 with performance improvements, a corner radius option for shapes, and an ability to select and move multiple reference points. The released also comes with an updated dark theme. There are more improvements in the Professional (closed-source) edition. See the full list of changes for more information.

Yorik van Havre posted his monthly update on the work he did on FreeCAD in February. As usual, I recommend reading all of it, so here are just some highlights:

  • There’s now a new video series showing a small but complete BIM project made entirely in FreeCAD: the reconstruction of the Pabellón de Barcelona, by Mies Van Der Rohe.
  • The integrated tutorial of the BIM workbench got updates and is now almost complete.
  • FreeCAD importer for Blender is now ported to 2.80, you can grab it from a gist on GitHub.
  • A 2D human reference can now be added when creating a new BIM project — for a good sense of a scale.
  • Some work started on making FreeCAD produce high-quality 2D output from BIM models, using an extension for Coin3D called SIMVoleon to automatically fill meshes being cut.
FreeCAD importer for Blender 280

Last but not least, the thesis of Thomas Krijnen called ‘Efficient storage and retrieval of detailed building models: multi-disciplinary and long-term use of geometric and semantic construction information’ is now available as a digital download. Thomas is the principal developer of IfcOpenShell (IFC read/write library) and one of the driving forces behind BIM adoption in FreeCAD.

The thesis discusses a variety of storage and retrieval related topics such as introducing a binary HDF5-based storage format for IFC models (much smaller file size, internal references etc.), using a SPARQL query engine, and detecting modifications to a building over time by pairing the manually modeled IFC engineering geometries with point clouds directly obtained from acquisition devices.


Recently, most of the work on Olive is bug fixing and small improvements, but there’s new stuff as well, such as support for h265 exporting and importing of existing projects into other projects.

Matt also resumed his work on getting OpenColorIO workflow supported (all commits are currently in the furtherocio git branch). The program can now load an OCIO configuration set in the Preferences dialog.

OpenColorIO settings in Olive

Most active projects, including Shotcut, OpenShot, Pitivi, Cinelerra-GG, and Kdenlive got their fair share of fixes, improvements, and code refactoring.


VCV Rack is getting a brand new module browser with module previews, fuzzy searching, and easy drag-and-dropping to place a module of choice in the rack.

New module browser in VCV Rack 1.0

Mark D. McCurry announced the 3.0.4 release of ZynAddSubFX. The new version brings visual refinements of the user interface, the LFO random mode, improved parameter resolution for two add synth volume parameters. You can now also use double click to reset sliders.

The Ardour team does mostly cleanups these days. Among things to mention — a complete redesign of how the program names and reloads MIDI ports information.

Tutorials and education

Grafikwork posted another Krita speed painting of a landscape with a mountain road.

The Freak Lesson channel added a video timelapse of creating photo-based art.

Nick Saporito create a new tutorial explaining how to create a simple comic logo with Inkscape.

Gleb Alexandrov published a tutorial explaining how to use the free D-Noise add-on by Remington Graphics that brings NVIDIA OptiX AI-Accelerated Denoiser to Blender.

Art and showcases

Martin Klekner posted a teaser of a short animated movie Heroes of Bronze, rendered with Eevee.

Paul Kotolevets aka 1D_Inc. posted an interesting fly-through animation of a baroque executive office, modeled with Blender and rendered with Eevee. See the BA thread for more info.

Ewa W. posted an update of her older still life render made with Blender.

Ewa W, Blender, still life

Another nice render made with Cycles (modeling done in SketchUp though) comes from BD3D (BlenderArtists thread).

BD3D, Little Garden, Blender

Yuditya Afandi published a realistic render of Robert Downey Jr. for his personal WIP Iron Man project.

Yuditya Afandi, Robert Downey Jr

Manga Tengu posted new artwork made with Krita.

Artwork by Manga Tengu

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 usually between 10 and 15 hours. If you enjoy the work I do, you can support me on Patreon or make a one-time donation.

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