Recent highlights: new version of AzPainter and RawTherapee, GIMP and Krita preparing for respective releases, Blender keeps getting tons of improvements, GSoC 2019 students and projects announced.
Since I had to skip quite a few weeks, below goes the list of things that I personally consider most important over the time span since the last recap (you don’t have to agree with my priorities!).
Google Summer of Code 2019
Projects like Blender, appleseed, Krita, Synfig, Apertus, Godot, and others now have GSoC students to work this summer. This probably deserves a separate post, but you can have a look at the complete list of organizations, assigned students, and projects.
GIMP developers are likely to release version 2.10.12 in May, before the beginning of Libre Graphics Meeting 2019 in Saarbrücken. This is partly because of various fixes (e.g. the new smart bucket fill option is giving people crashes), and partly because there are new features worth shipping to end users. Here are some of them:
Tobias Ellinghaus added layers exporting to the TIFF plug-in. This is an option in the exporting settings dialog.
Ell added incremental mode to the Dodge/Burn tool. The new option works pretty much like the one in the Paintbrush tool and applies the effect incrementally as the pointer moves.
He also introduced several changes to the Curves dialog, which are discussed in a video I shot last week (subtitles available):
Finally, the new version will be shipping with a fix for the Free Select tool. As you may have noticed, since version 2.10.0, GIMP has been allowing the editing of polygonal selection but demanding to either press the Enter key or double-click inside the selection to confirm it. If you didn’t do it, GIMP would copy and paste the whole layer rather than selection.
The design was consistent with other tools, but for those who tried to do just the free selection, this extra step was way too annoying. So Ell made the tool create a preliminary selection. Now you can quickly draw a free selection and then copy-paste it without confirmation.
Krita developers released the first alpha of version 4.2.0 and expect to have the final release by the end of May 2019, around the time Libre Graphics Meeting kicks off in Saarbrücken, Germany.
The team is valiantly fighting off bugs to make the final release as bug-free as humanly possible. Until the release, don’t expect any fancy new features (source code has been in hard freeze mode for the past couple of weeks, by the look of it, which means only bugfixes are allowed).
For more info on the 4.2.0 alpha (and downloads) see the announcement.
Azel released AzPainter 2.1.4 with several improvements: new "Luminance (addition)" and "Luminance (dodge)" blending modes, sharper display of an image when zoomed out, the maximum display magnification bumped from 1000% to 2000%, and drag’n’drop support in the Brushes panel (to be fair, I couldn’t get this last one to work). Source code is available, there might be an appimage soon.
AzPainter 2.1.4, featuring a PSD project by Djamila Knopf
The Inkscape team has been busy lately, just a few notable recent changes to mention.
Tavmjong Bah added basic ‘SVG in OpenType’ support. This is kinda exciting given what you can do with that. Jabier Arraiza introduced some improvements to the new LPE Add dialog. Patrick Storz improved keyboard shortcuts configurator which, in case of a conflict, now suggests an option to reassign already used shortcuts. Nathan Lee made all of the toolbars (and at least some dockable dialogs) respect the unit set in the Document Properties dialog:
Nathan also slightly restyled the Guide properties dialog:
The RawTherapee team released version 5.6 featuring an optional Pseudo-HiDPI mode, ability to move tools to a new Favorites tab for fast access, lots of speed optimizations, and more changes. For details, please see the release announcement.
There has been a ton of changes in Blender for the past month. Here are some of them in no particular order:
- Color-managed image buffers in Cycles via OpenColorIO
- More unification of material and lights settings between Cycles and Eevee
- Eevee now supports viewport preview of background alpha
- Collections can be easily enabled and disabled in the Outliner using checkboxes now
- In animation editors, the scrubbing area is now at the top and is part of the ruler
- The Scene strip in VSE got various performance improvements
Some of these changes have been covered in Pablo’s recent stream:
And let’s not forget about textured brushes in Grease Pencil:
Also, check out the report from Blender 2.80 Homestretch:
The final release of 2.80 is currently scheduled for July 2019, not too far off!
Yorik van Havre posted his monthly report on FreeCAD that, as usual, focuses on his contribution to the architecture design feature set.
Notable new features:
- IFC exporter now supports transparency, multicolor objects, and compounds
- Shape2DViews can now fuse walls and structures, to be added to TechDraw Arch views as well later on
- Cloning entire levels of a building is now possible
- All Draft objects now have an Area property, for easy calculation of areas
KiCon 2019, the annual KiCad EDA conference, took place in Chicago in late April. Videos have been published by Contextual Electronics on YouTube.
Oh, and Dave Jones from EEVblog has considerably changed his opinion of KiCad since his first encounter with the project.
VCV Rack got a new record module:
Also, Alright Devices released T-Wrex and Chronoblob 2 modules for VCV Rack.
Andrew Belt is also considering relicensing VCV Rack to GPLv3 with freeware/commercial exceptions to, as he put, “prevent commercial modules from being sold without supporting the VCV project, and prevent unlicensed commercial clones of VCV Rack itself that do not support the VCV project”. See this post for more details.
Matt KC released Olive 0.1.0, then merged all his new pipeline code. For now, it contains OpenColorIO-based color management and early implementation of built-in node compositing. Future plans include a cached playback engine and masking. See his roadmap post on Patreon for more details.
Shotcut got a lot of fixes and several new filters: Audio Dance Visualization, Audio Light Visualization, RGB Shift (frei0r.rgbsplit0r), Glitch (frei0r.glitch0r), Distort (frei0r.distort0r). All of that is already available in version 19.04.30.
The Kdenlive team completed much anticipated refactoring and released version 19.04. Highlights: autosplitting of audio tracks from video clips upon dropping onto the timeline, resizeble track height, improved keyframe handling, voiceover recording (with video playback). See release notes for more info. A bugfix update is already available.
Cinelerra-GG recently got hardware decoding and encoding via VDPAU/VAAPI. The decoding part is available in the latest release, the encoding part will be present in the next build (we don’t of any scheduled release dates to share). The video editor also got a plug-in called Tracer for creating a quick outline around an object, a kind of an mask. See here for more changes.
As for Flowblade, Janne Liljeblad spent most of the time working on keyframing and Rotomask features and UI, as well as bug fixing.
Caching system in Blender’s VSE was rewritten and allows more user control. All settings are now in the Proxy & Cache panel in the sidebar.
A new tutorial by Nick Saporito explains how to draw retro style numbers.
Another one is about creating glowing neon text with GIMP.
As usual, grafikwork puts out a new solid Krita timelapse.
In a new Blender tutorial, Wayward Art Company talks about creating and resuing custom node groups in procedural tetxures.
GDquest published an introduction to VisualScript in Godot 3.1.
Art and showcases
Sven Ebert pisted a new artwork made with Inkscape, Bravest Warrior.
New painting by Jarry H., made with Krita.
New Cycles render by debopam_das looks yummy.
IBM released the Plex Sans Variable v1.0 typeface featuring Weight (100-700) and width (85-100) axes, presets for 32 styles, variable TrueType hinting. All is available under the terms of the OFL 1.1 license.