Blender / GIMP / Krita / Kdenlive / CUPS Week recap — 12 August 2019

Week highlights: great new features in GIMP and Krita, new digikam release, better sculpting tools coming to Blender 2.81, GSoC project in Pitivi bringing better UI and features.


GIMP developers have been busy refactoring everything related to plug-ins and the procedure database (PDB). More interestingly, Ell started working on automatic expansion of layers when using transformation tools.

The initial implementation adds two new features:

  1. New Image mode available next to Layer, Selection, and Path modes in all transformation tools. This mode works best for single-layer images and automatically resizes the canvas when the bounding box of the transformed image is larger than the canvas.
  2. New Image > Transform > Arbitrary Rotation command that launches the Rotate tool in the Image mode.

So here is before and after:

The next step is to figure out some things about the automatic expansion of layers. E.g. in some cases the bounding box of a layer can become smaller after rotation, and it is unclear how GIMP should handle that: should there be two separate options for expansion and contraction? Should contraction be suboption of expansion? Should GIMP just always expand and contract?

This is where you can actually help by pinging the @GIMP_Official account on Twitter and giving some argumentative feedback based on your use of other programs and common sense :)

GIMP has also moved to using Gitlab’s continuous integration system, and GEGL will be using the Meson build system in the next release (coming soon).

Pavol Rusnak created a GauGAN plug-in for GIMP, that creates photorealistic images from segmentation maps (see the original page).

Krita developers had an almost week-long sprint in Deventer (Netherlands), and it looks like it was their largest attended sprint so far.

In terms of code commits, it wasn’t exactly a programming sprint. My gut feeling, however, says that given the number of artists who attended, we are likely to see useful changes piling up soon as the result of conversations.

Some great things are happening already. For instance, Boudewijn started adding action search in a dedicated branch, and Wolthera started adding a little helper widget to calibrate pen pressure for graphic tablets. There’s still UI to be added, but this is likely to land to version 4.3.0 too. Meanwhile, Kuntal Majumder continues his work on the Magnetic Lasso tool.


The digiKam team released a maintenance update, version 6.2.0, that brings wider camera support and better metadata support via new libraw and Exiv2 releases respectively. Icon also get rendered properly on HiDPI displays now. For full release notes, see here.

Jean-Christophe recently started working on a Spot Removal tool in RawTherapee. It’s already functional and lives in a dedicated branch for now.

You don’t absolutely have to use it on skin blemishes. If a particularly nasty bird flew into your landscape shot and the shutter speed wasn’t fast enough to render it sharply, the tool will do just fine.

Enable the tool in the Detail tab, click the little pencil button to enable spot drawing mode, then Ctrl+Click on a point, drag immediately to set the reference, drag inner circle to set radius, drag outer circle to set the fuzzyness of the selection.


Pablo Dobarro continues improving sculpting tools in Blender. Follow him on Twitter for more updates.


Yorik van Havre published his July report on BIM improvements in FreeCAD. Highlights:

  • Various BIM Views improvements
  • The total thickness (the sum of the material layers) is now displayed on the MultiMaterial task panel
  • Building Parts are now able to clip the 3D view
  • Multi-view grids and working planes have been refactored


FFmpeg 4.2 "Ada" us out with the usual crapload of changes including AV1 decoding support. See the news section for all the details.

Thibault Saunier did a talk about OpenTimelineIO support in GStreamer at SIGGRAPH (see their earlier post on the initial implementation):

For Pitivi, this means you would be able to open project data from other NLEs, mostly commercial ones. There’s news from their GSoC students too. Millan Castro, who works on markers, recently posted an update on his progress. So did Yatin Maan, who creates a new UI for effects library.

Another interesting subproject is the support for nested timelines in GStreamer Editing Services added by Thibault Saunier and contributed to by Swayamjeet Swain.

Alexandru Băluț also says he’s going to merge scaled proxies branch from last year’s GSoC soon.

There’s also a beta of the upcoming Shotcut 19.08 release available, with enhancements and fixes.


Mixbus developers continue contributing to Ardour. Most recently, Ben Loftis merged his rework of the regions list, with intention to make it more usable for work. In a nutshell:

  • New Sources tab features source data with Take ID (time of creation) and original position (on the timeline). You can now do things like selecting all regions coming from a single take (commonly lots after you split and rearranged their locations), sorting clips by time of creation etc.
  • Pre-existing Regions tab now features the tagging of clips. You can tag clips by any criteria you can think of (“good/bad”, “left/right mic” etc.) and then easily locate all of them.

This will be available in Ardour 6.

Also, Nikolaus Gullotta is working on mixer snapshots (they are mixer presets really). The idea is that track templates are not sufficient, you might want taking a complete mixer setup from one project and apply it to another project. This is currently sitting in a dedicated branch, so far it’s unclear if it will make it to Ardour 6.


Mart’s Struggle with Drawing brought us this little tutorial on adding reference images in Krita 4.2.x:

UkrArtDesign has a new tutorial on drawing SVEN speakers with Inkscape:

Boris Hajdukovic insists he’s not making darktable tutorials. But you can still learn a thing or two from his videos that typically feature advanced blending of various filters:

Andrew Price shot another video on Blender 2.80, that now focuses on one question: WHERE DID MY BUTTON GO TO?

Art and showcases

The award winning short film "The Box" by Dušan Kastelic, and it’s made with Blender!

New Cycles render from Jakob Scheidt comes with the-making-of post at Blendernation:

New artwork by Sylvia Ritter from her ongoing Tarot cards project:

Great concept design for a game, by Jimi John: