ArmorPaint / Blender / BlenderBIM / Siril / darktable / GIMP / Krita / Surge / Zrythm Week recap — 1 February 2021

Week highlights: new releases of BlenderBIM, Shotcut, Surge and liquidsfz, new features in GIMP, darktable, Krita, Blender, ArmorPaint, Olive.

Graphics

GIMP’s developers mostly focused on file plug-ins last week:

  • Now when you export, file dialogs won’t be visible, the progress will be displayed in the status bar.
  • GIMP now correctly handles the gAMA image chunk in PNG files at importing, displaying, and exporting time.
  • The OpenRaster plug-in now supports progress update for importing/exporting, actually supports layer groups (both importing and exporting), and will set Normal mode to layer modes not supported in ORA (the plan is to write them in GIMP’s namespace later on, the way Krita does it now)
  • For plug-in developers, the build system now generates Python API documentation (GObject Introspected).

All that work was done by Jacob Boerema and Jehan Pages. There are some interesting patches by Stanislav Grinkov sitting in the Merge Requests section, like a live update of selected text color. One of them — selecting a template from the Canvas Size dialog — was actually merged today, I expect the rest to follow soon.

Templates in Canvas Size, GIMP

The Krita team is also very active:

  • Scott Petrovic returned to hacking on Krita, tuning various aspects of the user interface.
  • Wolthera van Hövell started working on support for ICC profiles in SVG files, it’s currently happening in a dedicated branch).
  • Dmitry Kazakov did a lot of resource management work.
  • L. E. Segovia merged the first working version of the GMic-Qt as a native Krita plugin.
  • Sachin Jindal added distance and angle measurement on the canvas for the Measure tool.

Distance and angle measurement in Krita

Photography

Thanks to Hanno Schwalm, darktable now supports dual demosaicing, the idea and some of the code coming from RawTherapee. Here’s the rationale, as per commit message :

In some images we have areas that would be best demosaiced with an algorithm preserving high frequency information (like amaze or rcd) and other areas that might profit from another demosaicer better suited for low frequency content like vng4.

The team also made a kinda predictable announcement on Mastodon last night:

To keep up with the current development pace, we have decided to keep releasing 2 major versions of darktable per year: one for summer solstice and the usual one for winter solstice. Those 2 major releases will ship new features, while the dot releases (like 3.4.1, which will be frozen next week) will only ship bug fixes.

Siril is getting all sorts of fixes and translation updates in preparation for v0.99.8 release. In particular, Cyril Richard rearranged items on the header bar.

Header bar in Siril 0.99.8

3D

The Blender team had a productive week:

  • Hans Goudey did some good work on Geometry Nodes
  • Kevin Dietrich worked on proxies for Alembic procedural
  • Pablo Dobarro implemented elastic surface falloff
  • Richard Antalik had some progress with fixing broken blend modes in VSE
  • Sebastian Parborg multi-threaded the action editor for 4x speed increase in certain scenarios
  • Sergey Sharybin exposed all UV interpolation options in Subdiv and set a better default UV interpolation
  • Sybren Stüvel worked on the Pose Library design.

ArmorPaint got several new features: support for assets packing on exporting (materials and brushes), better layer selection, new Curvature Bake node. Here is a video on the new UV node added a few weeks ago:

CAD

Dion Moult released new version of BlenderBIM with 110 new features and fixes. Here are the most important changes:

  • Zero roundtripping data loss
  • Twice as fast importing, much faster exporting (350MB large IFC in 20 seconds)
  • UI now adapts to the IFC schema version in use
  • Only a part of a large IFC can be edited now, and that part will store the authorship/contributor metadata
  • Initial new system for 3D annotations

For more info, please see the release notes .

Johnathon Selstad recently announced CascadeStudio that’s pretty much the OpenCascade kernel wrapped up in JavaScript with three.js front-end.

Video

A new release of Shotcut is out. Here is what Dan and Co. added:

  • AV1 decoding and decoding.
  • New Advanced mode in the Convert to Edit-friendly dialog with a number of options including an HDR transfer function.
  • New video filter named Reduce Noise: Quantization.

As for Olive, MattKC started another sweeping rewrite in a branch that’s now public . Some of the goals are:

  • Greatly simplify node connections (particularly with arrays) so the code requires less maintenance/is more stable
  • Redesign node structure to address issues where UI would stall for lengthy periods of time

As you might expect, he couldn’t stop at that and did more: implemented a new undo system, rewrote the Ripple tool, improved the Curve Editor dialog etc. It looks like more changes will land to that branch before it will be merged to the main development branch.

Music-making

Surge 1.8 is out. If you are a Linux user, you will need a VST3-capable host like Ardour or Zrythm, although you can build this softsynth as an LV2 plug-in as well. Release highlights:

  • New and improved skins
  • New filters, with multiple new filter models
  • Multi-segment envelope generator now works as a modulation source
  • Lots of Airwindows FX available in the FX chain
  • Over 2,000 presets now shipped with the synth

See here for the full changelog.

Surge 1.8 with Dark Surge theme

Stefan Westerfeld released a new version of liquidsfz sampler. Changes:

  • LFO support, both old style (amplfo_*, pitchlfo_*, fillfo_*) and new style (lfoN_freq, lfoN_pitch,…)
  • Support for curve sections and related opcodes
  • Minor fixes and cleanups

Both tarball and a binary build for Linux are available .

Tutorials

Evelyne Schulz, a tutorial on painting shiny and matte surfaces with GIMP:

Very nice Inkscape tutorial by Zakey Design:

And another one from UkrArtDesign:

This is good fun with painting symmetry in Krita but even 0.25 playback speed doesn’t always help (and you definitely want to turn off music in that case):

New tutorial from Blender Tutor: How to Animate Hair with Hair Dynamics in Blender 2.91

New tutorial from Andrew CADm this time on using the mirror feature, linear pattern, polar pattern and multi-transform in FreeCAD:

Artworks

Matthieu Coudert posted an experiment illustration made with Alchemy brush in Krita:

Matthieu Coudert, Alchemy brush, Krita

Animated portrait, made entirely with Krita, by Alartriss:

Gioele Muscolino is having fun with Blender and GIMP to render galaxies:

Gioele Muscolino, Volumetric Galaxy 2


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 7 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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