This has been a really busy week for everybody. Highlights: new releases of Krita, LibreCAD, Kdenlive, MuseScore, Ardour, Rosegarden, and more.
GIMP and JPEG-XL
The importing and exporting of 8/16-bit per channel CMYK/A JPEG-XL files has finally landed to the main development branch of GIMP. But there’s more goodness coming from Cmyk.Student:
This is a maintenance release and probably the last one in the 5.1 series. The team is expecting to ship version 5.2 next. The list of fixed bugs, as well as downloads links are here.
Blender open movie, Charge
New short animated film by Blender Studio has been released. Charge is the 14th open movie by the Studio. As usual, the idea was to use Blender in real production and boost parts that needed attention (Eevee, geometry nodes, and the new curve-based hair system).
This release has been almost 6 years in the making. Mostly it’s bugfixes and small improvements, however these four changes stand out:
- Complete undo/redo engine revamp (not an easy thing to do in any sophisticated program)
- Better print preview with support for tiled printing and line widths adjustment
- Multiple selection and bulk actions in Blocks and Layers lists
- Better performance when panning and zooming large files
Release announcement and downloads links are here.
Armin Stebich (the current maintainer) expects a few more releases in the 2.x branch to merge more patches contributed by community members. However it really is time to shift the focus to v3. I’m in conversation with Armin regarding project’s plans, stay tuned for a more nuanced coverage.
The Kdenlive team is bringing a lot of joy with this update:
- Revamped guides and markers system + Timeline Guides dock (on the screenshot below). There are caveats though, I find this comment by user rickst29 at OMG!Ubuntu rather informative
- Glaxnimate integration for rendering animation (thanks to MLT v7.8.0+)
- Various UI/UX improvements
- Better cache management
There’s a very nice release announcement with details, have a go.
Hands down one of the most important releases this year. Since Muse Group acquired the project, we’ve seen a lot of improvements here and there, but it was peanuts compared to what was going on in the background. It’s really a “no stone left unturned” release: major UX/UI overhaul, simplified workflow, better score engraving, entirely new playback engine with VST3 support (not on Linux for now), and a lot more.
There’s also a “how we did it” video from Martin Keary aka Tantacrul, which I very much recommend watching:
To me, the most impressive part of this video is that Martin gives a lot of credit to his team, although I’m not surprised that he did so. Martin said it on more than one occasion: he really is proud of the team he built. Putting people and teamwork forward come the release time is one aspect of a better project culture I tried (and hopefully succeeded) instilling in my GIMP days, so I’m very happy to see this in MuseScore too. Hopefully we (collectively, as a community) can bring this over to even more projects.
The new version is going to make a lot of users very happy. The odd side of this is that Muse Sounds, the sampler engine, and the sample libraries available through Muse Hub, are not free/libre (neither is Muse Hub itself), but that’s a (much) longer conversation for another day.
Just like the previous update, this release was triggered by the amount of bugfixes rather than new features. Nevertheless:
- You can now use MIDI Learn for trigger slots, so even if you controller is not supported yet, you can still make a better use of it.
- TouchOSC users will now see Ardour’s IP address after clicking the Discover button thanks to mDNS support (alas, Windows not supported so far, you can blame Microsoft for that)
- MIDI Lyrics are now supported and imported as region markers when the Import MIDI markers option is enabled (go ahead, make your jokes about using Ardour for karaoke :)).
- MP3 support has been re-implemented via libsndfile (it was FFmpeg before), Opus now directly supported via libsndfile as well.
- The naming logic of bounced regions is vastly more useful now.
See here for more information.
It’s been a long time since I last looked at Rosegarden, mostly due to extremely basic audio features and team’s reluctance to add support for LV2 and VST3. The latest release introduces an attempt to make looping a range in a project easier for users. After trying this, I’m afraid I’m still not convinced. The loop range / loop track separation is OK, but editing a loop range is still too difficult. On the other hand, a) advanced looping is a beta feature, and b) Mark Rubin has further fixes and improvements in the pipeline.
This release happened earlier than this week actually, I just totally missed it. My bad! There’s the usual handful or two of bugfixes, but the new version also comes with support for VST2 plugins as real-time effects. Not too shabby!
The list of fixes and download links are on GitHub.
CLAP 1.0 is 0.5 years old
I talked about CLAP, the CLever Audio Plugin API, more than a few times this year, both here and on LWN. The team posted a “half a year in review” kind of a post (they released v1.0 in June, so it makes sense). In a nutshell:
- There are some very good plugins available in CLAP, and only a small fraction of them are made by U-he.
- There are 6 digital audio workstations / sequencers now that support CLAP: three proprietary (Bitwig, Reaper, MultitrackStudio) and three free/libre (Qtractor, Zrythm, Anklang).
- Developers of Unreal Engine announced CLAP support coming in one of the next updates.
Rain City by David Revoy (Krita)
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