GIMP / Krita / darktable / Blender / BlenderBIM / FreeCAD / LibreCAD / Flowblade / Olive / Kdenlive / Ardour Weekly recap — 3 July 2023

Been away for family reasons, hence missing the previous updates and being slightly late with this one. Post highlights: new releases of darktable, Blender, BlenderBIM, Flowblade, Ardour.


The team is about to release v2.99.16. It’s been a long time since the last unstable snapshot, so it’s good the release is finally coming. Jehan also published a report about the Wilber Week in Amsterdam, the team’s first offline gathering since 2019. There are two main takeaways for me personally.

First of all, release candidates of v3.0 are still possible in 2023. Right now, the team is pushing unfinished and planned fixes to 2.99.18, so the next release isn’t yet planned to be the first release candidate. If they go back to a new release every two months, this means 2.99.18 around September, which leaves the team just 3 months to start publishing RCs. That’s not a lot, but still doable indeed.

GIMP 3.0 release in 2024 means this dev cycle will be 6 years long, same as 2.10. The decision to backport useful changes from the 2.99 branch to 2.10 was obviously the right one, otherwise vastly more users would wander off. I’m curious to see whether the team will implement some changes to the way development is done in the project and switch to much shorter release cycles.

Secondly, a non-profit organization for GIMP is still a work in the progress. There’s not much detail provided, but the way it is being talked about raises a few red flags for me personally. There’s some talk about keeping the free spirit, but barely any talk about making GIMP’s development sustainable. I guess we’ll all have to sit and wait for more details to pour in eventually.


Krita got a bunch of Android and macOS build fixes. JPEG-XL support has been improved, the implementation now handles reading special channels and writing layers.

Among interesting merge requests:

darktable 4.4

I have to admit I don’t understand half the new features in this release, these things are simply not what I do when I use darktable. Here are the bits that I found interesting:

  • Color harmonies overlay in vectorscope, useful for color grading (part of this video by Joanna Kustra explains the theory as applied to photography)
  • Drawn masks got a full makeover, it’s a UX/UI cleanup + some new features
  • Even more UX/UI improvements: more discoverable crop handles, vertically resizable histogram panel etc.
  • Better performance all around

Full release notes are here. An update was released a few days back with bug fixes.

Blender 3.6 LTS

This is a long-time support release, so it’s getting updates and fixes for the next two years.


  • Simulations support in geometry nodes
  • Much faster loading of mesh geometries into Cycles
  • Ray-tracing acceleration for Intel Arc and Data Center GPUs (Embree 4), as well as for AMD (HIP RT)
  • New UV packing engine: better performance on large meshes, better support for non-square materials
  • Newly added asset bundle with a collection of human base meshes
  • Faster FBX importing/exporting, newly added 3DS importing/exporting

Full release notes available here, and there’s an official video:

Meanwhile, Blender Foundation is planning a full rewrite of Grease Pencil for better performance and ease of adding new features.


Not much fun going on in the main development branch, as v0.21 is getting really close. However, there’s interesting things happening elsewhere. For example, Dave Carter of the Rocket workbench fame is working on an updated materials system. A recent blog post in the Ondsel’s blog covers the state of affairs with materials in FreeCAD and provides a quick overview of work done so far. Another initiative is building a core system for custom data elements, or properties, if you will (disclaimer: I wrote much of both posts).

Meanwhile, Yorik keeps hacking on NativeIFC. As a matter of fact, Yorik has been involved with the Materials system update in a consulting role and his work on NativeIFC over the past weeks probably reflects that. Not only did NativeIFC get initial IFC tree editing, it now has the basics of handling materials.

There’s also progress with Google Summer of Code projects:

  • Hlorus created a pull request with his changes on the unified measurement tool so far, he’s now updating it as he moves forward.
  • Tanausú Hernández Yanes is currently in the research phase for his on-machine inspection project.
  • Amulya Paritosh made a public git repository for his online content fetching project, work done so far: models for tags, components, and metadata, SPDX license, API based on OpenAPI 3.0.0, basic validation, elasticsearch support for searching metadata.
  • The last update from Gauri Maheshwari was that he was exploring Docusaurus as a replacement for the new documentation system.


Dion Moult released a new version of BlenderBIM. Some of the new features:

  • Cycles and Eevee materials can now be used to render IFC objects
  • IFC Git got support for listing, creating, and deleting git tags, it can also do visual diffing between releases now
  • Various improvements in parametric modeling of roofs, railings, doors, windows etc.
  • Experimental support for IFC storage in SQLite and MySQL

Here is a video of a live session where several people collaborate on an architectural project via IFC Git:

See here for a full list of changes. Riley Wong is also making nice progress with their GSoC project bringing Brickschema integration.


Dongxu Li recently made a surprise return to the project and is actively hacking on the v2 branch. He’s mostly cleaning the code and fixing bugs.

Flowblade 2.10

A major change in this release is the switch to Fluxity Plugin API for generator plugins. There’s a demo, not too fancy, but it’s easy to see that there are some very nice effects possible:

There are many more changes, see the full release notes.

The release doesn’t seem to make use of recent new features in MLT such as 10-bit pipelines, but I guess it’s coming.


Matt has been rather silent lately while doing some really impressive work, such as a node system overhaul. That brings some nice extras:

  • Channel swizzling
  • Automatic conversion between some data types
  • Custom value types
  • Custom UIs for nodes (think 3-way color grading or curves)
  • Greatly enhanced math node

New math node options in Olive


The team posted an update on funding in June. One of the major goals, nested timelines, has been delivered. But because of regressions in the 23.04 series, they are focusing on regression testing for 23.08 and will resume programming features once they are confident they are on a solid path again.

Ardour 7.5 and onwards

Some of the new features have been in the making for several months, but finally became mature enough to be talked about:

  • New Map Tempo mode to adjust the tempo map to performance
  • Basic implementation of sections — ranges that can be moved around and cut/copy-pasted, more work likely to be done there
  • Per-device I/O saving when you switch between backends
  • Automatic activation of some USB MIDI control surfaces

The Map Tempo mode is still a little rough around the edges, so more work is happening there. But the most exciting news is that velocity editing is finally part of the main development branch and thus will be available in the next release. A picture worth a thousand words, eh?

Lollipops in upcoming Ardour 7.6


Deep Space Astro did a step-by-step tutorial of using GraXpert for gradient background removal.

Finding and fixing self-intersections in Part Design in FreeCAD:

How to create realistic water in Blender, with Cycles:


New speedpainting by Sylvia Ritter (Krita):

Speedpainting 01072023

Somewhere by Sad_Tea (Krita):


The new journey by Marco Tal (Krita):

The new journey

Eldoria by Sweeper3D (Blender, Photoshop):


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