Crowdfunding Natron 3d Workspace

Dear Natron Team.

You might heard that Blackmagicdesign stopped further development of Fusion software
(Blackmagic Forum • View topic - An Open Letter to BMD regarding Fusions Future).

There is a whole bunch of people shocked, especially small to medium sized studios and most of them need an alternative, there is only Nuke and Natron.

I myself installed Natron (since I cant afford Nuke) and was surprised how well it works, but I am missing the 3d workspace and particles.

Why am I writing all of this. I think now would be right moment to catch all the disappointed Fusion users to donate a certain amount of money to Natron to get the 3d workspace developed. Maybe a crowdfunding campaign with a time schedule.

What do you guys think?


That would be great, sure, but that would represent a lot of work, and the there are no more developers in the Natron team. The first step is to find people interested in maintaining Natron, and then when they get used to the code they can start working on new features.
Note that simple things such as 3D cards can already be handled fully in 2D with Natron. You can even import tracking data from other software. Someone has to document the full workflow for that, though.


I am also Fusion user. I have and many others have same situation, all professionals want to move away from fusion if it is only integrated to Resolve. So the only possibility is Natron. I think it would be not difficult to crowd funded development of the 3d space, which is the main thing that is missing. Instead for paying for nuke that have money vampire approach. Lets go freee, long live for Open Source !

Natron code depends on libraries supplied by the operating system. Those libraries get updated. At some point Natron won’t be compatible with current libraries. Then there are security updates. Then there is coding and packaging for different operating systems. So it’s not just a case of crowd funding a new feature and then all is good.

@devernay said Natron needs a new maintainer. The “maintainer” is the head developer of a project who gets to call the shots as to what happens next.

Free/libre software such as Natron doesn’t just automagically write itself, maintain itself, and add new features to itself. Free/libre software is the result of individual persons choosing to devote their time and energy to a particular project. Crowd funding also doesn’t happen without individual persons devoting their time and effort.

If unhappy Fusion users really do want to switch to Natron, perhaps they could organize an effort to find a new Natron maintainer and also organize crowd funding as a way to compensate that person for the time it will take to get up to speed on the current Natron code base and then add the new features that the Fusion folks want.

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So the next steps are:

  • Searching coders who have the skills and are motivated to code on Natron.
  • Get a maintainer.
  • Setting goals, timelines and financing options.

I can imagine to contribute work/time in administrative and organisation for such a task.
A bit lost in where to start with findig these people… (maybe the start was this forum topic :slight_smile:


I don’t know how other projects that have had to find new maintainers managed to do so, but I do know it happens fairly often.

That link you provided has some nice information and ideas - it’s sad that Natron was sort of left in the lurch.

Maybe places like the lounge, stackexchange, and reddit might be places to post for general information, in the process spreading the word that there is a desire to crowdfund and a need for a new maintainer? And maybe the fusion forum?

Edit: the link you provided has a way more complete and really nice list of places to post and things to do. But the pixls lounge isn’t on the list!

@devernay: You were the core-developer of Natron with the most commits. Can you tell us what we are looking for? A 100% software developer in C++ with experience in crossplatform multimedia applications? Or even 2 -5 coders?

I am thinking about following scenario: Forking the Github repo, opening a Patreon page, make some kind of bounty program, contact middle scale studios to ask for commitment. Maybe even asking foundations. Figure out how to handle taxes, loans etc. when its an international opensource project.

The thing is, how would I know if the coder is good and understands what he is doing? I am not a coder I could not control if the commit is god or bad :slight_smile:

There must be a way to bring Natron back to life, since we have Krita and Blender on Linux its not possible that there is only Nuke for FX and composing… just thinking loud here…

Heh, I was just about to suggest that we start by contacting the current developers before doing anything but you preempted me.

For the others in this thread, I would strongly prefer that any takeover obtain the blessing of the current dev team. It’s only polite, and they can give help on what parts of the code to look at. In addition to that, they could also transfer ownership of things like github organizations and domains if they so wanted instead of the new team having to build all that from scratch.

Generally for an open project, you can find people who have already works on the project and sponsor their time. That will be much more efficient than bringing in someone new to the project. It also makes it more about raising funds than finding talent.

I’d wager that raising funds will prove more difficult than finding people to work on it.

Also the project isn’t completely dead, @devernay is still fixing some bugs.

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The Blender Foundation may also be a good place to speak up about the situation.
I know Blender has its own compositing engine, but not everybody likes it and the Blender team (including Ton Rosendaal) will certainly understand this.
If there is enough funding, the Natron maintainer could even be hired and hosted by the Blender Foundation. Blender has a good 3D space, a good tracker (which we use in Natron), and is well maintained. Natron could be more tightly integrated with Blender for 3D stuff, while remaining a separate app for pure 2D compositing.

We had a huge issue with this project, which is that we never were able to attract developers to work on the project, apart for contributors to small things like PyPlugs and Shadertoys. Natron was started by Alexandre and me, and then Ole-André joined for a short period as a paid developer, but the team never grew bigger. I do not know what we did wrong (or did not do) to get to this situation. Today, Alexandre is working on a commercial software (I do not know anything about it) and does not want to work on the open source project anymore, and I have a more-than-full-time daily job and a family and cannot dedicate any more time to Natron.


I am a pro vfx artist and I am with Nuke for a long time.
I just tried Natron, and I must say I was really positively surprised how much it was quite extensively featured and responsive.
It is such a shame that such a nice opensource project can’t find any new (talented) devs from this 7 billion people planet.

Most of it (the basis) is here, it just needs:
-to be polished a bit everywhere (that needs devs and a passionate community to flag any stuff on a forum)
-some tools to be improved like the roto node options and the gmic support
-a Qt5 (and clean fusion theme please) port
-to use the same channel system than nuke
-the 3D space indeed

…but it is sooo close to be good enough for small studios :slight_smile:

If you where doing a crowd founding, just to continue the dev, I would support for sure.

Maybe ask for a featuring on the Blender website ?

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@devernay - if you had a moment would you be able to possibly put together what some simple requirements for a new maintainer might be (technically)? It can be short and something that we can use as part of reaching out.

Should we start a larger, coordinated push to a wider audience? If we can coordinate something we might get a better chance of someone stepping up.


It looks like the Qt5 port is waiting on PySide2 which is currently a Technical Preview. The official release is scheduled for after Qt 5.12

Would it be possible to create particle simulator like this so that you would able to create vector fields and manipulate simulation within Natron however you like ?

Crosspost: Might also be worthwhile to look at the blender development fund. Being able to support developers part-/fulltime is a great incentive to get new developers and keep active ones.

I’m sure Ton Rosendaal (blender chairman) can provide some needed info on this.
The truth is that Natron is a big project, not something you simply dive into on a lazy sunday.

Things like kickstarter are great to reach a specific development target, but a steady monthly income can do much more.

Ps: to make it easier for new devs to come and help, perhaps a list of small features/changes/bugs can be created.
New people can do those changes without having to dive into the entire codebase.
Fun low hanging fruit :slight_smile:

I just joined the forum to voice my support for @magdesign’s idea. :smiley: I think it’s great to take advantage of the frustration that some have of Blackmagicdesign’s plans with Fusion. It might just be the kick needed to get Natron back on track and to at least get funds to continue the much needed development for Natron. I just started with Natron so I was a bit disappointed in hearing that it has stalled but this possible opportunity is exciting. I don’t know anything about programming but if there is ever a well organized crowdfunding project I would most definitely donate.

I saw devernay’s suggestion here:

Just my two cents but I would hate it if Natron’s future is stuck as 2D compositing. I think most people are hoping to see Natron continue development to finally include 3D capabilities. If the future is that Natron is somehow integrated into Blender I would find that very disappointing especially seeing that a big appeal of Natron is how closely it resembles Nuke in interface and workflow. Blender is its own unique beast entirely and should be kept that way. As @keopsys said in this thread Natron is “sooo close to be good enough for small studios.” To be so close yet it end up being limited to just 2D would be such a grand shame.

So in the list of aims at bringing Natron back to life I would hope that chief among them would be to keep Natron as its own app so that it can continue development (e.g. 3D workspace) to become a serious option for those wanting to do compositing for real.

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HI @patdavid, thanks for reaching out!
The requirements for Natron development are:

  • git
  • Qt 4/5
  • C++, design patterns
  • A bit of OpenGL, a bit of Python
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My 2c:

I am looking to get out of my current Nuke workflow, mostly because of the licencing. I would support Natron via Patreon with a small monthly fee, if it helps. It would be great to still have an OS alternative to Nuke for both fun and profit. I don’t know of the details but having it maintained by the Blender foundation doesn’t sound a bad idea!

@devernay a patron is setup would donations help you spend more time on natron?
If so, please setup a patron! Eventhough i have never used natron i would be willing to donate monthly to help support developement instead of natron dying a slow death


Blender compositing is also node based as im sure you know.
I dont really see how (for example) swapping out blenders compositor with natron would change either blender or natrons nature that much.
Ofcourse i dont really see that happening, blenders compositor needs love for sure, but it also doesnt have really active developers atm. (Opensource compositor curse?) Blender does however have funds to support a fulltime developer…