Libre Arts - Weekly recap — 19 March 2023

Week highlights: DreamWorks Animation releases source code of MoonRay renderer, new beta and final releases of Siril, HDRView, MFEKglif, QGIS, major changes coming to FreeCAD.

CmykStudent is proposing to start working on real non-destructive in GIMP this summer within the GSoC program. Here is their proposal. All projects ideas for GSoC and generally for internships are here.

Meanwhile, mr.fantastic continues hacking on the on-canvas alignment feature when moving layers.

It crashes when locking to an equidistant position (backtrace already provided to developer), but yes, the on-canvas alignment visualization in @GIMP_Official basically works :) Given the dev pace, I'd expect this to be part of the next 2.99 release. Kudos to mr.fantastic :)

— Libre Arts (@lgworld) March 19, 2023

The patch by Deif Lou adding custom opacity and blend mode to the enclose and fill tool finally landed to the main development branch and will be part of v5.2:

There are more contributions from Agata Cacko, Sharaf Zaman, and Dmitry Kazakov.

I never got to tell you about the first beta of Siril 1.2.0, and here is the second one already! The new version comes with bugfixes, not many new features inside.

Here is what you should expect in the final release of this astrophotography tool when it’s out:

  • A toolbox for stars processing: removal (Starnet integration), recomposition, unclipping, and full recomposition.
  • A new deconvolution tool
  • Denoising finally available
  • Better UI for Generalized Hyperbolic Stretch
  • New documentation
  • …and so much more

I was probably a little too fast to cover the newly added command palette in HDRView last week, because Wojciech Jarosz has just shipped a new release of the program with this change.

All the work on the menu might sound confusing, unless you know that HDRView uses the NanoGUI toolkit that isn’t geared towards conventional UIs. Hence all this time and effort spent on seemingly basic features.

The team had a barely advertised hackfest in Köln (Cologne), Germany. The latest weekly recap by Martin Owens was made there.

Hopefully, there will be some kind of an official report about the event later on.

The new pre-release of MFEKglif typeface editor features contributions made mostly by Matthew Blanchard. This features marks the return of OpenGL support and various UI improvements (Dear ImGui has been dropped, all hail egui).

I’m using the screenshot from release notes here, because all Linux builds they have in GitHub’s CI crash for me.

DreamWorks Animation released the source code (Apache-2.0 license) of MoonRay, the Monte Carlo Path Tracer renderer they used in production of feature films such as How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Trolls World Tour, The Bad Guys, but also in upcoming films such as Puss In Boots: The Last Wish.

Some of the supported features are:

  • Distributed rendering using the Arras cloud-based framework
  • Display filters available as compositing nodes
  • XPU Mode, 100% output matching with non-GPU modes
  • Layerable materials
  • Cryptomatte support
  • Adaptive and uniform sampling

Here is a recent talk by Andrew Pearce and Randy Packerat at Open Source Forum 2023:

QGIS got a major update. You can find the changelog here or watch the video:

There’s new map tools, global map terrain shading, super- and subscript support in the text renderer, improved camera control, new expression functions, and a lot more.

There are some major changes coming to FreeCAD. Most recently, the team started porting the toponaming fix made by Zheng Lei aka “realthunder”. This is going to take a while but will make FreeCAD useful in some many user scenarios. The top-level report to track the progress of this is here.

While at that, I recommend subscribing to FreeCAD’s blog where Chris Hennes posts weekly recaps for the project like this one. Speaking of which, Yorik van Havre started writing weekly reports about his work on Arch, BIM, and NativeIFC in FreeCAD. Here is the latest report.

But there’s more. There’s strong community interest in having a default assembly workbench. That’s not a new idea. Jürgen Riegel started working on something like that around 2013-2014, but things got out of hand, so now there’s A2plus, Assembly 3, and Assembly 4. Not to mention now obsolete Assembly 2, as well as Part-o-magic, Manipulator, and the BodyBuilder macro (the latter three all very much alive and well).

Ondsel Inc. is investigating the best way to approach creating a default workbench, and I’m working with them on a series of articles exploring existing options to get the ball rolling. So far, there’s two posts:

Reviews of A2plus, Assembly 3, and Assembly 4 are coming soon.

There’s a dedicated thread on the main FreeCAD forum and another discussion on GitHub.

New Krita painting timelapse from grafikwork:

An extremely short (just the way I like it) tutorial by Blender Secrets on modeling ruffled skirts with Blender:

And then there’s the opposite of it that works just as well: 3DGreenhorn is taking 55 minutes to patiently explain how to model a snowy house in a glass jar with Blender:

This is a good, but a little too fast-paced Inkscape illustration timelapse by Befish ID, try setting the speed to 0.25:

Portrait by Khrystyna Matviyenko (Krita, GIMP, GMIC)

Speedpainting 30012023 by Sylvia Ritter (Krita)

Stylized Portrait of Hulk Hogan by Saad Farooq (Blender)

Libre Arts is a reader-supported publication. If you appreciate the work I do, donations are once again possible. You can subscribe on Patreon or make a one-time donation with BuyMeACoffee or Wise (see here for more info).

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at