Libre Arts - Weekly recap — 5 February 2023

Week highlights: new features in GIMP, Inkscape, Penpot, and Ardour, Mayo review, Paul Davis in the Bezos movie, and more.

Not much coding activity this week, but CmykStudent added importing/exporting support for the PAM file format and ported the IFS Fractal plugin to GAction.

Meanwhile, Jehan wrote and published a 2022 recap for the project. The most important part?

I am currently planning GIMP 3.0.0 release in 2023, or at least our first release candidates.

Our Paint is a new digital painting program built with a custom toolkit. I haven’t investigated it much yet, but it checks a bunch of interest triggers here: brushes programmable with nodes, borderless canvas, GPU-based painting, 16-bit (linear transfer function) canvas, color management. It also supports the OKHSL color model.

There were three major changes in Inkscape’s main source code repository last week:

  • Asynchronous multi-threaded canvas rendering (I hope to get back to this with more details next week).
  • Updated Symbols dockable dialog: single popover with all settings, search-as-you-type, a found/all indicator under the search entry box, new ‘Show names’ option, dialog UI state preserved across sessions.
  • All-new Document Resources dialog to show document statistics, all colors and styles, symbols, images etc.

The Penpot team did a live session on YT this week to show off various new features: improvements re overlays prototyping, nested boards, and, above all, flex layouts (where content reflows when a board is resized).

I’ve been following Mayo development for a couple of years now but only just got to publishing a review of it. This is a 3D CAD files viewer based on OpenCASCADE, capable of opening and exporting STEP, OBJ, PLY and some other file formats. You can “explode” and assembly, measure various features like circle diameters or surface areas. you can also do section on XYZ planes as well as on a custom plane.

Since this review was published, Mayo got support for reading and writing OFF files (Geomview).

The Ardour team adding support for rendering Ardour’s UI with OpenGL on macOS and continued making the audio engine sampling-rate-independent. Ayan Shafqat contributed a patch that implements Ardour’s DSP code with AVX-512 instructions.

Now, one thing I did not expect to happen was to discover (thanks to user MikeLupe) that earlier this year Bezos movie was released, and a younger version of Ardour’s principal developer Paul Davis is played there by Sasha Andreev, a Russia-born actor and American TV personality. Paul was the second developer hired by Bezos to work on Amazon back in the 1990s, in its garage startup days.

I did watch the movie, not particularly impressed, historical accuracy is reportedly mild. But just to watch Paul entering on a motorcycle was fun enough (he actually biked everywhere and did a 298-miler in 14 hours shortly before events in the movie).

Paul’s view of that entire story with Amazon is probably best illustrated with his Twitter bio:

mistakenly helped start a rapacious capitalist nightmare/consumerist dream. apologizing ever since with open source audio software. and food.

On a brighter side, he has just published the second episode of his own Audio Developer Chats podcast. This time, it’s a conversation with Ryan Challinor, developer of Bespoke Synth.

Nice coffee shop modeling tutorial (Blender) by Polygon Runway

Timelapse of oil painting with Krita by Bubo Art. A tad too fast to my liking, but still impressive:

I know I mentioned the Movie workbench for FreeCAD last week, but that’s not the only way to animate things. Here’s an explainer on using the Animation workbench and PyFlow:

Cenotaph by Nick Nathanson (Blender), original design by Etienne-Louis Boullée (of course):

Bunch of Thoughts by Kate Novakovskaya (Krita):

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I played with OurPaint and it was surprised how slow it was. I somehow expected to be at least faster then GIMP from an new GPU-based painting program. But perhaps my GPU is just to slow. And the other thing is this custom made UI reminds me to the old DOS/Amiga time, where every program had its one UI like e.g. Autodesk Animator:

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