"Natron was used to produce this movie / course" (and no animals were harmed)


#1

As you may have understood, 2017 may be a turning point for Natron, as we may not be able to sustain the development beyond the end of this year, due to the lack of resources.

These resources may come if studios and companies see Natron being used to produce professional-quality work. I understand from the trafic on this forum and on the facebook group NatronNation that many people use Natron to produce movies, but except for a few exceptions we never get to know it.

If you use Natron for your film (student project, short film, etc…), can you please advertize it (eg in the closing titles), and if your film can be seen online, in theaters or in festivals, can you please inform us at contact@natron.fr?

If you use Natron for teaching compositing to professionals, we would also like to know it, as this was one of our primary targets when we created Natron.


What about the "Future" of Natron?
#3

Hi Frederic,

knowing that Natron development may stop by the end is not what we could call a good news.
But saying that it MAY not continue doesn’t mean it WILL not continue, right ?

I don’t know if you’ll get feedbacks from users sending their works made with Natron, but they will “remain” student works or short films. You need to have “professional” works to show as a demo.

There’s definely a way for Natron to make its way in the VFX business, so we can’t just give up and say “that’s too bad, we were so close”…End of the story…

Could we have a chat, by phone if you want ( je suis français, ça devrait aider ).
There are a few thing we could talk about, regarding how to make Natron stepping into the business in a professionnal way.

There are many things that can be done, and we may/could/should discuss about it, why not with Jean-Christophe (Levet) for example.
Last time we saw each other, I understood he had the opportunity to use Natron on real commercial projects.
On my side, there are things I can do as well.

Anyway, send me a mail if you find the idea interesting.

Fabrice


#4

I sent an email with some examples and updates about what I’m using it for. At my day job, we’re using it as our main compositor, having to use something else only when we need projection mapping for complex removes. Personally, I’m using it as my main compositor for short films, as well as made a training course to help people get up to speed with it.

Maybe what we need is to do like Blender does - Create an “open movie” that can be used to both showcase what the software can do and help guide development?


#5

As an open source project,

  1. IMO the most effective way to get it noticed is to try and make promotional film with as many vfx compositing work in it we can afford as a community.
  2. wether we like it or not we really need a donation system IMO.
    i guess many of us know the story about FXHome HITFILM,the only way they used to get into the game was making and imitating some famous VFX shots to show case its ability. they made star wars like shot, irom man…etc. hey did any body here noticed how far that strategy got them??. that is a really really huge step.
    3.The other thing we can do is to step up and flood the web with some VFX tutorials. i rember when i wanted to learn fusion back in day i was a little bit disappointed becouse of how it was hard to find a tutorial.
  3. why not have a tutorial/training repository at NATRON.FR ? like fusion/nuke does.

look at blender’s open movies, don’t you see some thing? we have almost any vfx department in this community, why not take the big step and make some thing. it might not be a feature film but even a 30 min short can do the trick.
I’M ALL IN ANY SUGGESTION ABOUT THE FUTURE OF NATRON.


#6

Could be a cool idea. Maybe we can get a list going of the types of stuff to showcase. Offhand, things from “Heroes” could be good: Flight, healing, time freeze, energy balls… that kind of thing. Lightsabers are a thing now too with all the new movies.

We could eve try doing “Tears of Steel” in Natron since all that footage is available and CC.


#7

We’re using Natron to do the VFX on all future projects at our (albeit) tiny studio. The current ones are all private (for clients) but the next outings are open for public. In fact, we’re going after that little Internet company called something like Boogle and showing everyday users just how much they are taking the pish with our privacy.

Now I know this sounds a bit dull (what sort of VFX could they need for that) well, not that much but just because you can’t see them, doesn’t mean they are not there. In fact, the BEST VFX are the ones you can’t see!

We’ll happily give Natron a yuuuuuge credit (cough, cough, orange phlegm, cough) because it’s European and we need to start banging our own damn drum!


#8

@ElDirector If we’re going to do an Open Movie (which is a great idea, BTW) we need to get a great screenplay. Now a friend of mine is a professional screenwriter from Zimbabwe and we’re working on some terrific stuff right now. We have several short screenplays ranging from a nice little ghost story to a short thriller with a twist. He’s also written a couple of full-length screenplays.

Unlike Blender’s movies which are technically excellent but lack in every other aspect - Tears of Steel being particularly bad in this regard - our stuff is squarely aimed at the ultra-low-budget end of the market but with production values that mirror those of Independent studios.

Our biggest problem (apart from not having access to even hiring basic gear) is finding actors who can… well, act.

Short term, since we can’t hire professionals, we’re running teaching seminars for young people and using the best hopefuls to produce (hopefully!) reasonable work.

The entire studio runs on FOSS software partly because it’s convenient, but also because it’s practical for small studios. We will use commercial stuff IF we have to but right now I’ve managed to avoid that completely. This all started when our Macs got old and started dying. Here’s what we’re using.

GNU/Linux base: Antergos & Debian
Natron: Color correction, green screen, etc.
Kdenlive: Video Editing and basic composition work.
Audacity: Audio editing, audio effects.
Blender: 3D models, motion tracking
Libre Office: Screenwriting
GIMP and Krita: Static images, textures, matte paintings.
Inkscape: Credit roll

Probably many others, but these are the main ones. Now I won’t pretend that things are much easier with some commercial software (After Effects for example, or even Hitfilm on Windows and Mac).

However, if we can get into a festival with one or more of these we can show other producers that this is not just possible but a really practical way to make films and save money that can be used to pay your cast and crew. Hell, even if it’s just getting the unpaid cast their lunch. It all adds up.


#9

@Smidoid
You have a pretty good list of software. Here’s my list I’m currently running when I want to experiment with a FOSS workflow. Keep in mind I’m usually using Windows for my feature films, so I’m spoiled by Avid and ProTools and wanted to find the best equivalents:

Ubuntu
LibreOffice: Story dev, budgeting, call sheets
Thunderbird: Scheduling, email
KIT Scenarist: Screenwriting
Flowblade: Editing
Natron: VFX Compositing
Blender: CGI
GIMP: Photoshop Replacement
Ardour: Audio Editing

I do agree, a script is the most important. Another way we could go about this is to have the community submit our best work and compile a crazy promo reel for Natron. I got to thinking, the one bad thing about an open movie is that it may not be broad enough in terms of showing what Natron can do. But if we all submit our best, we might have a broad spectrum.


#10

A Showreel is a cracking idea. I’m a bit screwed on copyright at the moment for my best stuff. I’m a hard-ass when it comes to respecting copyright and the only thing I could reasonably use for showreel (a recent client’s work) has a potential for clashing with a music publisher since it’s (in essence) a karakoe setup and probably not licensed for public dissemination. It’s a bit meaningless without the sound … and it’s shame because it shows Natron doing a pretty basic but highly effective spotlight simulation which converts the stage lighting from something like a school panto to something more professional. Still a panto grade though. Even I can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s fundament.

I’ll get some of our stuff together ASAP and we can all start submitting our work. Needs someone at Natron to organize this properly of course. @Omar perhaps? He seems like a pretty down-to-buisiness chap.


#11

Guys, I understand how complex Natron development is, and that you have a huge list of TODO, but let me tell you one thing, and it’s not just my opinion - whatever you working on, drop it and put all of your effort and resources to get atleast 2.5D workflow to natron. Fast engine, frendly GUI, filters, roto, keying - NONE of it matters untill we can’t get a 3D tracked camera into natron, to be able to perform camera projection and set reconstruction. It is very basics of compositing, since like every third shot involves 3D data one way or another.
I’m personally talked to CEOs of two serious studion here and for over a year they just waiting to fully integrate Natron in theirs pipeline - and the ONLY showstopper is a lack of 3D viewport. Same goes for me and my collegues freelancers - we would all gladly say goodbye to AE and Nuke if only Natron had atleast basic 3D features.


#12

If I understand correctly the 3D viewport/workflow is high on the priority list, but that can’t append before some ground work like improving the engine and current stuff dev’s are working on.
I’m sure they are already doing their best to make it append as soon as possible but I guess from the inside it’s not that straightforward.
We just need to keep faith in dev’s decisions :slight_smile: . At least VFX studios can start to implement Natron in their pipeline for simple stuff like cleaning or rotoscoping , it can save some Nuke licences and start to see if it’s worth using it.


#13

By the way, is there any list of what’s gonna change/be improved in the next major version ?


#14

Nothing clearly set in stone … I guess they lack manpower to keep thing better organize and build a real schedule.
I look here to see what’s planned : https://github.com/MrKepzie/Natron/milestones
But it may change from time to time. For now it’s big changes that are planned so it’s hard to predict when it will append.
With more people and smaller task to perform that will make more sense to make a roadmap.
But that’s just how I see things, that would be awesome to have the dev’s explain a bit how things are going.


#15

The engine has been re-written entirely and it’s going to be much faster and robust. With this new engine we will be able to incorporate stuff faster into it. Caching, threading etc… have all been re-worked and we implement state of the art solutions.

On the user end the visible changes should be:

  • New Animation Module that bridges the Curve Editor and DopeSheet. Roto and Tracking can be control from within this Animation Module.
  • Roto is GPU based
  • Parameters links are now bi-directionnal and no longer work with a slave/master behaviour.
  • New yaml based file format for project formats, Pyplugs, presets… It makes files much more readable and easy to copy/paste. Natron is able to convert old PyPlugs and projects to the newer format.
  • The viewer is now a Group which can be customised and exported as a PyPlug to enable custom display pipelines with the OCIO nodes. Internally the Group contains 2 ViewerProcess nodes representing the bottom of the graph for the viewer input A and B).

#16

Thanks a lot for the insight MrKepzie, that list is quite impressive !
Keep up the good work !


#17

@sergusster I can’t believe these people/companies/studios are just waiting for things to happen, when they can make things happen by actually supporting us instead of watching us from a distance.

They should know that we are capable of everything (really, you name it, we can do it - we proved that during the first 3 years of existence of Natron), but what we need is:

  • more time.
  • more manpower

I strongly believe that a professional-quality work that benefits to the industry deserves proper financing, so more manpower times more time equals more money.

And please stop saying (not only you, but almost everybody around) “if you add this and that to Natron, we will support Natron”. These features can only be developed with proper support from the industry. So that should be rephrased as “If the industry supports Natron, we can develop this and that.”


#18

Great work making roto GPU based!


#19

I do agree with you. The thing is, wether we think they should be more involved or not, we need to ignite relationships with studios, in one way or another.
To tell the truth i’ve been asked, by a friend of mine, what I was thinking about Natron.
I’ve said all the good I was thinking about it so he could give it a try.
He’s a regular comp artist in a famous french post house.
They are interested in using Natron for roto and more.
So he asked me if Natron could handle such jobs.
What studios need, is not a comp system that does everything (especially a free one), but the little it does, it has to do it perfectly. In one word : IT HAS TO BE RELIABLE.

Those debates about 3d space must be set, in my opinion, at the lowest priority.

What Natron needs :

  • to be stable.
  • to look professional. For now it smeels and looks open source. UI has to be massively cleaned up.
  • Node Graph too (especially the Node Graph. Let’s face it, it’s really really awful. Sorry).
  • to be fast (GPU)

And I’m not saying in any way that this is an easy job.
And i know that, at some point, studios will have to get involved if they want something, instead of waiting things to be done.
But i think that you have to understand something. Natron didn’t respond to any demand from any studio.
YOU are proposing something new. YOU have to convince them.

Excepted for those points, Natron already has everything one need to do professional VFX.
I could do almost all my regular Nuke jobs with Natron.
Once you’ll get certain things fixed, you’ll have big involvement coming from studios, because they’ll very quickly see their interest in supporting a free open source comping app.

On my side, i’m trying to convert as many Nuke Gizmos as possible. So when a Nuke artist may decide to have a look at Natron, he’ll find himself almost at home.
Unfortunately, I’m not a coding guy, so there’s not much I can do on the tech side.


#20

From what I’ve seen with blender, it’s that big studios are the last to get involved even if they can invest some time and money. It’s more individuals then small studios that started to use it professionally and probably are the first in participating in development funding. It’s also thanks to these people that blender is more and more used in bigger houses.

For individuals (working on small projects) it’s far less risky to try another application and also quite easier. For big companies with a complex pipeline it can take much time and switching to another application can be quite a technical challenge.

I wonder why there isn’t a “donate” button in the natron website ? is it related to contract with INRIA ? At least it can provide a bit of funding for a first start.

Also it would be great to have a showcase , or a gallery in the website filled with projects done in natron, I guess that’s why Fred as started this post in the first place.


#21

We (Solar Workshop) are in. Our next couple of shorts (and my writer is supposed to be here today and he’s not - damn writers and their sleep!) won’t need a LOT of work but Natron is in the pipeline regardless. A lot of what I’m doing in Natron I can do in Kdenlive right now but I like the Natron workflow and nodes. It seems more natural.