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


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.


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


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.


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).


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


@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.”


Great work making roto GPU based!


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.


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.


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.


Yes, small studios are the target.


I just remember having used Natron on this project :

(for the compositing of the shot with the mouse coming out of the screen)

and also this one :

For the compositing of the end credits…

That’s maybe not the bests examples to showcase natron, but at least it’s there, and of course no animals were armed…


I’ve been looking for that too!

It reminds me krita’s kickstarter: we get after we pay. That’s how it should be!


Do it like Krita did - you can have some money from me. I don’t have much, but I’ll chip in since I use Natron and I want others to be able to benefit from it too.


over the recent months i worked on a project, which could be seen as a practical example concerning some of the aspects discussed in this thread. we produced a 30min multimedia show presented as fulldome projection in a planetary. it was centered about the works of a laser artist and his cooperation with an partner coming from the field of photography reflecting artistic media and cooperation. at the end they gathered a quite respectable team of other specialists to produce somthing roughly structured like an [extremely] low budged film production.

when they asked me, to coordinate the video technical challenges of this project, they were more thinking about after effects specialists, etc. but in contrast to big commercial productions, there’s a lot more of room for discussion and unorthodox approaches in this more artistic oriented low budged productions. sure, you first have to present them your crazy uncommon open source tools and their advantages, because most of them are only familiar with wide spread adobe products, but at the end we could agree on using blender as our main tool for the production. natron – which is one of my preferred instruments in daily use – simply didn’t fit very well for the given tasks. i only utilized it for some very specific effects (especially frame blending and afterglow visualization, which isn’t very easy to archive in blender), but the main criteria for this particular project were definitely the 3d capabilities.

3d capabilities are a very vague formulation. in our case it was just a projection of 2D footage in a fulldome projecting sphere – something, very close to the typical production requirements of actual VR content. in fact, this kind of tasks could be done in most typical composting applications as well. solutions like foundrys CARA VR or the domemaster fusion plugins are well known examples, how to cross this gap. but even, if we would have had free access to one of this quite expensive specialized solutions, i wouldn’t have chosen it instead of blender. if you do some creative work in 3d space, you always will be confronted with nasty details, which need all the possibilities of full blown 3d tools. the limited capabilities of 2.5d compositor extensions and projection postprocessing, are quite useful for some highly specialized tasks, but they are always a kind of compromise, if you really want maximized freedom of creativity. that’s why i personally do not miss this kind of features in natron so much. in this respect i prefer complimentary applications.

in this project we used blender even for the video editing and visual mastering. i wouldn’t recommend this approach for other more demanding projects (for cinema etc.). blender and its VSE simply isn’t a very well video processing tool in terms of state of the art quality requirements and ergonomics. in this special case it was acceptable, because using other software wouldn’t have made any difference, given the zeiss projection crap commonly used in planetariums. but for an open source workflow, it’s the most problematic missing gap. i wouldn’t ask just for NLE capabilities, because for real real production management you need something slightly different – a kind of tool, which isn’t only handy for editing and simple round trip exchange, but more an instrument, which has really powerful conforming features, version control and external workflow capabilities to handle a whole project from its rough storyboard drafts till the final high quality rendering. applications like nuke studio / flame/ mistika seem to be the closest solutions, but blender and other common NLEs simply can not handle this kind of job.

in our particular case, only the sound production was finally done by non free tools (first as an ambisonic mix, and later in more compatible 5.1). sure – this would have been possible with free alternatives as well, but this decision was free of any dogmatic pressure. it was was just the preferred choice of the actual audio engineers. for the central production tool as smallest common denominator, it was very important, that it worked on any platform and was simply available to everyone involved, but for more peripheral tasks, this wasn’t required.

as mentioned before, the production budged was extraordinary small. but frankly, this didn’t have much effect on the final result! i was really surprised, how all this people did their job without any complaint about financial profit. sure – it was more an exceptional project and the reality should not always look like this, but in fact most of us working in more art related fields got used to this kind of casual non-profit jobs. we all have to earn our income from much more boring and alienated other jobs, but some kind of idealism and solidarity survived.

i’m living this crazy live as an media artist and technician between the frontiers for a long time now and open source tools are IMHO an inevitable base for innovative experiments in this field. it’s not only their free availability, which makes them so attractive, but the freedom to modify them and build totally new event specific tools piggyback on them with achievable efforts!

it’s a very different kind of work, compared to the strict work sharing in the big film industries and traditional software development for end users. our projects were usually funded by cooperations with national broadcast stations, public art subsidization, galleries, museums and academic institutions – niches, which work quite different than the usual business in a strict profit oriented world.

i don’t think, my experiences in this specific sphere should be seen as representative or adaptable to the economic needs of the natron project and its core developers. more traditional points of view are perhaps more prolific to find realistic strategies to survive, but yet i wouldn’t totally ignore this uncommon approaches. public subsidization, as for example apertus got it for their open source camera development from the EU Horizon 2020 program, should be seen as a very realistic possibility for natron as well! IMHO there is hardly any other free software project around, that would deserve public support in similar justified way for their achievements.

i think, natron should be aware of this very special role. playing just the usual big industries game, can IMHO do a lot of harm to its exceptional position.


Hi everyone,
I just want to know what is the future of Natron at this beginning of year 2018.
It was said that the support of Natron from INRIA funds will end in 2017.
So what would we expect from the development of Natron? I hope it will not be the end of the projetct.

Thanks for this great software!


We haven’t used Natron for anything (yet), but I am actively trying to get Natron integrated into our Shotgun pipeline, which would be the first requirement for us to be able to use it in production. Being able to publish is incredibly important part of our production. Currently I am converting the Nuke integration as a starting point. There are some features that Nuke has that Natron lacks (contextual menu creation on the fly), and some metadata needs that I haven’t been able to discover (has a modified project been saved - see my earlier post). Once I have gotten to a point that it works, I will be release the code.


I don’t know if this is relevant but I think making a Showcase with professional editing, including only the best work (I don’t know who could be the judge for that) is at least a first “must do” in order to really spread Natron as fast and efficient as we can.

Everytime someone asks me about Natron, or a subscriber ask me what Natron is capable of, I need to try and explain but it isn’t enough to emphasize how great it is and the potential it has.
If there was a professional showcase in the website I would just promote it and send the link as the answer.

That was a simple example, but think about small to medium scale studios. This guys need to see the potential it has, they need to get impressed/amazed watching this showcase.

I don’t know if there’s a strategy in order to continue Natron’s development. If it will have a Kickstarter campaign, an Open Movie project or maybe following HitFilm’s strategy (which paid off over time, they really grew a lot since they started). But whatever happens, the link to the “Campaign/ Donation Button/ Open Movie/ Support us” should appear at the end of the showcase, appealing directly to anyone who watches this video.

In case anyone decides to engage on any of this kind of projects in order to promote and appeal for Natron support, you all can count on me. If it’s within my artistic skills I’m up to it.

Also I can make my work available to enter the showcase (in case it happens). I don’t have much but you can check some Natron stuff on my channel.

This is the latest one, I show all the compositing stage on a time-lapse using only Natron.

Topic Link:

Animation and it’s entire workflow:

Anyways. Just trying to help. Please let me know what you think.


Hi ruzzi!

Please have a look at this topic I just posted on this particular argument, maybe there we can organize ourselves in such a way we are able to accomplish what you wrote (a.k.a better showcase of the capabilities of this wonderful project!)


Thank you for the reply! Ok then, let’s move this argument to the topic you created.
Let’s hope people get interested and start having ideas too.
I’ll keep the conversation there instead.