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Natron (software)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Original author(s)Alexandre Gauthier, Frédéric Devernay
Initial releaseOctober 22, 2014; 9 years ago (2014-10-22)
Stable release
2.5.0[1] Edit this on Wikidata / 26 November 2022
Written inC++, Python
Operating systemLinux, macOS, FreeBSD, Windows
TypeNode-based compositing software
License2015: GPL-2.0-or-later[a]
2013: MPL-2.0[b]

Natron is a free and open-source node-based compositing application. It has been influenced by digital compositing software such as Avid Media Illusion, Apple Shake, Blackmagic Fusion, Autodesk Flame and Nuke, from which its user interface and many of its concepts are derived.

Natron supports plugins following the OpenFX 1.4 API. Most open-source and commercial OpenFX plug-ins are supported.

Origin of the name[edit]

Natron is named after Lake Natron in Tanzania which, according to Natron lead programmer Alexandre Gauthier, provides "natural visual effects" by preserving its dead animals.[4]


Natron was started by Alexandre Gauthier-Foichat in June 2012 as a personal project. The project was the winner of the 2013 Boost Your Code contest by Inria. The prize was a 12-month employment contract to develop Natron as a free and open-source software within the institute.

The first widely available public release was 0.92 (June 6, 2014), which brought rotoscoping and chroma keying functionalities.[5] Subsequent beta releases brought additional features such as motion blur, color management through OpenColorIO, and video tracking.

Version 1.0 was released on December 22, 2014,[6] together with a large sample project by François "CoyHot" Grassard, a professional computer graphics artist and teacher, demonstrating that Natron could execute interactively graphs with more than 100 nodes. In January 2015, the Art and Technology of Image (ATI) department in Paris 8 University announced that they would switch to professional-quality free and open-source software for teaching computer graphics to students and artists, including Blender, Krita and Natron.[7][8]


Before version 2.0, Natron was licensed under the Mozilla Public License version 2.0, which allowed redistributing it with closed-source plug-ins.

Since version 2.0, the software was relicensed under the GNU General Public License version 2 or later to allow better commercialization.[9] All plugins that are distributed with binaries of Natron 2.0 or later have thus to be compatible with the GPLv2. Closed-source plug-ins, including commercial ones, can still be used with Natron, although the GPL according to the FSF does not allow loading and linking closed-source plug-ins,[10] or plug-ins that are not distributed under a GPL compatible license, but they have to be distributed separately.

Data produced by Natron, or any software distributed under the GPL, is not covered by the GPL: the copyright on the output of a program belongs to the user of that program.



Render engine[edit]


  • Image transform (position, rotation, scale, skew).
  • Video tracking functionalities.
  • Keying: Keyer, Chroma Keyer, Difference Keyer, Hue Keyer, PIK Keyer.
  • Paint: Solid, Pencil, Eraser, Clone, Reveal, Blur, Smear, Dodge, Burn.
  • Manual rotoscoping, using Bézier curves.
  • A wide range of additional effects (color transforms, geometric transforms, image generators...) are available.
  • Key frame-based parameter animation, using Bernstein polynomials (the polynomial basis behind Bézier curves) for interpolation.
  • Animation curves editing: Curve Editor.
  • Keyframes editing: Dope Sheet.
  • Support for stereoscopic 3D and multi-view processing.


  • Support for batch-mode rendering through a command-line tool, allowing the final render to be processed on a render farm.
  • A project format written in XML and easily human editable.
  • Node presets can be imported/exported easily via XML.
  • Python script language (Python 2.7).
  • SeExpr Archived 2016-08-18 at the Wayback Machine script language (Walt Disney Animation Studios).
  • WebGL 1.0 script language (Shadertoy) for hardware accelerated 2D/3D visual effects development.
  • Customisable UI.
  • "PyPlug" custom node creation system (equivalent to Nuke Gizmos).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ GPL-2.0-or-later since 2015-08-27, version 2.0.0-RC1.[2]
  2. ^ MPL-2.0 from 2013-07-16 until 2015-08-27, version 0.9.3 to 1.2.1.[3]


  1. ^ "Release 2.5.0". 26 November 2022. Retrieved 12 December 2022.
  2. ^ "Natron is now distributed under the GPL license (v2 or later)". GitHub. 2015-08-27.
  3. ^ "introduced the Mozilla Public License v2". GitHub. 2013-07-16.
  4. ^ "Image Album: Lake Natron Gives Up Its Dead | Rick Brandt". livescience.com. 2 October 2013. Retrieved 2015-05-25.
  5. ^ "Natron v0.92 beta is out! – Natron". natron.inria.fr. Archived from the original on 2015-05-25. Retrieved 2015-05-25.
  6. ^ "Natron 1.0 brings free VFX compositing to Linux, Windows, Mac users | Libre Graphics World". libregraphicsworld.org. Retrieved 2015-05-25.
  7. ^ Krita Foundation (16 January 2015). "'Goodbye Photoshop' and 'Hello Krita' at University Paris 8 | Krita". krita.org. Retrieved 2015-05-25.
  8. ^ "The complete story of Paris-8 university going for Krita, Blender, Natron | Libre Graphics World". libregraphicsworld.org. Retrieved 2015-05-25.
  9. ^ "Why change Natron licence to GPL V2? Can you explain your motivation? Why change from Mozilla to GPL?". forum.natron.fr. 2015-08-28. Archived from the original on 2017-03-06. Retrieved 2017-03-06. on natron.fr MrKepzieLeader: "The main reasoning is that in the future there will be derivative work spun off Natron, and we want to be able to still control where our source code is going and who is selling it." (Aug '15)
  10. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions about the GNU Licenses - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation". gnu.org. Retrieved 2015-05-25.
  11. ^ http://home.comcast.net/~tom_forsyth/blog.wiki.html# Archived 2013-10-29 at the Wayback MachinePremultiplied alpha
  12. ^ Porter, Thomas; Tom Duff (1984). "Compositing digital images" (PDF). Proceedings of the 11th annual conference on Computer graphics and interactive techniques. Vol. 18. pp. 253–259. doi:10.1145/800031.808606. ISBN 0-89791-138-5. S2CID 18663039.

External links[edit]