|Original author(s)||Alexandre Gauthier, Frédéric Devernay|
|Initial release||October 22, 2014|
2.4.3 / 19 February 2022
2.5.0-alpha.2 / 24 January 2022
|Written in||C++, Python|
|Operating system||Linux, macOS, FreeBSD, Windows|
|Type||Node-based compositing software|
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.
Origin of the name
Natron was started by Alexandre Gauthier in June of 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 6th, 2014), which brought rotoscoping and chroma keying functionalities. Subsequent beta releases brought additional features such as motion blur, color management through OpenColorIO, and video tracking.
Version 1.0 was released on December 22nd, 2014, 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.
Since version 2.0, the software was relicensed under the GNU General Public License version 2 or later to allow better commercialization. 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, 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.
- Low hardware requirements: a 64 bits processor, at least 3GB of RAM (8GB recommended)
- A graphic card that supports OpenGL 2.0 or OpenGL 1.5 with a few commonly available extensions (ARB_texture_non_power_of_two, ARB_shader_objects, ARB_vertex_buffer_object, ARB_pixel_buffer_object).
- 32 bits floating point linear color processing pipeline : all frames are represented as floating-point RGBA samples with premultiplied alpha, permitting the use of alpha compositing operators defined by Thomas Porter and Tom Duff.
- Support for multi-core architectures: all processing is multithreaded using a thread pool pattern.
- Color management is handled by the OpenColorIO library, including support for the ACES color encoding system proposed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
- Support for many image formats, using OpenImageIO, including multi-layer OpenEXR. Additional image layers can be used to store several color layers, or for non-color information such as depth, optical flow, binocular disparity, or masks.
- Support for reading and writing video files through the FFmpeg library, including digital intermediate formats such as DNxHD and Apple ProRes.
- Full support of the OpenFX 1.4 API, enabling use of open source or commercial plug-ins.
- Support for low-resolution rendering for previewing the output of computing-intensive visual effects.
- 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 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).
- "Natron is now distributed under the GPL license (v2 or later)". 2015-08-27.
- "introduced the Mozilla Public License v2". 2013-07-16.
- "Image Album: Lake Natron Gives Up Its Dead | Rick Brandt". livescience.com. Retrieved 2015-05-25.
- "Natron v0.92 beta is out! – Natron". natron.inria.fr. Archived from the original on 2015-05-25. Retrieved 2015-05-25.
- "Natron 1.0 brings free VFX compositing to Linux, Windows, Mac users | Libre Graphics World". libregraphicsworld.org. Retrieved 2015-05-25.
- Krita Foundation. "'Goodbye Photoshop' and 'Hello Krita' at University Paris 8 | Krita". krita.org. Retrieved 2015-05-25.
- "The complete story of Paris-8 university going for Krita, Blender, Natron | Libre Graphics World". libregraphicsworld.org. Retrieved 2015-05-25.
- "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)
- "Frequently Asked Questions about the GNU Licenses - GNU Project - Free Software Foundation". gnu.org. Retrieved 2015-05-25.
- http://home.comcast.net/~tom_forsyth/blog.wiki.html# Archived 2013-10-29 at the Wayback MachinePremultiplied alpha
- Porter, Thomas; Tom Duff (1984). "Compositing Digital Images" (PDF). Computer Graphics. 18 (3): 253–259. doi:10.1145/800031.808606. ISBN 0-89791-138-5. S2CID 18663039.