Monday, February 9th, 2015 Posted by Jim Thacker

Inria ships Natron 1.2 plus new snapshot builds

Inria’s spaceship demo, produced by Francois ‘Coyhot’ Grassard using Blender and Natron, and posted to mark the stable 1.0 release of the open-source compositing software. Visit Inria’s YouTube channel.

Originally posted on 24 December 2014. Scroll down for details of the new 1.2 update.

Just in time for Christmas, promising open-source compositor Natron has hit a stable milestone 1.0 release. The software is intended to provide a VFX-capable node-based compositing tool with a familiar Nuke-like UI.

Developed at French public computer science research institution Inria, Natron is released under an MPL V2 licence, meaning it can be used for commercial work – and used with commercial plugins.

All the essentials for professional-quality VFX work
In its 1.0 release, Natron provides the essential tools for professional-quality compositing, including tracking, rotoscoping, a curve editor, and a command-line tool for rendering projects on a renderfarm.

It provides a 32-bit floating-point linear pipeline, and supports the industry-standard OpenColorIO colour-management and OpenImageIO file import/export frameworks.

It also supports OpenFX plugins – which include the key commercial tools like GenArts’ Sapphire and The Foundry’s software, and Mikros Image’s free TuttleOFX suite of tools.

The obvious missing functionality (deep compositing, rotopainting) is in the roadmap, with Python support and optical flow tools planned for the 1.1 release.

Easy migration path to Nuke
Natron’s UI and workflow are designed to be Nuke-like, making it easy for anyone trained on the software to switch to Nuke, and system requirements are low: 3GB RAM, an OpenGL 2.0 GPU, and any modern CPU.

Altogether, it’s shaping up to be a very promising tool, particularly for students or freelancers who can’t afford to learn on commercial software – the recent free editions of Nuke or Fusion 7 notwithstanding.

Natron 1.0 is available for Windows 7+, Mac OS X 10.6+ and a range of common Linux distros. It runs on both 32-bit and 64-bit systems.

Updated 9 February: Natron 1.2 is out. The update adds a few new features, including a new CheckerBoard node, but should also improve stability and make the software more intuitive to use with Wacom tablets.

In addition, future snapshot builds of the software should contain some major new features, including a script editor, expressions, groups and support for Python plugins.

Inria has appealed for users to help ‘stress test’ the new Python API in advance of its official release. You can find online documentation to the Python API here.

Read a full list of features in Natron

Download Natron 1.2