I've always been surprised that open source software like Blender and Natron has not really caught on at studios. Nuke licenses cost between $4,000 and $8,000 per seat, plus a maintenance cost of over $1,000 per year per seat. These cost add up very quickly and vfx jobs even at big studios generally end up having a razor thin profit margin of 3-5%  So it's strange that these vfx studios haven't embraced open source software to cut costs.
Artist time costs more money than software licenses do, and as the open source software isn't generally good enough for their needs, using better off-the-shelf software that have fairly decent and flexible plugin APIs is good enough for them.
A lot of the code VFX studios have is proprietary (as in unique to the individual studio who wrote it) plugins for host apps like Maya, Katana and Nuke, and shaders/integrators for renderers like PRMan and Arnold.
There are open source projects that are used for glue in the VFX industry:
But these have almost exclusively been internal proprietary projects started within studios that have been open-sourced, to help transfer assets between studios, and are mostly open file formats for images, volumes and geometry, as well as other intermediate tooling.
Different pipelines work in completely different ways, and what works for one studio doesn't necessarily work well for another.
However, I do agree in principle that given a clean start (Which is never going to happen given the hundreds of thousands of lines of code VFX studios have in plugins for proprietary systems) it would make sense for all VFX studios to share a loose framework application that very flexible and advanced plugins can be written for. Image Engine's Gaffer is probably the best fit currently.
In some respects it looks like Fabric Engine might at some point fit this bill, however it's not open.
Natron wasn't really even a usable piece of software until maybe a few months ago. It's making great progress, but at this point I think it's still reasonable to be nervous about relying on it for commercial work.
I think Blender is somewhat used in big studios, although mostly for its core strength of 3d modelling. Blender's compositor suffers from a lack of any kind of plug in option, so there are many things you can do in Nuke / Natron that are just impossible in Blender's compositor. It's nice to have it there, but it's not really a competitor for Nuke.
Same reasons many things in technology remain prevalent when they're the worst possible tools (allow me to only name PHP to avoid a useless war).
Open source is pervasive at visual effects studios. I'm not sure where you're getting your information.
Also, studios don't pay anywhere close to list price for Nuke licenses. That's for the little guys.
You can do this digitally (as part of color grading), but the ideal solution is to do it IRL with light color. Especially if you're shooting with a consumer grade camera and have to live with the severely limited colorspace headroom.
I'm not knocking the effort it takes to clone its GUI, plugin API (OpenFX ), or basic plugins. But I'll also point out as an alternative that The Foundry offers a free non-commercial version of Nuke .
It is the same as everywhere else - honest users are seriously harmed by licensing policies while thieves are just using the latest torrent release.
Nuke is, no question, an industry leader, but an open source competitor will hopefully make the featureset of this kind of software more widely available also for projects with very low budget [while starting]. Meanwhile TheFoundry management should look at Unreal for licensing ideas.
Qt has a somewhat similar provision in their licenses . Personally I think it's acceptable, but walking a fine line. It's an attempt to make sure users can't skirt paying for a commercial license if they are, indeed, commercial.
I would hope that if you contacted their customer support and politely explain how your project was using the free license in the spirit it was intended to be used, they would allow imports from the free version, say as a once-off when you purchase the licenses.
Natron is a node-based compositor, there have been many over the last few decades.
Another open source node-based compositor is Blender which also has an non-linear editor.
Lots of compositor customers just buy Nuke, Fusion, AE, etc to process sequences through different commercial plugins; having an open source wrapper to run and control the plugins is an excellent alternative.
Either way more Open Source competition in this space is a good thing. For a long time Blender was the only Video Editing software out there with any quality.
If you believe that blender is a "quality video editor" please try at least kdenlive to understand what a decent video editor looks like. The video editing feature set in blender is a nice addon for hardcore Blender users but totally inaccessible for anybody else and missing a lot of must-have features. But it is nice, however, to see that they are working on it, maybe in a few years it will be great.
I'm not a professional video editor of course and everyone looks at this stuff with different slightly desires. Blender had NLE before kdenlive even existed, if I recall correctly. My comment was in reference to that period of time. It's nice to see competitors like kdenlive and natron have appeared.
What must-have features are missing? Last I checked it did basic video editing really well and it's compositing engine is really quite nice. It's not Adobe Premiere but for most use cases I've found it to be the most complete and featureful editor out there that is both multiplatform and Open Source.
I will admit that Blender has an unusual UI that will deter a lot of people.
Like I said before it's good to see some actual competition in this space.
I find it interesting that it seems that for a some people, Blender is their first experience with a node-based editor. They've been around for years. While I haven't used Nuke (or Shake), I was very good with Houdini for CG which is all based around nodes. It does include some basic compositing (or at least it did the last time I used it).
The other big node-based thing is audio synthesis / effects, for example Pure Data. As far as I know these are the only areas where dataflow programming has really taken off.
Matlab's Simulink is also node-based (probably because of LabView). It's also widely used.
Overall Blender, Kdenlive, Natron, and perhaps the new Openshot 2 are the current best FLO options for video with some stuff like Pitivi something to keep a watch on.
Now I'm a bit surprised that they require you to register to download any version... I know it's free, but it still feels unnecesary... I just want the file, why do I have to register?
To set your password, visit the following address:
(weird that an PDF was attached too with the same text, and no link)
They could have at least added the binary to the Github release: https://github.com/MrKepzie/Natron/releases/tag/2.0.5 The software looks interesting, but I cannot try it even out.
Replacing Linux with Windows does not work for me, but it may for you if you are using that OS.
Windows 64bit: https://downloads.natron.fr/Windows/releases/64bit/files/Nat...
Windows 64bit Online Installer: https://downloads.natron.fr/Windows/releases/64bit/files/Nat...
Windows 64bit zip: https://downloads.natron.fr/Windows/releases/64bit/files/Nat...
Linux TGZ: https://downloads.natron.fr/Linux/releases/64bit/files/Natro...
Linux Online Install: https://downloads.natron.fr/Linux/releases/64bit/files/Natro...
Linux Portable: https://downloads.natron.fr/Linux/releases/64bit/files/Natro...
Linux RPM: https://downloads.natron.fr/Linux/releases/64bit/files/Natro...
Linux Debian: https://downloads.natron.fr/Linux/releases/64bit/files/natro...
Note: Future versions - URL is in form
- Remove the http://natron.fr/login?os=Linux&file=
part and you are good to go.
The source is on Github and is GPL.
If they didn't provide the additional option of registering to download a binary, you probably wouldn't complain.
Your email has value, and they'll exchange their hard work (software) for your information (valuable for marketing, and understanding their users)....
I have had to take increasingly drastic measures to keep it running on modern Linuxes though, and on OS X it sadly now seems impossible :(
From my brief explorations in the past, I just haven't found graph based compositing to be intuitive. I'm hoping it makes more sense once you understand a few key concepts.
It uses Hit Film Express, a free version of the commercial product. I was able to learn the basic techniques of VFX and started to use Hit Film to edit my family videos. Win-Win.