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Natron: Open-source alternative to Adobe After Effects (linuxtechmore.com)
107 points by alexzeitler 4 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 24 comments

I think it should be compared to Nuke instead of After Effects... After Effects works more with timelines and effects... Nuke is node based, which is what Natron has built itself to mimick.

> Nuke is node based, which is what Natron has built itself to mimick.

One doesn't even need any experience to see what UI/UX Natron is providing either ;)

After Effects is the one app that just happens to be hybrid enough with an encompassing ecosystem that people put up with it. Its toolset and layer based workflows lend itself to being effective for motion graphics and design work, but it also has enough of a toolset to handle quite a bit of 2D compositing. Since most people don't want to have to spend money on multiple apps (considering how much they're already spending a lot for the privilege of using Adobe software), it's a really strong "good enough" tool.

For a dedicated compositor? The general landscape looks like:

Episodic and feature VFX: Foundry Nuke

Advertising/Commercials: Autodesk Flame

Can't afford Nuke? Fusion Studio.

For mograph/design artists, there are other tools that can be interesting to replace or complement existing tools like Cavalry.

Blender wants to eat everyone's lunch, and it's getting there I.

Natron is essentially a clone of Nuke, the ~standard compositing software for the VFX industry. It's impressive that it exists and competes with some very expensive alternatives.

Its maths and colour science is good and it seems to operate correctly on images. Unfortunately usability and performance are pretty weak. I've managed to replace Nuke or Resolve with it for the parts of my workflow that are colour conversions from e.g. ACEScg to sRGB, or for encoding videos (it wraps ffmpeg), but I'd hesitate to use it for anything creative and it definitely doesn't approach the animation facilities of After Effects.

Comparing this to AE is absurd. And this is NOT suitable for motion graphics. This person is completely conflating what compositing/post is and motion graphics.

On top of that, there's almost no useful information in the article. I don't understand how this made it to the top of the front page. People must be upvoting based on the title.

Yeah it's a common misconception; I think it's it's because After Effects has far outlived the source of its original UI metaphor, the Oxberry (rostrum) animation camera, which at this point few people still have firsthand experience with. Nuke and most newer node-based compositing software offers a more scalable approach for a broader range of tasks, but it can't adequately address that very specific AE niche of under-the-camera-style animation.

Although it's not open source, Linux-based creatives shouldn't overlook DaVinci Fusion. https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/davinciresolve/fus...

And, depending on what you need to do for many compositing/Animation-things Blender can be very powerful too. You can use it's compositor without rendering 3D and with the greasepencil animation tools you can basically draw onto your images.

I mentioned it, because over the years my number one alternative to AfterEffects became Blender.

Yeah I have a lot of love for DaVinci, and for black magic's decision to maintain a Linux version of the software. Quite funky UX but a solid piece of software overall. It may be the best free closed source video editting program, with the open source alternatives trailing quite far behind in terms of stability and features/usability (not that you shouldn't spin up KDEnlive and give it a chance!).

Kdenlive is quite smooth and fairly stable, although the UI needs some work.

Kdenlive is not a compositor though. To be fair, DaVinci Resolve's Fusion is rather rocky as well.

I actually needed to do some compositing work with it, several days after my original post, to get around some limitations of Davinci. It was a little unintuitive but could be a really powerful tool in a compositing pipeline!

Yeah it is. Obviously that's not it's primary function, but you can absolutely do compositing in it. It works fine.


Something to keep in mind with Fusion in DaVinci Resolve is that it is an embedding/integration of the Fusion Studio toolset into an all-in-one application. There is a difference in available features between DaVinci Resolve and Fusion Studio, a paid product. I want to say DaVinci Resolve Studio closes most of these differences, but I'm not 100% certain. I still have my Fusion Studio dongle that allows me to use both Fusion Studio and DaVinci Resolve Studio.


A dedicated compositor would likely want to lean towards paying for Fusion Studio rather than DaVinci Resolve Studio (both cost $295 USD). The standalone application provides greater flexibility in terms of working on multiple shots at a time (multiple scenes open) and being able to focus on the specific task at hand. If the work originates in Resolve, VFX Connect can be used to launch the clip in Fusion Studio.

It does not support normal mp4 (H.264 and aac) files on Linux.

A Studio license will enable H.264 support, but AAC is still a no-go on Linux.


Only the free version does not, but of course in that case you can export to an intermediate master and then encode to whatever you like.

No, even if you pay you still have to transcode before importing and after exporting.

We already have an open source alternative to Adobe After Effects—it's called Blender.

I had no idea Natron was still maintained. It's a cool idea, but absolutely garbage to use. Just download Resolve/Fusion for free.

I take it, that natron didn't work out for your usecase.

could you elaborate?

It has a fairly reasonable compositing toolkit, so if want you want to throw some assets together, it's a perfectly janky way to do so. If you want to actually rotoscope, chroma key, do any tracking, or any other modern functionality, get Resolve.

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