/ by Andy
Cinepaint is commonly known as powerful open source tool being used in major film productions. It’s basically a rather old fork from GIMP with higher bitdepth (32 bits per channel), and export options to high dynamic range image formats such as HDR and OpenEXR. For loading image sequences Cinepaint uses a simple ‘flipbook’ approach, which is also a major difference from GIMP… but other than that both are (or rather were at some distant point in the past) pretty similar. Now I finally had some time to write about our experience with Cinepaint and it’s place in our project.
We gave Cinepaint some testruns very early on to test its flexibility and speed with manipulating large high dynamic range images. First I loaded several exr images and tried to perform simple tasks like colour, exposure and gamma correction, but also blurring, sharpening and several other filters which are generally used in image processing.
Cinepaint’s capability of editing on a higher dynamic range was instantly evident in a simple curve and level based colour correction. There was no banding, no colour flipping, really nice!
Sadly however, some of the vital correction features appeared to be broken though, gamma crashed instantly for me, and colourwheels just messed up all our images completely and generally the results were not reliable to be used in an image sequence. General batch processing tools to make use of filter/layer handling in image sequences were unfortunately missing.
Next step was the filters. The nice side effect of HD colour on blur effects is, that brighter pixels ’spread out’ more than darker ones. the simple blur filter was pretty useful in that case. The gauss filter however is inacceptable, it takes hours and hours to blur a full HD image just by 5 pixels (on our dual core/cpu systems). The overall response times weren’t that dazzling either.
As a conclusion, I don’t think that we use Cinepaint for anything more than touching up small render errors. Even for matte painting or textures we generally prefer GIMP since we don’t really have to paint high dynamic range textures and anything else can easily be cheated. In big effects productions Cinepaint really just useful for wire/dust removal, and maybe backed by a whole team of inhouse developers ;) With all the professional compositing solutions around I doubt that this will change in the future.
So we’re finally stepping more and more into final render stage! Including lighting, shading, texturing and of course matte painting. Blender’s feature set - next to the existing material node editor (nicknamed ‘noodles’) - will soon include node based compositing and pass rendering for outputting RGB, alpha, zbuffer, spec, shadow and custom passes. Recently HDR and EXR output was added, too. So all the compositing, post processing can be completely taken care of internally in Blender!