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Open-source compositing software. Node-graph based. Similar in functionalities to Adobe After Effects and Nuke by The Foundry.
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Natron GPL2 License Contributor Covenant Open Hub Build Status Coverage Status Coverity Scan Build Status Documentation Status Packaging status BountySource Status

Natron is a free open-source (GPLv2 license) video compositing software, similar in functionality to Adobe After Effects, Nuke by The Foundry, or Blackmagic Fusion.

It is portable and cross-platform (GNU/Linux, OS X, Microsoft Windows).

Help wanted

Natron is looking for developers and maintainers. You can help developing and maintaining Natron if you have the following skills:

For more information, see the "Contributing" section below.

If you are willing to help, please contact the development team on the Natron forum.


  • 32-bit floating point linear colour processing pipeline.

  • Colorspace management handled by the OpenColorIO library.

  • Dozens of file formats supported: EXR, DPX,TIFF, JPG, PNG…thanks to OpenImageIO and FFmpeg.

  • Support for many free and open-source OpenFX plugins:

  • Support for commercial OpenFX plugins:

  • OpenFX: Currently almost all features of OpenFX v1.4 are supported

  • Intuitive user interface: Natron aims not to break habits by providing an intuitive and familiar user interface. It is possible to customize and separate the graphical user interface on any number of screens. You can re-use your layouts and share your layout files (.nl).

  • Performance: Never wait for anything to be rendered. In Natron, anything you do produces real-time feedback thanks to its optimised multi-threaded rendering pipeline and its support for proxy rendering (i.e the render pipeline can be computed at lower res to speed-up rendering).

  • Multi-task: Natron can render multiple graphs at the same time. It can also be used as a background process in command-line mode without any display support (e.g. for render farm purpose).

  • Recover easily from bugs: Natron sometimes crashes. Fear not, an auto-save system detects inactivity and saves your work for yourself. Also Natron provides the option to render a graph in a separate process, meaning that any crash in the main application would not crash the ongoing render (and the other way around).

  • Project format written in XML and easily editable by humans.

  • Fast & interactive Viewer - Smooth & accurate zooming/panning even for very large image sizes (tested on 27k x 30k images).

  • Real-time playback: Natron offers a real-time playback with best performances thanks to its RAM/Disk cache technology. Once a frame is rendered, it can be reproduced instantly afterwards, even for large image sizes.

  • Low hardware requirements: All you need is an x86 64 bits or 32 bits processor, at least 3 GB of RAM and a graphic card that supports OpenGL 2.0 or OpenGL 1.5 with some extensions.

  • Animate your visual effects: Natron offers a simple and efficient way to deal with keyframes with a very accurate and intuitive Curve Editor as well as a Dope Sheet to quickly edit your motion graphics.

  • Command line tool for execution of project files. The command line version is executable on a computer without any display. Hence it is possible to use a render farm to render Natron's projects.

  • Rotoscoping, rotopainting and tracking support

  • Multi-view workflow: Natron saves time by keeping all the views in the same stream. You can separate the views at any time with the OneView node.

  • Python 2 scripting integration:

    • Parameters expressions
    • User-defined parameters
    • Nodes groups as Python scripts
    • Script editor to control the application overall
    • User-defined python callbacks to respond to particular checkpoints of the internals of the software (change of a parameter, before rendering a frame, etc…)
    • Integration of Pyside to the GUI so that the interface is extensible with new menus and windows
  • Multi-plane: Natron is able to deal with multi-layered EXR files thanks to OpenImageIO. It is deeply integrated into the workflow and the user can choose to work with any layer (or plane) on any node. New custom layers can also be created.


A machine running one of the supported operating systems (GNU/Linux, OS X, Microsoft Windows), and a 32-bits x86 or 64-bits x86-64 processor.

An OpenGL 2.0 compatible graphics card is needed to run Natron (2.1+) with hardware-accelerated rendering. Other graphics cards work with software-only rendering (see below).

The following graphics cards are supported for hardware-accelerated rendering:

  • Intel GMA 3150 (Linux-only)
  • Intel GMA X3xxx (Linux-only)
  • Intel GMA X4xxx (Windows 7 & Linux)
  • Intel HD (Ironlake) (Windows 7 & Linux)
  • Intel HD 2000/3000 (Sandy Bridge) (Windows 7/Linux/Mac)
  • Intel HD 4000 and greater (All platforms)
  • Nvidia GeForce 6 series and greater
  • Nvidia Quadro FX and greater
  • Nvidia Quadro NVS 285 and greater
  • ATI/AMD Radeon R300 and greater
  • ATI/AMD FireGL T2-64 and greater (FirePro)

On Windows and Linux you can enable software rendering. On Linux, enable the environment variable LIBGL_ALWAYS_SOFTWARE=1 before running Natron. On Windows, enable the legacy hardware package in the installer.


Binary distribution

Standalone binary distributions of Natron are available for GNU/Linux, Windows and macOS from SourceForge (releases and examples only) or from the Natron web site. These distributions contain Natron and three basic sets of OpenFX plugins:

For each architecture / operating system, you can either download a stable release, a release candidate (if available), or one of the latest snapshots. Note that snapshots contain the latest features and bug fixes, but may be unstable.

Building and installing from source

There are instructions for building Natron and the basic plugins from source is this directory on various architectures / operating systems:

This documentation may be slightly outdated, so do not hesitate to submit updated build instructions, especially for the various GNU/Linux distributions.

Automatic build scripts

There are automatic build scripts for GNU/Linux, OS X, and Windows, which are used to build the binary distributions and the snapshots.

These scripts are run on virtual machines running a specific version of each operating system, and setting these up is more complicated than for the basic builds described above.

There is some documentation, which is probably outdated, for GNU/Linux, OS X, and Windows.

Planned features

  • Optical Flow nodes: VectorGenerator, MotionBlur, RollingShutter, Retiming

  • 3D workspace: support for Cameras, 3D Cards, Camera mapping, 3D tracker

  • Natural matting: process of extracting a foreground without necessarily a green/blue-screen as background

  • Deep data: Support for deep data (multiple samples per pixel)

  • See also


Low hanging fruits

You should start contributing to the Natron project by first picking an easy task, and then gradually taking more difficult tasks. Here are a few sample tasks, by order of difficulty (from 0 to 10):

  • 2: pyplugs, shadertoys (there are still developers for these, see )
  • 4: write an OpenFX plugin, starting from an example in openfx-misc or from the official OpenFX examples, for example try to make an OpenFX plugin from a widely-used PyPlug. There are a few OFX plugin developers in the community.
  • 5: build Natron locally (on any system)
  • 7: compile a redistributable Natron binary (Linux is easier, since we build and ship most dependencies using the build scripts)
  • 9: fix a simple Natron bug
  • 10: add new functionality to Natron (see issues)


We coordinate development through the GitHub issue tracker.

The main development branch is called "master". The stable version is on branch RB-2.3.

Additionally each stable release supported has a branch on its own. For example the stable release of the v1.0. and all its bug fixes should go into that branch. At some point, version which are no longer supported will get removed from github's branches and only a release tag will be available to get the source code at that point.

Feel free to report bugs, discuss tasks, or pick up work there. If you want to make changes, please fork, edit, and send us a pull request, preferably on the "RB-2.3" branch.

There's a .git-hooks directory in the root. This contains a pre-commit hook that verifies code styling before accepting changes. You can add this to your local repository's .git/hooks/ directory like:

$ cd Natron
$ mkdir .git/hooks
$ ln -s ../../.git-hooks/pre-commit .git/hooks/pre-commit

Pull requests that don't match the project code style are still likely to be accepted after manually formatting and amending your changeset. The formatting tool (astyle) is completely automated; please try to use it.

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