The new emerging NLE for GNU/Linux

This are some of my ideas for the interface of Lumiera. Some of this ideas are just things I saw in the GUI brainstorm and my intent is to bring them together. I will be adding images and more ideas, but I need some feedback because maybe this gui is only good at the work I’m used to. If you find this is no good for you, please write me telling me why so I can think a better way to do it.


  • The GUI must be configurable. A lot of different tasks can be done using a NLE, and we cannot make all of them accesible at the same time. This means allow changing keybindings, windows/tiles positions, and colors. Just like ct wrote, saving them in the project file, etc.

  • If we use a custom api for the gui, we should allow themes(or changing colors from a preferences dialog), and if we use gtk or qt, each user could use the program with his custom theme. (Done)

  • We could provide presets for keybindings/UI copying the behaviour of others programs. For example make it behave like cinelerra 2.0.

  • If we use tiles and multiple windows, we should allow these to be created while using the program, like blender. Each tile should have a little icon to allow changing the module the tile is showing, and clicking on a border would allow to divide/merge.

  • All icon shortcuts, and toolbars can be hidden alowing a workflow using keybindings.

The Gui has to be divided into indepent parts or modules that will communicate each other. Each module can be developed separately, making easy correct bugs, and add new functions. Of course this modules I am talking about, are not the modules described in the architecture overview. This is the gui, which is an abstraction of the real program.

Alcarinque's GUI proposal

Here I made a sample of the architecture of the UI. Please don’t take this too seriously, it is just a draft so you can understand the workflow. I haven’t thought how this will communicate with the proc layer or backend.


  • Main Menu

    • It doesn’t have to be a menu.

    • Contains a a way to manage proyects, render as movie, setup the preferences, customize the UI, manage the others modules, and capture a footage.

  • Node Compositor

    • This is a new feature that I think is very important because it allows a lot of new special effects.

    • Also it will bring a lot user contribution with the sharing of node presets.

      1. Just think of this… I have a footage of a kid playing with some red stick.

      2. I add this as an In node. Then connect its output to a Glow node. Also connect the output of the In node to a RGB Curves node which I use to filter a certain tone of red. The output to the curves is sent to the alpha input of the glow node. The output of glow is sent to an Out node.

      3. I save this node layout as a preset, a file called I go to the Lumiera’s site and share it so everyone can use it, improve it.

    • Lumiera would just provide basic but poweful nodes, which would be useful to construct very complex effects.

    • There are audio and video nodes some of them can interact. See below.

    • Nodes could be gruped and used as another node. A group of nodes is a Node layout. When created, it appears in a tab in the media library. Each node layout has one or more In and Out nodes, that let it communicate with the others objects.

      1. The In node brings an input from a file and converts it into an audio/video stream.

      2. The Out node transforms a stream into an image drawable into the “canvas”. It has options like transform(position, scale, rotation) and opacity. Also it saves a In/Out positions, relative to the internal node layout time. This is to be able to have multiple instances of the same node layout but showing different parts of the stream.

    • Transform trayectory is shown in the interactive interface of the visor. Of course if the strip/node layout is selected.

    • Opacity keys and level is shown above the strip(like cinelerra).

    • If it is an audio out node, the variables are volumes for each channel.

    • Each node has some parameters, these are keyable. When selecting a node, curves for each parameter are shown in the node options module.

    • Nodes should be easily programmed, and adding them should not require recompilation of the whole program. Maybe there will be an exception to this for the In/out nodes, etc.

    • Nodes can also generate, for example a FractalExplorer node, a waveform node (to convert audio to video), oscilators, noise, etc. For example, we could drive a brightness/contrast node with a one dimension noise generator, to obtain an scene with lightnings or broken lamps like “doom”

  • Sound

  • Media Library:

    • It can be tabbed or grupped to make organization easier.

    • When selecting files, the images sequences like image0000.jpg, image0001.jpg, image0002.jpg, etc should show like image[0-3000].jpg.

    • It should display the properties of the media, like resolution, fps, bitrate, etc. Maybe in each clip or in a container.

    • Be able to select for a list or a thumbnail or waveform preview.

    • In each clip there is a preview button.

    • Maybe add an option to “make a new clip from this clip” to change things like fps, size, codec, etc. Just a wrapper for ffmpeg or something.

    • You can drop the clip in the node compositor as In node, or in the timeline as a stripe. Doing the latter, will create a node group with the name of the clip, that will have an “In” node(pointing to the file) connected to an Out so that the file is seen by the timeline.

    • When we import a clip it should create a proxy. We don’t use the original clip anymore until render.

  • Timeline

    • Should provide a palette with tools like knife, in/out points, etc that can be hidden. This could be achieved using a “no header” option like… again… blender. I’m open to new ideas about this

    • Scaling the clips vertically could be a good idea, especcially when working with too many tracks. Using an amplifier tool could do the magic.

    • Should allow tabbing, to have more than a timeline at in a project. We can create a {scene-1, scene-2, scene-3} timelines and then mix them in a fourth timeline called “film” as if they were simple strips…

  • Viewport

    • The viewport should be interactive. Maybe a key toggle to allow panning and zooming. Clicking on it should make the clicked clip to transform. Being able to keys in the current keyframe to things like rotation, translation, and scale. Maybe opacity with the mouse wheel.

    • Clicking on the clip the first time, will add a transform node before its out node. This transform node, has as input a time curve node, which will be keyframmed.

    • Should allow seeing the result of the current timeline, or a custom media library element.

    • Should allow setting In/out points to allow inserting in the timeline.

    • Transform trayectory is shown in the interactive interface of the visor. Of course if the strip/node layout is selected.

  • Palette

    • For custom common tasks, like Maya’s toolbar.

  • Effects and Transitions

    • A section where we can drag and drop nodes and transitions to the node compositor/timeline

    • Transitions can be added in both, timeline and node editor. I’m open to new ideas about this

    • Droping a node on a stripe would add it before its out node, Using the nodes, default connections. This way the program can be used as a normal NLE or a compositor in a seamless way.

  • Options

    • Shows the options for the current node layout the one selected in current timeline. What happens when we have two timelines modules showing different timelines? Each options modules has a bar to select what timeline is using. I don’t understand why someone would want two timelines modules running different timelines, maybe when selecting in one module the others could switch inmmediatly, but maybe it is useful in some case.

    • It would be divided into three parts.

      1. A list of nodes into the node layout

      2. The options of the selected node in the list.

      3. A curve timeline. A list for of the node parameters and curves for it. Just like Blender’s IPO curves.