An Ode to Cinepaint

People who are knowledgeable about Linux, and up-to-date, will explain, that Cinepaint bit the dust of bit-rot several years ago, and is effectively uninstallable on modern Linux computers. I have to accept that. It has no future. The latest Debian version it’s still installable on in theory, is Debian 8, which is also called ‘Debian Jessie’. But there is a tiny niche of tasks which it can perform, which virtually no other open-source graphics application can, and that consists of, being given a sequence of numbered images that make up a video stream, and to perform frame-by-frame edits on those images. Mind you, Cinepaint will not even stream a video file, into such a set of numbered images – I think the best tool to do that is ‘ffmpeg’ – but, once given such a set of images, Cinepaint will allow them to be added to its ‘Flipbook’ quickly, from which they can be processed manually, yet efficiently. I suppose that this is a task which users don’t often have, and if they do, they’re probably also in a position to purchase software that will carry it out.

But, another big advantage which Cinepaint has over ‘GIMP’ is, that Cinepaint will process High Dynamic-Range images, such as, ones that have half-precision, 16-bit floating-point numbers for each of their colour channels. And wouldn’t the reader have guessed it, I still happen to have a Debian / Jessie laptop that’s fully functional! So, honouring glory that once was, I decided to custom-compile Cinepaint one more time, on that laptop, which I named ‘Klystron’. I was still successful today, with the exception that there is a key functionality of the application which I cannot evoke from it, and which I will mention below. First, here are some screen-shots, of what Cinepaint was once able to do…

 

Cinepaint_1

 

Cinepaint_2

 

Cinepaint_3

 

Cinepaint_4

 

That fourth screen-shot is what one obtains, when one chooses ‘Bracketing to HDR’ is the method to import an image, and if the person then specifies no images, because that person never uses the bracketed shooting mode of his DSLR (me).


 

 

One of the tasks which would be futile is, to try to work with images seriously, that have more than 8 bits per channel, without also working with ‘Colour Profiles’, aka ‘Colour Spaces’. Therefore, Cinepaint has as a required feature, that it work with version 1, not version 2, of the ‘Little Colour Management System’, aka, ‘lcms v1.19′. Here begin the hurdles in getting this to compile. A legitimate concern that the reader could already have is that Debian Jessie had transitioned to ‘lcms v2′. In certain cases, custom-compiling an older version of this, while the correct version is already installed from the package-manager, could pose a risk to the computer. And so, before proceeding, I verified that the library names, and the names of the header files, of the package-installed ‘lcms v2′, have the major version number appended to their file-names. What this means is, that when ‘lcms v1.19′ is installed under ‘/usr/local/lib’ and ‘/usr/local/include’, there is no danger that a future linkage of code, could actually link to the wrong development bundle. There is only the danger that some future custom-compile could actually detect the presence of the wrong development bundle. And this will be true, as long as one is only installing the libraries, and not executables!

 

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