Old News

29 November 2015
Proto-text tool, take 2

While getting my feet wet with the myriad coding issues involved in text layout and fonts, I've programmed support for layered color fonts for Laidout. Each layer can be a different color, in a separate file. Someday I hope to support single file opentype based color fonts, but for now, this will have to do. You can learn more about color fonts, and download some layered fonts, here and here.

Another text tool video demo



9 October 2015
Proto-text tool

I'm taking a break from working on the Engraving tool to finish conversion to rendering with cairo, which makes possible not only better rendering of paths and meshes, but also a text tool! Here's a very basic text tool experiment, to get my feet wet with the myriad coding issues involved in text layout and fonts.

Simple text tool video demo



26 July 2014
Development update: Spread Editor and engraving
Spread Editor with a ton of pages
New engraver tool panel
The spread editor has received a bit of polishing lately. I'm working on a 450-ish page book of old cartoons, an excellent way to expose terrible bugs and inefficiencies in the program! To aid that, you can now more easily adjust page markers, to quickly show the status of pages, such as red for trouble spots, or white for done. You can see some of this in a new booklet making tutorial below. It demonstrates from start to finish how to use Laidout to make a booklet from source images on your hard drive.

Also, the engraver fill tool can now handle stacks of point groups, which are collections of lines that can have different settings like direction type (linear, circular, radial), colors, and other settings. This makes it pretty easy to overlay a white stack on a black stack to simulate dashed lines. I've almost completely redone the floating control panel to be more adaptable for future settings. For instance you can now set the thickness threshold below which a point is off, and another threshold below which lines are rendered with true dashed lines. At least supposed to be rendered with dashed lines. Still to do is actually rendering like that!

Booklet demo



13 April 2014
Version 0.094c, another bug fix!
Fixed a couple small bugs in the engraver tool to at least allow it to load properly. I have a lot of plans for this tool in the next full Laidout release, such as more accurate block out, image tracing, something like Inkscape's node sculpting tools, various pressure sensitive enhancements and more.


14 March 2014
Laidout 0.094b, bug fix

Just released a kind of bug fix for version 0.094. In this one:

Laidout Version 0.094 is at last 20 February 2014
Laidout version 0.094 released! Yipyip!

Laidout Version 0.094 is at last available, as source or an amd64 precompiled deb package, for you to experiment with. As always, Laidout is very much a work in progress. I finally stopped myself from starting to implement more new tools, in order to squeeze out this release. Consequently this release is more like a rough draft of many new things. Save often. I try to fix any bugs people tell me about, so when you find some, you can let me know via the mailing list, or email.

This release has taken so long on account of a lot of under the hood refactoring, and investigating its potential. Also there are rough implementations of a variety of new tools. While there is still no native text tool (I really swear I'm working on it), what IS new in this release:

Future History

Next up in the development road map, aside from debugging and polishing the myriad rough spots of all the new stuff above, is reprogramming the screen renderer! I'm almost done implementing a cairo based rendering backend, which will simplify many issues, such as mesh rendering, generally making things look better, and most importantly, text rendering. Once I can render text in a flexible way, perhaps I can finally get a text tool working. I have 800 or so lines of code and counting, but still a long way to go to make a proper text tool. 14 August 2013
Fold paper on the web!! Now!!

Fold paper for books on the web! I'm pleased to release a port of the signature folder of Laidout to Html5 via Processing.js 1.4.1. So, any browser on any platform that can run that reasonably well should be able to run this! You might have a few quirks on tiny mobile devices, but hey, this is my first html5 port.

Click here to start! It may take a second to load, as it's a little over half a meg.

Signature Folder



7 August 2013
Updates, and the Portland Zine Symposium

Laidout's signature based impositions have been undergoing a huge revamp, delaying my hoped for release date of a month ago. Hopefully it will be worth it, by allowing impositions composed of differently folded signatures, and stacks of different numbers of sheets of paper. This is important for books that need to zero in on a specific page count, by varying the number of pages in individual signatures.

Also, the weekend of August 10-11, there is the Portland Zine Symposium, at which Tom will have a table and also give a workshop on paper folding for zines, Sunday August 11, 1 pm. It will focus mainly on non-software methods to fold papers into signatures and not get confused, but hopefully also demonstrate Laidout for the same ends. So come on down to the Zine Symposuim at the Ambridge Event Center, 1333 NE MLK Jr. Blvd, Portland, Oregon, and get your fill of low budget, diy publications!



12 May 2013
LGM, and sharing tools

This year's Libre Graphics Meeting in Madrid at Medialab Prado has come and gone. The LGM always opens up new doors, showing the wide variety of what people are working on, with some great ideas for what kind of tools and working methods are possible. I gave two short talks. One about Laidout, and another about the concept of sharing tool interfaces across different applications. In making tools in Laidout, I find I want to use them in other programs, and some things in other programs I want to use in Laidout, such as Inkscape's in-development on canvas tiling tool. This should be easy to do, but there is much work to be done! Read more about this here.

Development update
I am hoping to have a new release of Laidout by July 14. One year between releases is way too long! One new feature being debugged is scripting, which will allow scripting tools among other things, such as a graphical shell, available right on canvas. Another feature coming soon is alignment anchoring, so that child objects can orient themselves to parent objects



15 July 2012
Laidout 0.093 Released! Yippee!

Laidout Version 0.093 is at last available, as source or an amd64 precompiled deb package, for you to experiment with. As always, Laidout is very much a work in progress. I tend to work on Laidout to suit my immediate needs, so probably there are loads of bugs I fail to activate. I try to fix any bugs people tell me about, so when you find some, you can let me know via the mailing list, or perhaps the bug tracker.

What's not new is that there is still no native text tool. I swear I'm working on it. What IS new in this release:
I have also been working on a polyhedron unwrapper to be used with net impositions, but integration with Laidout is still not working. In the meantime, you could try the standalone unwrapper, found in src/polyptych in downloaded source.

Otherwise, here are some new tutorials, for things new in 0.093:
Alignment Tutorial
Alignment
Mesh Tutorial
Meshes
Path Tutorial
Paths
6 July 2012
Development update

So the new alignment tool is basically working, and the path tool has gotten some much needed attention. Next up before a new Laidout release is a row-column arranging tool, and making the new opengl based polyhedron unwrapper be usable for net impositions. Hopefully this will be "soon"!

In the meantime, here's a video demonstrating the current state of meshes. There are quirks and bugs here and there, but it is improving!




8 April 2012
Alignment tool preview
Behold a preview of a new alignment tool in Laidout! With it, you may distribute sets of objects along paths. I hope someday to port (or help someone else port) this tool or some equivalent to Inkscape, where it would be most useful. I hope to smooth it out to show a less buggy version of this alignment tool at the Libre Graphics Meeting in early May in Vienna, which I'll be going to.

The Libre Graphics Meeting is an annual gathering of users and developers of all kinds of open source graphics software. This allows a kind of cross fertilization across projects resulting from face to face contact that might not otherwise happen just from developing over the internet. They are trying to raise money enough to cover travel costs of developers who otherwise could not afford to come.

Alignment Tool Preview


11 February 2012
Laidout +1
There is now a new fangled Laidout Google+ page, for your amusement!

Also, Tom will be in Brussels soon for the Libre Graphics Research Unit's Co-Position meeting, to brainstorm with fellow interface explorers about possible futures of open source layout tools. Click here to read an interview some of those folks did with Tom back in May on Laidout and related topics.

One last item, I uploaded new 0.092 versions to the download area, which fix a couple of bugs. One helps compiling on i386 systems, which was breaking upon checking for Cups. The other is a greying out problem on the default Ubuntu desktop. Hopefully those are fixed now. Let me know of other bugs you may encounter!


30 December 2011
Laidout 0.092 Released! Woowoo!

Laidout Version 0.092 is at last available, as source or an amd64 precompiled deb package, for you to experiment with.

What's not new is that there is still no native text tool. What IS new in this release:
My focus for the next release at the moment is to advance the spread editor to make it easier to group and move groups of pages. I've been stalling making a large book of my cartoons until Laidout can do this efficiently, and it is several years overdue!!

Also still next on the development agenda is revamping the net based impositions to make them actually usable without manually editing files. Also, rendering in Laidout continues to still be undergoing an overhaul, so mesh warping is still obnoxiously slow in this release, but should improve by next time maybe.

Be advised that I tend to work on Laidout to suit my immediate needs, so I leave it to you to find all the bugs that are not in my immediate path. If you find any, please let me know! There's also a bug tracker.

30 May 2011
Recent Additions
As seen in video, I've been developing a 3-d polyhedron unwrapper, and panorama projector. I'm slowly, bit by agonizing bit, making it directly available within Laidout. It is called Polyptych, and currently lives only in the Laidout svn. Once you grab the Laidout svn, go to src/impositions/polyptych, and you can build the standalone version.

Also, there does not appear to be an easy XInput2 configurator, so as to simply set up the use of more than one mouse at the same time. Such a thing is needed to play with the newest faux multi-touch capabilities of Laidout. To that end, I've created a simple drag and drop configurator. This is currently a part of the Laxkit source code. Grab the Laxkit svn, and go to the laxinput directory, and viola! Laxinput currently implements only the device hierarchy changes, so for more complicated input mapping, you will still probably need xinput, the command line utility that comes with the X window system, and perhaps xrandr. Now if only Laxinput helped map strange input devices like IR spots from wiimotes, or tuio input to something usable for applications!

Laxinput is definitely experimental software. Use at your own risk!! Both Polyptych (standalone and as a Laidout plugin), and Laxinput should be a little more stable by the next release of Laidout, whenever that is!

Libre Graphics Meeting recap
This year's Libre Graphics Meeting in Montreal was again filled with people from all over the world who make the software that I use all the time. I presented a short talk on developments in Laidout during the last year. Also, I showed how I used a combination of Laidout, Inkscape, Gimp, Blender, Polyptych, fabric and 40 iron on transfers to project a panoramic image onto a t-shirt. I'm working on a kind of tutorial of the process. People laughed, I am assuming at my jokes.


13 April 2011
Libre Graphics Meeting
Tom will be going to the Libre Graphics Meeting this year in Montreal. If you can plan to be in Montreal May 10-13, you should come too! This meeting brings together free open source graphics software makers and users, to talk about what's going on and what's to come, to collaborate and strategize. You can see the Laidout presentation from last year here.




13 November 2010
Laidout 0.091 Released! Ra ra oo la la!

Laidout Version 0.091 has been about a month away for the last six months, and is at last available, as source or an amd64 precompiled deb package, for you to experiment with.

What's not new is that there is still no native text tool. What IS new in this release:

Next on the development agenda is revamping the net based impositions to make them actually usable without manually editing files. Also, rendering in Laidout is still undergoing an overhaul, so image mesh warping is still obnoxiously slow in this release, but should improve by next time maybe.

Be advised that I tend to work on Laidout to suit my immediate needs, so there are probably lots of bugs I fail to activate. If you find any, please let me know!

New Video Tutorials
Basics of 0.091 The Basics of Laidout for 0.091
Signature Editor The Signature Editor
Scribus calling Laidout Make booklets in Scribus by calling Laidout like a plugin



31 October 2010
Still coming soon...
Here's a progress update. The signature editor is now in place, with fancy on screen folding. All that's left before a release is debugging the Spread editor, and ironing out a few interface and scripting annoyances.

Doing that should take about 2 weeks plus or minus a few weeks. I swear. I really mean it this time. You can trust me. Is this not a face you can trust? (Happy Halloween!)


18 September 2010
Coming soon...
Just a few notes on coming changes to Laidout. Almost done is a folding signature imposition, where you can fold the signature right on screen, and adjust trim and margin values, and which edge is supposed to be the binding edge in a final book. This allows easy creation of both calendars and books with a single interface, as well as books whose page numbers increase right to left.

Also in the works are the beginnings of multitouch capabilities. This is done with Xinput2, which lets you use multiple mice at the same time, simulating touching a screen twice to do scaling and rotation by dragging 2 points around at the same time. The next Laidout version will only have this in the object tool, but future versions will have that sort of thing more thoroughly available.

If I can stop being so lazy, the next version will come out within about a month. If I keep telling myself that, it will be true someday, right?


9 June 2010
Laidout in Brussels
The annual Libre Graphics Meeting for 2010 was held in Brussels, Belgium, and I was fortunate enough to be able to go and meet many of the makers of the software I use all the time. There were about 170 people from 47 different countries, each day was action packed with interesting talks about lots of different programs and subjects. When navigating the streets of Brussels early in the morning trying to find the conference, you simply have to throw out any preconceived ideas about urban planning, and this really puts you in a great, open frame of mind when you finally get there and listen to the talks!

I presented Laidout and my interactive polyhedron unwrapper on the second day of the conference. People seemed to enjoy it. You can watch my talk, and all the other talks online, thanks to River Valley TV. The LGM was certainly inspiration to get me to spend more time developing Laidout!

You can read mini-reviews of some of the other talks on my website or lots of other people's takes here.


21 February 2010
Laidout 0.09 released!
After a mere 2.5 years, there is a new "Stable" version of Laidout. There have been a lot of under the hood changes, which makes some things better, and probably buggier in some areas, but it all represents progress, if you can believe it! One notable bug is that you should turn off desktop effects if you are running Compiz.

Laidout Version 0.09 is now available, as source, or your choice of x64 or i386 precompiled deb packages, for you to experiment with.

What's not new is that there is still no native text tool. What IS new in this release:
Be advised that I tend to work on Laidout to suit my immediate needs, so there are probably lots of bugs I fail to activate. If you find any, please let me know!


14 February 2010
98% ready for a new release. Just a "small" amount of debugging still to go. Seriously. Honest.

10 January 2010
It is my new year's resolution to uphold last year's resolution, but for this year. I might make it before the Chinese new year on February 14th. I swear I'm 96% ready for the next release. Just have to do a bit of debugging. Really.

6 December 2009
I'm inching closer to having a release of 0.09! Hopefully I can make my deadline of December 31st. New will be rather a lot of infrastructure refactoring, and the ability to import, reimpose, and export from the command line, allowing, for instance, impositioning a Scribus document while inside Scribus with a suitable script. You can also import a Scribus document in the gui, and reposition its objects, even those that are not understood by Laidout! They are maintained by Mystery Data objects, and when exported back out, are still usable in Scribus (that is the idea anyway, except for ignoring master pages, preliminary tests seem to work for the most part). I started a page to house information about Laidout/Scribus interoperability here.

14 January 2009
It is my new year's resolution to release a new version of Laidout before it is time to make more new year's resolutions again!! I swear I'm working on it.

8 August 2008
Developments
Just so you know, Laidout development has been slow for several months, since the development team (meaning Tom Lechner), has been screwing around with a new camera and fisheye lens to make spherical panoramas. However, the current goal is to have another release in mid-September. The major change will be a complete reprogramming of the Net impositions, so that you can import any flat sided polyhedron, and unwrap it either automatically or manually into an imposition, with the potential to project an equirectangular spherical panorama onto said unwrapped polyhedron.

The polyhedron importing code and image projection is almost done, but the interface still needs to be programmed. Stay tuned!

23 September 2007
Zut! C'est impossible!!
Thanks to Nabyl Bennouri, Laidout 0.08 has been translated into French! It is available in the 0.08b download.

15 September 2007
Laidout has now been downloaded over 1000 times! I haven't seen much discussion on the net about Laidout, so probably people download it, can't get it to do anything useful, and move on. But still, over 1000!!

In any case, Laidout Version 0.08 is now available, as source or a i386 precompiled deb package for whatever it's worth.

What's not new is that there is still no native text tool. What IS new in this release:

  • There is a much improved export mechanism. You can now export with various degrees of success to PDF, Postscript, EPS, transparent png images, Passepartout, SVG, and Scribus. You can also select what kind of spread, and which range of spread you want to export, and choose whether to export to a single file, or multiple files. Also, you can export straight from the command line.

    - Postscript, EPS, and png export work the best, with all objects being supported.
    - PDF export can handle anything but EPS objects.
    - Scribus and Passepartout export can only handle images and groups at the moment.
    - SVG cannot export EPS objects or image warp objects. It has a little trouble with radial gradients whose inner circle is not inside the outer circle, and can only very roughly export patch gradients, which get approximated following the strategy outlined by Inkscape's Bulia Byak here, and when I say approximated, I mean approximated. Step 7 of that method is not currently implemented, and the blurring is a little irrational, but only because I'm lazy. Fixing that is tentatively slated for version 0.09.

  • ¡Caramba! Laidout has been translated into Spanish. Through the miracle of gettext, Laidout can now be easily translated into any language that can be encoded as Latin-1. I threw together a Spanish translation based on my minimal Spanish knowlegde and Google translations. I hope to have support for more than just Latin-1 languages by the next release.

  • Multiple, interchangeable scratch spaces are now possible. I've been calling them limbo spaces, so just think "scratch space" when you see "limbo". Up in the left corner of a view window, you can select which document to work on in the viewer (or no document), and also which limbo space to work with. A new limbo space is created whenever you create a new view window. You cannot actually delete these limbo spaces in the program yet, but first things first. In the future, this limbo selection feature will be expanded to allow easy object libraries access.

  • There is now a paper tiling interface, which allows you to tile over any spread with an arbitrary arrangement of papers. This is useful for making large posters from smaller pieces of paper, and for printing otherwise unattached limbo objects. In other words, say you work in a viewer with no document, and thus no established imposition. You can easily print out the objects in that viewer by laying down some papers. See below right for a video tutorial.

  • In addition to the paper tiling video tutorial, I also made one about the basics of the Laidout interface, demonstrating how to scale, rotate, and shear objects with draggable handles, and also with anchor points.


  • New video tutorials:
    Laidout Basics
    The Paper Tiler


    1 June 2007
    Version 0.07 is now available, as source or a i386 precompiled debian package for your convenience.

    New in this release:
  • Lots of bug fixes (and probably lots of new bugs!)

  • The dialog for importing multiple images is a bit easier to use, and specifying what preview images to load makes more sense hopefully. Plus, you can cycle back and forth through the selected files, and fine tune which previews get loaded with which images.

  • Linear and radial gradient interfaces should be much easier to use now. They sure are from my perspective, anyway. You can judge for yourself in this new fangled video tutorial.

  • The same goes for color and image patches. There is now much greater control over subdividing patches. New is the ability to merge subpatches back together again, as well as being able to subdivide at an arbitrary point. It's far from perfect, but the point is that it is much better than it was before.

  • A new feature relevant for gradient editing is an eye-dropper like color grabber. Pressing the 'g' key in a view window will start color grab mode. Click down (but not up) in the view window. You can then move the mouse anywhere on the entire screen, and as long as the button is held down, whatever color is underneath the mouse will become the current color.

  • There's a new command line option "--file-format" which lets you extract a sort of pseudocode mockup of the Laidout file format as known at runtime. If you install any plugins that add object types (ok so what if plugins are not implemented yet?), these will be included in the file format mockup. That is, they will be if the developers remember to update that section of code.



  • You might be interested in a linear and radial gradient video tutorial:

    25 April 2007
    After several months too many, Version 0.06 is now available, as source or a i386 precompiled debian package for your convenience.

    Really not so very much is new, but there are a few notable improvements:

  • The major new improvement is the ability to import EPS, move them around, and print them out. Now you can typeset music with Lilypond or layout a whole lot of text with Scribus or Passepartout, for instance, then export from those programs as EPS, import those EPS files, and use Laidout's impositioning to finalize your books, sheet music, and whatever else strikes your fancy!

  • You can now use template files on startup. This includes the ability to always start Laidout from a default document, thus bypassing the new document dialog.

  • Now you can change an image's associated smaller preview image while Laidout is running, instead of modifying a saved file, and reloading to get the same effect. Also, importing from an image list has been debugged a bit, and there's now a fuller dialog to help importing multiple images with previews, without needing to remember what the mysterious number buttons in the view window mean.



  • 4 November 2006
    After only 2 months this time, Version 0.05 is now available, as source or a i386 precompiled debian package for your convenience.

    Here are the highlights for this release:

  • There is now the ability to work using small preview images, rather than bogging up memory with hundreds of huge tiffs.
  • Now you can import many images from a file list. So you can, for instance, save a directory listing into a text file, then modify it to have lines like:
     /path/to/file  /path/to/smaller/preview  "description of the image"
     
    You can then easily import those hundreds of files with appropriate preview images right away. You can include extra settings such as how many images should be put down per page (a definite number, or as many as will fit), and the default dpi.

  • The general object tool has been enhanced with what I call a three point transform, in which you can define the center of scaling/rotation (control-left click), then click and drag any other point, and the objects are scaled and rotated to match where you drag. Or you can define the center, and also one other constant point (a second control-left click), then clicking and dragging a third arbitrary point will shear the image to match where you drag this third point, with the first two points staying where they are,

  • Finally, the Net imposition has been slightly enhanced to show adjacent sides (if available) to the page shown in the Singles view. Eventually, one will be able to unwrap a net in any way that it can be, but first things first.



  • 4 September 2006
    At long last, Version 0.04 is now available, as source or a i386 precompiled debian package for your convenience.

    New in this release is a Palette window, in which you can select a color, and have the selected object immediately respond to it. Double clicking in the palette window brings up a file browser to let you load in other palettes, including those from the Gimp. Also, the splittable window system has been fixed up a little, allowing you to drop panes to other places, and float them off a window. It's not perfect, but it gets there eventually! There is also a new command prompt window (but only a couple commands!).