All you need to know about Krita

In Apps and Software review, Art by Toni Justamante Jacobs

Graphic artists and animators need the best tools to make creating digital images a breeze. Not only do you need a software that allows for flexibility, but it should give you enough options for manipulations. While there are tons available online, we have come across one of the most popular ones: Krita. While there are several alternatives to Krita, this design tool stands out for lots of reasons. This tool has tons of benefits, and we have compiled a detailed review to tell you all you need to know about this graphic editor. From its flexible interface to its multi-platform usage, there are lots to uncover when you use Krita. So, let’s get started.

What is Krita?

Krita is a painting software that can be used by both professional and amateur artists. The open-source drawing and painting platform offers an alternative to the most expensive software of its kind, with fast performance and extensive features. With its line of tools and powerful capabilities, it has become a favorite program for 3D artists, visual effects creators, concept designers and illustrators. It has found use in the video game industry, as well as in the making of movies. With Krita, you get access to both advanced and conventional painting techniques via creative tools. This works on graphics tablets and desktop. It has various tools to duplicate, layer, smooth, transform, mix colors, blend, and more. It is also capable of manipulating photos and working with HDR images.

Some tools you can find on Krita

• Modern interface

The Krita Art Program comes with standard modern interface design. On the left side is a toolbar which has tools that most graphic artists will be familiar with from Photoshop. On the right side is a panel with tool settings, line brushes and layers. All images created by you will be displayed at the top of the tab, which looks a bit like a browser. Above the tabs, there are two critical indicators with which you can regulate the size and opacity of the brush. Using Krita on a graphics tablet gives you the liberty to adjust the pressure. There are also hotkeys that you can customize. The Krita interface is both modern and easy to master. Amateurs and professionals can quickly get used to the position of various tools on the screen.

• Well-designed brushes

When painting, you can work with colors and textures. By default, Krita comes installed with two layers. While one is white, the other is the new layer for another image. There’s a pretty good setup section where brushes become more flexible than Photoshop. The variety of settings is awe-inspiring, from shape and color to sharpness and smoothness. Also, you can create brushes and stamps on your own, or you can download them as add-ons. Several main Krita software brushes include an ink pen, a block brush and a circular brush. Here, there are tons of brushes that you can use for painting from the Basic Mix to the wet bristle brushes.

• Advanced Krita brush settings

An ink pen looks like a regular ballpoint pen. It is a type of brush that is recommended for painting. Some artists prefer to work with the silhouettes used as a starting point for creating graphic arts. Silhouettes are images of people or any other subject that takes the form of complete shapes of a color, which is generally black. Fill Brush Block and Fill Brush Circle are types of brushes explicitly designed for silhouettes and always have 100% opacity. Others such as wet bristles, bristle texture, soft basic blending brush, and airbrush pressure can be expressly used for painting. These brushes have an inherent magnitude of pressure and, as a result, can change their size depending on the force applied to the graphics tablet. You can get to create a change between the colors or their softening, as well as blend with the wet bristle brush. For a softer texture, use the bristle texture brush. Creating a transition between colors or color blending can be done with the wet bristles brush.

• Krita smart drawing mode

One of the most exciting quirks is the option of additional buttons for symmetry painting. Using these buttons make you work easier and you can find them in the upper right corner of your software interface. After choosing the brush and starting to create your picture on one part, you will notice that all your actions will automatically repeat on the other. To regulate the aspect that lacks symmetry, you can move the panel across the canvas. This option is available both vertically and horizontally. Plus, they can be used simultaneously so that you can paint on all four different scales at the same time. The Krita smart drawing mode saves time and energy as you can replicate actions without having to do it all over again.

• Krita multi brush

The multi brush is another interesting tool that deserves attention. Need to create interesting shapes automatically? Then the multi brush can assist with that without too much emphasis. All the other tools, including the gradient, paint bucket, motion and transform tools will be familiar and simple to use. One thing that makes Krita stand out is its large collection of brushes. You can play around with these brushes in the multi brush setting to creating better shapes with no hassles.

• Easily access the frequently used brushes

In Krita, there is an easy access to a set of Quick Brushes. This can be customized based on your preference or you can let the program handle it automatically based on the most used brushes. There’s also access to a quick color palette, making work more comfortable. There may be several palettes, and it is up to you to choose their number, create, and adjust them. This flexibility saves you time to search for brushes as you can easily pick your favorite brushes and place them in an accessible area.

• Mixing modes

Krita’s versatility allows for mixing modes with different tools. You can stimulate textures using the wax pencils, colored pencils, graphite pencils, rake, airbrush, watercolors, markers and oil brush. This opens artists to the world of infinite drawing tools to create impressive effects.

• Advanced filters and settings

Krita has more than enough filters to help make your work smooth. This includes enhancement, edge detection, colors, blur, art, correction, and many others. Also, there is an additional collection of filters with which you will have access to the preview mode. Filter settings are classic and include tone smoothing, shadows, threshold and color channels.

• RAW file support

In Krita’s RAW editing window, you can find tools like exposure, highlighting and color correction. While this is limited, the RAW file support comes in handy. Therefore, you cannot edit your shots as much as with Lightroom.

Benefits of Krita

Built with over nine brush engines, Krita offers many types of brushes that artists can use depending on what they are most comfortable with. These brushes are designed to perform unique functions to meet specific needs. With this flexible software, you can create your brushes and label them based on your unique labeling system.

The ink pen is similar to a ballpoint pen and is the recommended type of brush for drawing or scribbling. Silhouettes are quite common as a starting point in graphic art as several artists use this. Silhouettes are images of either objects or people that are represented as solid, single-color shapes. Silhouettes are usually black. Meanwhile, blurring the edges is the function of the Basic Mix soft brush. This is because this brush can choose only a small amount of color. Use the airbrush pressure to add contrast to a drawing. All in all, one huge advantage of Krita is the creativity and flexibility that the brushes provide.

Krita also lets you organize your drawing better through layer management. Through this functionality, they can combine and group drawings. As an example, if you want the picture on one layer to serve as the background for another illustration located on another layer, the layer management tools in the software are provided to merge the two drawings. Also, if you want to remove some parts of a picture, you can do so using the layer’s visibility options.

Krita also offers support to users by providing educational and instructional materials that can be accessed via the Internet. By providing them with useful information, such as the use of tools, users can be assured that they will have extensive training to learn the basic and advanced features of the program. The Krita Foundation itself prepares these training materials. Therefore, users can access reliable and up-to-date information.

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Krita Top Features

• Wide range of brush types
• HDR support. Users can manipulate high dynamic range images as they please.
• Layer management
• Color palette
• Mirror tools
• Transformation tools
• Drawing assistants
• OpenGL improved which gives better zooming speed
• PSD Support

Pros and Cons of using Krita

Pros

• A powerful program that has many features and also the gmic filters.
• Shortcut tools for easy accessibility. A useful one is the “Shift + drag” to quickly increase and decrease brush size
• Animation functions which are limited but useful
• Shortcut tools for easy accessibility. A useful one is the “Shift + drag” to quickly increase and decrease brush size
• Presence of different layer styles which are similar to Photoshop layer effects.
• Krita is a free and open-source painting tool and does not offer any business pricing plans to consider.
• It is compatible with Gimp and PNG brush tips, which gives more options for brushes to use. You can also import non-preset tips from older versions of photoshop.
• Highly customizable
• Real masks and filter masks
• Vector tools are quite helpful for several artists. You can also copy and paste into Krita from Inkscape.
• Easy to import resources
• You can use the surround mode to create seamless textures
• Powerful preset editing
• Canvas-only mode where you can hide toolbars and dockers for a larger area. With this mode, you can have a less-cluttered interface, which boosts concentration.
• Wizard tools, especially the Vanishing Point wizard tool which can be a lifesaver.

Cons

• It requires a lot of memory, so there could be delays when using big brushes or canvas.
• Text tools are not as professional as lots of artists would love. However, they are not all bad.
• Krita is not great for Pixelart as the lines could get jagged quickly.
• The smear brush engine is difficult to control, so it may be challenging to use wet brushes and blending at first.
• For the clipping mask to work, you need to make a group layer. Apart from this, it is similar to other graphic editors
• When you change brushes, the true brushes reset. However, if this is a problem for you, you can stop this in two ways. The first method is to keep the size using the “temporarily save tweaks for preset,” which you can find underbrush preset. Alternatively, you can use the “switch to previous preset” hotkey.
• You can manually change the lines of code to fix bugs or add features. This is thanks to its open-source code. No worries, it is 100% legal.
• You can import brushes from older versions of photoshop by creating new presets. To create new presets, change an existing one and save it with another name.
• Using Krita could be overwhelming at first due to its numerous features. However, with constant practice, you will get the hang of it and enjoy its hidden benefits.

Conclusion

All in all, Krita is a powerful painting program with tons of features available for free. You can work with different transformation elements, use layers, masks, HDR support, and so much more. It is an amazing creative tool where you can manipulate graphics with various tools such as mirror effects, transform, blend, mixing colors, and render. Krita is a design software designed by artists and for artists. Krita’s drawing programs demonstrate a variety of details that make it easy to create beautiful paintings.

Toni Justamante Jacobs

About the author: Hi, I’m Toni Justamante Jacobs. I´m a professional Concept Artist and Illustrator with more than 10 years of experience in the industry. Some of my clients are Gameloft, Fantasy Flight Games, Kunlun Games and Games Workshop. Currently, I´m working at Socialpoint as an in-house Senior Concept Artist.