KRITA VS GIMP: THE DEFINITIVE COMPARISON

In Apps and Software review, Review by Toni Justamante Jacobs

Comparison has become the order of the day in our world. In a world filled with almost eight billion people, this comparison is no longer a surprise. We compare nations to nations,  humans to humans, animals to animals, and we also compare the creations and inventions of humans to another of such similar creations and designs. One of such comparison among inventions is the comparison between Krita and Gimp. The two are image editors and pixel art creator. The debate over which is better between Krita and Gimp has been going on for a while now and it does not look like it will end soon. The debate might have left you confused about which one is better between the two image editing software.

We will erase the confusion and replace it with a clear view of which one is better between both software in this piece.

Which software is better, Krita or Gimp? 

If what you want is something to create sketches and paintings from scratch as a digital artist, Krita was specifically made for you. If your major interest is photo manipulation and graphic design, then Gimp is the software you should use.

The table below will help us make a proper comparison of the two by showing you what features a software has or lacks.

FEATURES KRITA GIMP
Free, open-sourced and Cross-platform YesYes
Intuitive Interface Yes No 
Easy to use YesYes 
Tiles view editing Yes No
Brush preview Yes No
Plugins required No Yes
Supports raw Images Yes No
Adjustment layers YesNo

Let’s show you more in detail some of the positives and negatives of both software that have made us arrive at this conclusion.

KRITA 

Krita, it´s web page says is a professional FREE and open source painting program. Is a software made by artists that want to see affordable art tools for everyone.

Before we start, let me recommend you a bunch of articles we have published about Krita, Krita tutorials and Krita brushes:

Now, let´s continue with the Pros and Cons of Krita.

PROS

  • Free, Open Source and Cross-platform software 

Krita is free and non-proprietary software. They are currently accepting donations. Krita started with kick-starters, which helped it stay open. Should you have to make upgrades or get additional features, they are usually free as well. With Krita, you don’t have to worry about making a hefty monthly subscription fee for such software. You can also use the Krita software on a variety of operating systems as it is not limited to a particular operating system. 

  • User-Friendly layout 

The features are in a layout that is not difficult to navigate. All the main features are just one click away. You don’t have to find various menus or too many dropdown options. The interface has all the essential tools starring at you on your screen.

  • Constant Updates 

Krita gets updates in the software now and then. Fixing bugs and adding new features where necessary. This keeps the software refreshed and dynamic. Compared to others, Krita has a very high level of updates

  • Customizable interface. 

The user interface can be tweaked to have it look exactly like you desire. It is not that the default user interface is not good enough, but this customizing feature is aimed at giving you a personalized experience on Krita. All you have to do is fix the dockers and panes with whatever features you want handy and in your preferred order. 

  • Tiled-view editing. 

This mode makes your editing easier. You can see what you want to edit and edit it in real-time. You can move your brush over and do your painting and drawing in the tiled view editing. If you use the brush beyond the texture you are working on, it wraps back and returns you to the original texture of the image. Krita by default has set ‘w’ as the shortcut to activate this feature.

  • Brush preview 

Krita comes with a beautiful display of brushes on default in its layout. You can view the brush you want to use and the texture. It allows you to test the brush as well. The brushes have also been codenamed by Krita. The names are not just for fun. To a reasonable extent, they give you a description of what the brushes can do. 

  •   File format support

Krita supports various types of files. It doesn’t require conversion or importation or any other process that makes it more difficult. You can also use Raw Files without a plugin. For a photographer, this makes your work faster and easier. Krita exports its files in JPG, GIF, and PNG format. Generally, Krita makes your work easy and fast when you need to exchange data. 

  • Versatility

Although Krita has more features inclined towards the creation of arts like drawing and painting, it still does well for image editing and graphics design. This is why it’s familiar and preferred among comic artists, photographers, and graphic designers alike. 

CONS

  •  Documentation is a bit off the mark

Partially resulting from the frequent updates made to the software, some parts of the documentation are still lacking. The upgrades may be the way this problem will eventually be solved. However, since the interface is easy to understand and use, the absence of some documentation is not felt. 

  •   Bugs from updates 

Another bad side of Krita comes from its frequent feature updates. Usually, at the kind of rate that they release upgrades, they don’t get to test them properly. Hence, it leads to many bugs that they have to fix in the next release. However, before then, it would have caused a lot of inconvenience to users.

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GIMP 

Gimp is another excellent photo editing software, and it comes with its good and bad, which will be highlighted below. 

PROS

  •  Free and Open source. 

Just like Krita, Gimp is free software, and it is non-proprietary. You don’t have to pay the monthly fee of Photoshop if you can not afford it or you do not want to. You can use Gimp and all its features free of charge. Maybe this is the main reason it’s usually pitched against Krita; because it’s also free and open-sourced.

  • It’s a Cross-platform software. 

Gimp works on various operating systems, while still giving you the same ‘Gimp experience’. You can get it on Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and some other operating systems. It is not restricted to any operating system. 

  • Rich in features 

Gimp is embedded with a big amount of tools. It is the free image editing software with the most amount of features. If there is any feature that an image editing software should have, you will definitely find it in Gimp. If there are features that it lacks, they are covered by plugins. Gimp has all it takes to make your photo manipulation job go smoothly. 

  • Lightweight

Gimp does not eat up all the space on your PC. Its size is small when compared to other image editing software that you have around.

  • Easy to Use 

Gimp has a user-friendly interface that’s very easy to understand and use. You do not have to be tutored before you can use Gimp for photo manipulation. So don’t worry; if you are a rookie, you can easily install the software and get to work. Unlike Photoshop and some other photo editing programs, Gimp has kept its interface very simple and straightforward. 

  • One screen mode 

By default, the screen is split out for each window. However, depending on your preference, you can switch to the one screen mode. 

  • Not Resource-intense

What this means is that Gimp does not need access to a particular amount of data or a particular system to be run. You can easily copy it from your device through a flash-drive and install it in another device, and still do your job. 

  • Association with other softwares 

Gimp is excellent at workflow involving other software. It syncs properly with software like Scribus, Inkscape, and SwatchBooker. The good thing is that this software is also free, like Gimp.

CONS

  • No adjustment layer

This is probably the most significant inconvenience it causes—more reason why it may sound incredible, but Gimp does not have these features. Adjustment layers permit the combination of photo manipulations without destroying them. This means that after the manipulation, you can see what it looked like before. With adjustment layers (also known as filter layers), your adjustments are saved in layers while still reserving the original pictures. This is the best way around your photo manipulation as a professional. Well, Gimp does not have that feature, so if you want to use your image manipulation, you have to forgo any part you have gone past as a result of the manipulation.

  • Less advanced features 

Gimp lacks those advanced features that a pro would usually want. Don’t get it wrong; Gimp is feature-rich. It’s just not advanced feature-rich. So if you are a pro or want something at a superior level for your photo editing, you have to look beyond Gimp.

  • Counter-intuitive interface 

Gimp’s layout can be a bit weird. It has plenty of its features to the left on the screen. This is not familiar with users who have had the experience of similar image editing software. This is because others like Photoshop usually have it on the right. 

  • Shaky delivery from the features

Some of the features from the software do not deliver ‘top-notch‘ results when applied. For instance, the gradient leaves dark and opaque patches on the image. This is unlike others like Krita, where the gradient delivers an effect that is darkened and transparent. 

  • It doesn’t work with Raw Images. 

To use Raw Images format on Gimp, you need plugins. The absence of this feature slows things down, especially in photography. Owing to the fact that Gimp lists photography as one of the main reasons for Gimp, then this a very significant deficiency. 

Image Source Mozart Courto

Final Thoughts

The two open-source and free Image editing software are great. They both allow you to manipulate images without charging you a penny. Your chances of getting them are high as they are not limited to a particular operating system. They operate on Linux, OS X, Windows, and many other operating systems. There would have been no need for this write up if they had only similarities and no differences. These differences alongside the similarities are what has been brought to your notice from this piece. 

Krita has an intuitive and user-friendly interface that’s easy to navigate. The interface can also be customized to give a personalized experience. Krita is versatile and supports various file formats both for importing and exporting pictures. It’s continuously upgraded to add new and better features. Unfortunately, due to the upgrades’ frequency, there may not be enough time to test the updates and do documentation properly. This causes bugs which the next upgrade has to fix. 

Gimp has more features, but Krita delivers more efficiency with its features. Gimp is lightweight and readily available for use in any device. It can easily be copied from your device to your external drive and installed in another device because it is not resource-intense. It’s easy to use and can switch to single screen mode, but it has no adjustment layers and has a counter-intuitive interface and some other disadvantages. 

We have told you which one is better and have shown you the features that make it better. However, should you still want to make an independent choice, which you have to, you should consider the primary functions of this software. Krita is made primarily to serve the needs of digital artists, and it´s made to sketch and paint ( it supports paintings like illustrations, concept art, matte painting, textures, comics, and animations) from scratch. On the other hand, Gimp is an image editor software. Its primary target users are graphic designers, photographers, and also illustrators.

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.