Kri­ta­cal Anal­y­sis Up­dates to the free open­source soft­ware have thrust it into the big league

ImagineFX - - Reviews -

First re­leased almost 10 years ago, Krita has al­ways had lofty am­bi­tions. The soft­ware is billed as an al­ter­na­tive to Corel’s Painter or Paint Tool SAI, but with one ma­jor twist: it’s free and open-source, in much the same way as GIMP. A re­cent push to speed up de­vel­op­ment of Krita, be­gin­ning with a suc­cess­ful Kick­s­tarter cam­paign, has ma­noeu­vred the soft­ware back into the spot­light.

Fire it up and it’s clear that Krita isn’t half-baked or a am­a­teur’s home project: in­deed, it looks and feels very pro­fes­sional. The soft­ware comes packed with tem­plates for US or Manga-style comic books, popular de­sign ra­tios and DSLR cam­era res­o­lu­tions. There’s support for CMYK and RGB colour mod­els (among oth­ers) and a va­ri­ety of pre­de­fined pixel-per-inch set­tings.

The highly pro­fes­sional ap­proach con­tin­ues when you’re pre­sented with the blank can­vas. It adopts Pho­to­shop’s char­coal colour scheme, and the lay­out is in­tu­itive and fa­mil­iar to any­one who’s used Pho­to­shop or Painter: tools to the left, tex­tures and

There are lots of fea­tures we’d ex­pect in paid-for soft­ware, but in Krita they’re free

gra­di­ents at the top, Painter-style colour se­lec­tion tri­an­gle to the right.

Like Painter, Krita is all about the brushes. While they aren’t quite as showy as Painter’s, they’re still re­mark­able dig­i­tal ver­sions of the real thing. It ships with over 100 brush pre­sets, but there are many user vari­ables and a com­mu­nity sur­rounds the soft­ware, en­abling users to cre­ate and share brushes.

There are lots of fea­tures, such as HDR paint­ing and cage ma­nip­u­la­tion, that we’d ex­pect to see in paid-for soft­ware, but in Krita they’re com­pletely free. If you feel like chip­ping in you can do­nate, or you can buy Krita as an app via the Steam dig­i­tal dis­tri­bu­tion ser­vice. This op­tion will cost you £30, but you gain ac­cess to the app with free up­dates for life. Of course, you can sim­ply down­load it for free, but it does feel good to give a lit­tle for a lot of soft­ware.

The only down­side is a lack of Mac support, but this is be­ing worked on right now. Oth­er­wise Krita is a fine ex­am­ple of what’s pos­si­ble when en­thu­si­asts work to­gether on some­thing they love, and all the bet­ter for be­ing free and in­de­pen­dent.

As well as a large num­ber of brushes, Krita comes with lots of

use­ful pa­per tex­tures.

Bet­ter than the real thing: Krita’s brushes are as good as Painter’s, if less flashy.

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