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Animation with Krita

Thanks to the 2015 kickstarter, Krita 3.0 now has animation. In specific, Krita has frame-by-frame raster animation. There's still a lot of elements missing from it, like tweening, but the basic workflow is there.


In traditional animation workflow, what you do is that you make key frames, which contain the important poses, and then draw frames in between(tweening in highly sophisticated animator's jargon).

For this workflow, there are three important dockers:

  1. The Timeline Docker. This one is important to all animation.
  2. The Animation docker. This docker contains the play buttons as the ability to change the frame-rate, playback speed and useful little options like *auto-key framing*.
  3. The Onion Skin Docker. This docker controls the look of the onion skin, which in turn is useful for seeing the previous frame.

The Timeline docker

The timeline docker is not immediately obvious, because when you start drawing, this doesn't automatically create a key frame out of your drawing. In fact, until you make a key frame on a layer, Krita assumes that there's no animation going on at all on the layer and it'll keep the layer static over the whole animation.

So, to make our first animated layer, we need to make a key frame! Right-click the square on the timeline docker to add a new frame.

To keep a layer visible in the timeline docker regardless of which layer is selected, select the layer in the layerdocker so it shows up in the docker, the rightclick it on the docker-layer list and select show in timeline. This way you can choose which layers are important and which are only minor.

You can drag and drop the frame around to a different empty frame entry.

To add a new frame, either right click an empty frame entry to either add a new frame, or to copy the visible frame into a new frame. You can also do ctrl+click+drag on any frame(except the first) to copy said frame and drag it into a spot.

Now, if you want to drag multiple frames, you can use shift+click to select all frames between the active and the clicked frame, or ctrl+click to select individual frames together. You can then click+drag them into place. Using alt+drag on any given frame will move that frame and all the frames to the right of it. This is useful for when you need to clear up some space in your animation, but don't want to select all the frame to the right of a particular frame. Click+drag from an empty frame will select all frames that are being dragged over.

Krita will only track key frames. This is unlike Flash where you have to manually indicate how long a key frame will hold. Instead, Krita just assumes that the space between key frame 1 and key frame 2 is supposed to be filled with key frame 1.

To delete frames, right click the frame and press delete frame. This will delete all selected frames.

To manually play your animation by using the mouse, a concept called scrubbing, you click-drag on the frame-count header. You can also right click this header to add and remove whole columns from the animation over all visible layers. Similar to the individual frames, you can use shift+click and shift+click+drag to select multiple columns and to manipulate them.

With space+click and space+right mouse button you can pan and zoom the area respectively.

The is a small area between the header and the frames where you can see whether a frame has been cached. This is important for playback.

Animation docker

To have a playback of the animation, you need to use the animation docker.

You can change the playback range here. Like, if you want to do a 10 frame animation, set the end to 10, and then Krita will cycle through the frames 0 to 10. You can also set the speedup of the playback, which is different from the framerate.

You can turn on auto frame mode here, so that you don't have to make a new frame everytime you draw on an empty frame.

Onion Skin Docker

To make animation easier, it helps to see both the next frame as well as the previous frame sort of layered on top of the current. This is called onion-skinning.

The slider and the button with zero offset control the master opacity and visibility of all the onion skins.