Difference between revisions of "Krita/Manual/Basic Concepts"

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;Transform tools
;Transform tools
:These are tools that allow you to transform your image. More on that later.
:These are tools that allow you to transform your image. More on that later.
All tools can be found in the toolbox, and information can be found in the tools section of the manual.
===Brush Engines===
===Brush Engines===

Revision as of 17:04, 17 July 2015

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Under Construction
This is a new page, currently under construction!

This manual is a rewrite of the 1.6 manual. It is not complete.

Basic Concepts

Raster and Vector

Even though Krita is primarily a raster based application, but it also has some vector editing capabilities too. If you are new to Digital painting medium, it is necessary that you know the concepts of raster and vector.

In digital imaging, a pixel (Picture Element) is a basic and lowest element of an Image. It is basically a grid of points each displaying specific color. Raster editing is manipulating and editing these pixels. For example when you take a 1 pixel brush which is colored black and painting on the white canvas in Krita you are actually changing the color of the pixel beneath your brush from white to black.When you zoom in and see a brush stroke you can notice many small squares with colors, these are pixels


On the contrary vector graphic work based on mathematical expressions. They are independent of the pixel. For example when you draw a rectangle on a vector layer in Krita you are actually drawing paths passing through points called nodes which are located on a specific co-ordinates on 'x' 'y' axis, when you re-size or move these points the computer calculates and redraws the path and displays the newly formed shape to you. Hence you can re-size the vector shape to any extent without any loss in quality.

In Krita everything which is not on a vector layer is raster based.

Images, Views and Windows

In a painting program, there's three major containers that make up your work-space.



The most important one is the Image.

This is a individual copy of the image you opened or made via the file dialogue, and where you edit your file. Krita can allow you to open the file as a new copy via the file menu, or to save it as a new file, or make an incremental save. An image contains layers, a colour space, a canvas size and meta-data such as creator, data created, and DPI. Krita can open multiple images at once, you can switch between them via the window menu.

Because the image is a working copy of the image on the hard drive, you can do a lot of little saving tricks with it:

Makes a new image. When you press save, you make a new file on the hard drive.
Makes an internal copy of an existing image. When you press save you will write your working copy onto the original existing image.
Open existing image as new
Similar to open, however, save will request you to specify as saving location: you're making a new copy. This is similar to import in other programs.
Create Copy From Current Image
Similar to Open Existing Image as new but with the currently selected image.
Save incremental
Allows you to quickly make a snapshot of the current image by making a new file with a timestamp added to it.

These options are great for people doing production work, who need to switch between files quickly, or have backup files in case they do something extreme. Krita also has a file-backup system in the form of auto-saves and back files and crash-recovery. You can configure these in the general settings.

You view the image via a View.


A view is the window onto your image. Krita allows you to have multiple views, and you can manipulate the view to zoom, rotate and mirror and modify the colour of the way you see an image without editing the image itself. This is very useful for artists, as changing the way they view the image is a common way to diagnose mistakes, like skewing to one side. Mirroring with m makes such skewing easy to identify.

If you have trouble drawing certain curves you will enjoy using rotation for drawing, and of course there is zooming in and out for precision and rough work.

Krita allows for multiple views as well, via window->new view->image name. You can switch between them via the window menu, or ctrl+tab, or keep them in the same area when subwindow mode is active in the settings, via Window->Tile.


Dockers are little subwindows in Krita's interface. They contain useful tools, like the color selector.

All the views and the dockers are held inside Windows


If you've used computer before, you know what windows are: They are big containers for your computer programs.

Krita allows you to have multiple windows via window->new window. You can then drag this to another monitor, for multi-monitor use.

Canvas in Krita

When you create a new document in Krita for the first time you will see a rectangular white area. This is called a canvas. You can see it in the image below, The area marked by a red rectangle is a canvas.

When you save the painting as jpg , png etc or take a print out of the painting the content inside this area is taken into consideration, anything beyond it will be ignored. However Krita stores information beyond this area, you just wont be able to see it. This data is stored in the Layers.

Layers and Compositing

Like a Landscape painter will first paint the sky, and then the furthest away elements before slowly working his way to the foreground elements, computers will do the same with all the things you tell them to draw. So, if you tell them to draw a circle after a square on the same spot, the circle will always be drawn later. This is called the Drawing Order.

The layer stack is a way for you to seperate out elements of a drawing, and manipulate the drawing order, by showing you which layers are drawn when, and allowing you to change the order they are drawn in, and all sorts of other effects. This is called Compositing.

This allows you to have line art above the colours, or trees before the mountains, and edit each without affecting the other.

Krita has many layer-types, each doing a slightly different thing:

Paint Layers
Also known as raster layers, and the most common layer type, you will be painting on these.
Vector Layers
This is a layer type on which you draw vector graphics. Vector graphics are typically more simple than raster graphics, but with the benfit that you can deform them with less blurriness.
Group Layers
These allow you to group layers via drag and drop, so you can move them together for example.
Clone Layers
These are copies of the layer you selected when making them. They get updated automatically when changing the original.
File Layers
These reffer to an outside existing image, and update as soon as the outside image updates. Useful for logos and emblems that change a lot.
Fill Layers
These layers are filled with something that Krita can make up on the fly, like colors or patterns.

You can manipulate the content of the layers with Tools.


Tools are the way you manipulate the image data. The most common one is of course, the freehand brush, which is the default when you open Krita. There's roughly five types of tools in Krita:

Paint tools
These are tools for painting on paint layers. They describe shapes, like rectangles, circles and straight lines, but also free hand paths. These shapes then get used by the Brush engines to make shapes and drawing effects.
Vector Tools
This is the upper row of tools, which are used to edit vectors. Interestingly enough, all paint tools except the free hand brush allow you to draw shapes on the vector layers. These don't get a brush engine effect applied to them, though.
Selection Tools
Selections allow you to edit a very specific area of the layer you are working on without affecting the others. The selection tools allow you modify the current selection. This is not unlike using masking-fluids in traditional painting, but where masking fluids and film is often messy and delicate, selections are far easier to use.
Guide tools
These are tools like grids and assistants.
Transform tools
These are tools that allow you to transform your image. More on that later.

All tools can be found in the toolbox, and information can be found in the tools section of the manual.

Brush Engines





Assistants, Grids and Guides


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