Krita/Manual/Basic Concepts

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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.



Brush Engines





Assistants, Grids and Guides


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