Sketch Sessions - Krita Experimentation (NSFW)

Updated: Aug 27, 2018


Safer for work, version of a drawing color rendered using Krita 4.

After working on the projects for Friday (8/24) I was curious to know how Krita could be used to handle the digital painting duties over existing pencil work. Using an old drawing created using ArtRage 5, I imported it into Krita 4 and went at it. Just as in past Krita experimentation, there were some surprisingly good things and some annoying "no brainer" omissions that were discovered with this project. First, the good.


Krita has a incredible selection of layer effects available. Initially my thoughts after looking at the list was "WTF is this?" I wasn't accustomed to seeing HSI, HSL, HSV, bumpmap and other options listed with the gold standards of Color Burn, Color Dodge, Overlay, Screen, Multiply etc. Usually these functions are listed in a separate menu in other applications. A lot of the layer effects options also have sub-selections for greater depth and control. For those unfamiliar, it can be overwhelming in the early stages. But the laundry list isn't there for fluff or filler. The additional options help to create desired effects with a lot of control, all from the same menu. For example, I was able to digitally paint the drawing using very subtle use of various paints, paint mixes, opacity levels and layer effects settings but didn't destroy the canvas which was generated in ArtRage. Canvas preservation can be hit or miss when exporting to different applications and using different brush engines from the original file format. Krita being able to preserve this and enhance it is excellent. This is another point in Krita's favor.



Safe for work version of the original drawing created using ArtRage 5 on a SurfaceBook (if memory serves).

Actual painting is a bit of a mixed bag though. The basics are covered well, meaning it's very easy for a user to select a brush, select a color and start painting. Mixing colors in Krita is controlled by pressure sensitivity which seems to be linked to opacity. It's weird at first but awesome in some situations once practiced. For example, applying a color to canvas and then selecting another color to blend with the first grants better results when the second color is applied with less pressure on canvas. Otherwise, the second color dominates the first if using high pressure to apply the second color.


The blender tools I've used so far work well, more intuitive than ArtRage 5 in some instances and as good as Clip Studio EX, Sketchbook Pro and Rebelle. Combined with the layer options, intuitive way to mix colors and excellent use of pressure sensitivity, Krita is very capable. But the actual brush engine for painting, the aspects that simulates the look and feel of paint on canvas aren't as good as ArtRage or Rebelle. Painting on canvas didn't feature the details of seeing the impression of the brush fibers in the brush stroke which is prominent in ArtRage and Rebelle. Krita tries to simulate this on the ends of a stroke with various brushes and it works to a degree but still not on the same level as ArtRage and Rebelle.


Krita 4 brush stroke examples.

ArtRage 5 brush stroke examples.

Rebelle 3 brush stroke examples.

I didn't see a difference between dry brush vs wet brush in Krita. Krita doesn't offer the same degree of control in terms of loading or water application and paint isn't affected by canvas type. Paint in Krita doesn't accumulate on canvas giving depth to the work as it can in ArtRage 5 and Rebelle 3. It's possible to create great digital paintings in Krita, but an artist that is trying to create digital paintings that look like real mediums and wants digital paint to react on digital canvas similar to the real thing, they'd be better served to use ArtRage 5 or Rebelle. To be fair, there are a lot of tools and options in Krita so there is a chance that I haven't found the correct tools to better simulate real world painting counterparts. If I come across them, I'll post an update but as of right now, I found nada in Krita that provides the option. Besides, better results are available by default in other applications. No need to search menus or options to see the results of the brush engine front and center and rightfully so.

Full NSFW color version of the Krita experiment. Not safe because climate change, nuclear war and disease aren't the biggest threats to life on Earth. Breasts are.

This brings me to my last two issues. The lack of a pen mode in Krita and the lack of touch screen rotation support. Pen mode is when the application will only mark the canvas when the pen touches the screen. This prevents stray marks when trying to touch pan, zoom or rotate (if Krita dammit supported touch screen rotation) the canvas. Pen mode is standard in the latest versions of Sketchbook Pro and it's been available for years in Clip Studio. The question isn't "why should we support pen mode?" The question is "why are we NOT supporting pen mode in 2018?" Replace pen mode with "touch screen rotation of the canvas" and the same applies. Sad really.



Not safe for work original drawing.

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