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Tutorial Krita: Introduction [ENG]

In this tutorial in english we introduce Krita, an open source 2D graphics program widely used for painting and creating 2D animations, providing a quick overview of its main functions.
You can download Krita at https://krita.org/en/download/krita-desktop/ where it is available for Windows operating systems (the installer, but also the useful Portable format), macOs and Linux. If you click on "System Requirements" you will see what its system requirements are (for Windows version 8.1 is required, but it could also be used in Windows 7)

After installing and starting Krita, you will be faced with this configuration, called "Default"

As you can see, the messages and names in the menu are in english; most of the tutorials use this language, so it would be better not to change it to immediately have a correspondence between the tutorials on the Internet and the installed software, but if you want to change the interface language of Krita you can select from the menu "Settings > Switch Application Language"

and the popup window will appear

where you can select your preferred language from the drop-down menu next to a "Primary Language"

 

Create a new project:

To create a new project, click on "Start > New File" in the initial screen, or in the menu "File > New", and in the popup window containing all possible initial settings

(1) On the left there is a column in which we can choose certain templates, which will automatically provide structures and dimensions for drawing cartoon frames according to the Japanese model, or boxes for drawing comics, or sheets with typical dimensions for design work, or to work on images obtained from digital cameras, or to create textures.

(2) By choosing "Custom Document", in "Dimensions" we can set the page orientation, choose a predefined format from those available in the drop-down menu, set the dimensions precisely (e.g. in pixels or inches), set the resolution for printing. Furthermore there is the possibility to choose the most suitable color model for the device for which the image will be used (monitor, print, projector, etc.), the number of bits per pixel (which will define the number of colors available for depict the image) the profile for the range of colors and white suitable for our project, both for the colors and represents and for the use we will make of the image.

(3) In "Content" we can define the name of the project, how many layers must be populated and how the background of the canvas on which we will paint must be; There is also a space to provide a brief description of the document.

We confirm the settings by pressing the "Create" button , and the following layout follows

A "canvas", on which we can already draw the brush, with panels called "Dockers" .
To zoom in on the drawing just use the mouse wheel, to move the canvas just hold down the wheel and drag the mouse. In any case, in another tutorial we will talk about the main shortcuts.

 

Configure Krita:

This workspace is "Default" but it can be changed in various ways, for example by clicking on the button at the top right

or in the menu, selecting "Window > Workspace" 

where you can choose between various features, which can favor for example the size of the canvas, the tools needed to create an animation, or a minimalist interface to maximize the workspace.

As you can see, each docker has dots above it to indicate that the panel is draggable

also we can add or remove the dockers checking the interesting ones in "Settings > Dockers" 

In "Settings > Configure Krita" we have the possibility to configure Krita,

In addition to general options (such as setting the shape of the cursor, the representation of windows, the tools options, automatic saving modes, etc.), there is the possibility to assign shortcuts, manage screen display and colors, available memory and cache, settings for the possible use of a tablet graphics, all the news regarding the user who will be the author of the images created, the configuration of the color selector, the management of Krita plugins (very important for expanding its functionality)

 

Tools:

Like any 2D graphics software, Krita has drawing tools, which are usually located on the left and divided into groups

we therefore have tools (1) for editing, (2) for drawing, (3) to transform | move and crop, (4) to create gradients | sample colors | correct | use the paint bucket, (5) to measure and hang , (6) to select, (7) to zoom and move the sheet.

Very important is, on the right, the "Tool Options" docker which allows you to set some important options for each tool chosen at the moment. For example, in correspondence with the brush, it is possible to select the Stabilizer option in "Brush Smoothing", which allows you to add a "stabilizer" to the brush, which attenuates the "shaking" of the hand while drawing the lines.

 

Brushes:

Brushes are certainly one of Krita's most important tools. In the "Brush Presets" docker  there are various types, they can be organized through tags, and can be imported after downloading them from the Internet

but be careful that in Krita, unlike other 2D graphics programs, the eraser, the tool for blending, or the tool for cloning, for burning, for illuminating etc., are included in the brushes, so you must immediately learn the their functionality by experimenting.
Also through the drop-down menu at the top, under the main menu, we can select how the current brush stroke can blend with the underlying painting, also allowing to use the brush to draw and to erase at the same time, as needed.

Nearby are the two sliders that allow you to change the opacity and size of the panel

while if we click, always on the same strip, on the icon that represents the brush we have just selected

a popup window will be shown containing all the options to modify the brush, adding a pattern, modifying the reaction of the pen of the graphics tablet etc. , with the ability to preview the results on a small box on the right and create a new brush with the saved settings.

You can totally clean up a layer on which you painted on by clicking the delete key on your keyboard.

 

The Pop-up Palette:

By right-clicking on the canvas, an overlay palette will appear

which in reality, as you can see, is much more than a color palette since the current foreground and background colors can be monitored (1), (2) a slider allows you to rotate the canvas to draw (depending on the direction of the stroke this facilitates the hand position); there are also (3) the color selector, (4) the last selected colors, (5) a group of brushes that we can select through tags (6) and (7) a set of tools for managing the canvas.

 

Change the color of the brush:

In addition to the Popup Palette, colors can be selected in the "Advanced Color Selector" docker 

(1) by clicking on the circle we select the hue while on the triangle we can modify the brightness (with the left button you select the foreground color while with the right button the background color), (2) on the right we find the list of previously selected colors  while on the left (3), by clicking on the button, we can configure this tool.

Alternatively, we can select the foreground and background colors by clicking on the squares arranged diagonally under the menu

 

The color palette:

When we are carrying out a rather complex project, or when we create images similar to each other, we may need to have a pre-made custom color group available, from which to draw easily, without worrying about having to select the most suitable color shade every time ( for example when we draw characters and we need the different colors for the skin).
The Palette docker  is not visible in the "Default" workspace, so we enable it by checking the Palette  option in Settings > Dockers

and the panel with the color palette will appear

with the default color group (1), with the possibility to change palette and create others by pressing the colored button (2), (3) (4) (6) to add | modify | delete existing colors, (5) configure the current palette by adding subgroups.

 

Filters:

If we want to improve an image just made in Krita, filters are available. They are selectable from the Filter menu and there are various types

There are those to improve brightness, contrast, color balance, to desaturate or invert; artistic filters that act on halftones, to give an effect of oil painting, pixelization, posterization or drops of water; filters to blur, transform colors into transparencies, detect edges, create relief effects and much more.

 

The Layers:

Like any modern 2D graphics program, Krita offers the possibility to insert parts of the drawing on several levels, which are managed in the docker "Layers" on the right

(1) It can be specified how to blend a layer with the underlying ones (8) and its opacity, in addition tools are provided to (2) create, (4) duplicate (5) move, (6) modify, (7) delete the levels.
The drop-down menu below (3) gives us the possibility to create particular levels,

not only to paint (A), but also to group the layers, clone them or create layers that can contain vector elements. Very important is the possibility of inserting filters (B), as we have already seen before, in order to modify the underlying layer, or the possibility of filling the layer with a particular pattern or with an image loaded from a file. At the end we remember the masks (C), which allow you to act only locally, to add particular effects only in well-defined areas.

To rename each level just click twice on the name and rewrite; furthermore if we position ourselves on the name, a popup window will appear that will show us everything that is contained within the level on which the mouse cursor points.

By clicking with the right mouse button on a level, we display all the functions to manage it.

We mention the use of Inherit Alpha which allows you to mark boundaries represented in the underlying layer: if we draw a circle in "Paint Layer 1" and try to draw its "shadow"  in "Paint Layer 2",

(it does not have the shape of a shadow , but that's just to give an example)

if we create a group and insert the two levels, by checking the alpha letter of the upper level we can use the circle as the border of what is drawn above.

With this short tutorial for Krita we have tried to give a small overview of the main drawing functions, explore the interface because in the next tutorials we will go into more detail!

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