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Krita 2.8 running on Trisquel GNU/Linux 6.0
Developer(s) KDE
Initial release 21 June 2005 (2005-06-21)
Stable release 2.8.7 (3 December 2014 (2014-12-03)[1])
Preview release 2.8 Beta 2 (12 January 2014 (2014-01-12)[2])
Development status Active
Written in C++, Qt
Operating system Cross-platform [3]
Platform KDE Platform
Type Raster graphics editor
License GNU General Public License v2 and above
Website .orgkrita

Krita is a raster graphics editor based on the KDE Platform. It is also a part of Calligra Suite. Krita is designed to be a digital painting application. It has been influenced to some extent by software like Corel Painter and SAI. Krita packs with some key features different than most of its kind, including the ability to work with both bitmap and vector illustration. The developers also try to simplify user interaction and focus features more relevant to painting and drawing.

Krita is a free software distributed under GNU General Public License version 2 and above. It was initially released as a part of KOffice version 1.4.0, on June 21, 2005.

Speed Painting by David Revoy using Krita 2.4


  • Vision 1
  • Origin of name 2
  • Mascot 3
  • Features 4
    • Interface and workspace 4.1
      • Dockers 4.1.1
      • Brush interaction 4.1.2
      • Right-click Palette 4.1.3
      • Canvas 4.1.4
    • Tools 4.2
      • Raster tools 4.2.1
      • Vector tools 4.2.2
      • Brush system 4.2.3
      • Filters 4.2.4
      • Layers 4.2.5
      • Generators 4.2.6
    • Color management, Color models and Channel depths 4.3
    • File Formats Supported 4.4
  • History 5
    • Version 1.4 5.1
    • Version 1.5 5.2
    • Version 1.6 5.3
    • Version 2.0 5.4
    • Version 2.1 5.5
    • Version 2.2 5.6
    • Version 2.3 5.7
    • Version 2.4 5.8
    • Version 2.5 5.9
    • Version 2.6 5.10
    • Version 2.7 5.11
    • Version 2.8 5.12
    • Krita Sketch 5.13
    • Krita Foundation and Krita Studio 5.14
  • See also 6
  • External links 7
  • References 8


Krita's vision is defined on the official website as:

Origin of name

This is boxart of Krita on Steam as Feb 2014. The background shows Krita 2.8's default interface, with its signature right-click palette on the bottom left. The character is Kiki the Cyber Squirrel, Krita's mascot.
A README file accompanying Krita's source code states:


Krita's mascot is Kiki the Cyber Squirrel, an anthropomorphic squirrel character designed by Tyson Tan. The early version of Kiki was submitted to KDE forum in 2012 and was first used in Krita 2.6's introduction booklet.[4] A revised version was used as Krita 2.8's splash screen,[5][6] as well as the merchandise shop items[7] and Krita's Steam box art, cover art and project avatar.[8][9]


Krita has the following notable features:[10]

  • An adaptive multi-modal interface which works on the desktop & touchscreens
  • A large set of default brushes
  • Customizable brush presets
  • Multiple brush engines, supports pressure sensitivity, tilt and other features of graphics tablets
  • Wrap around mode canvas for creating and visualizing seamlessly tiled textures
  • OpenGL powered canvas with high-bit-depth monitor support
  • Filters with real-time preview
  • A layer engine that allows deeply nested and grouped layers
  • Vector, clone, external-file and dynamic filter-effect layers
  • Supports a wide range of file formats and color models

Interface and workspace

Krita's docker system at work. The "Channel" docker has been detached from the right panel and becomes floating. The "Add Shape" docker is being docked into the highlighted area.

Krita has a highly customizable interface designed for desktop and touchscreens. Users may change Krita's window color theme, customize icons shown in toolbars and relocate tool dockers. Keyboard shortcuts can be edited as well. Krita allows user to save a given set of dockers as a workspace and switch between them.


Krita has the following dockers available: preset selector, layer management, channel management, various color selectors, tool options, shape selector, composition docker, undo history, pattern selector, task sets, scripts and various dockers for working with vector objects. Krita's dockers can be freely relocated around its window, users can:

  • Choose which dockers they want to be displayed
  • Collapse a docker by clicking on the top-left icon
  • Place any dockers into Krita's top, left or right panel
  • Make a floating docker by drag-and-drop it onto the canvas
  • Group multiple dockers to share the same vertical space
  • Switched between grouped dockers by tabs
  • Lock docker position (Krita 2.9 alpha)

Brush interaction

Krita's brush interaction has been designed to simplify the painting process. Users can access many frequently used functions simply by holding down modifiers and apply stylus command.
Operation Command
Change brush size Shift (hold) + drag
Temporary color picker Ctrl (hold)
Move canvas Middle mouse button (hold) + hover pointer movement
Zoom canvas Ctrl (hold) + hover pointer movement (up or down)
Rotate canvas Shift (hold) + hover pointer movement (around)

Right-click Palette

Krita's right-click palette, showing 10 favorite tool presets, the color ring and recent used colors.

When right-click on the canvas, Krita displays a round palette with frequently used operations, including:

  • Favorite tool presets (up to 10, editable)
  • Color Ring
  • Recent used colors


Krita's wrap-around canvas mode in action. (Click to enlarge)

Krita can rotate and mirror its canvas realtime with OpenGL acceleration that supports high-bit depth monitors. It has a large set of options available to create a no-distractions canvas-only painting mode. Krita also has a wrap-around canvas mode (also known as image offset tool) to create seamless textures.


Krita has many raster graphics and vector tools. Each tool has its own tool options.

Raster tools

Krita has the following raster tools: freehand, line, rectangle, ellipse, polygon, polyline, star, path, dynamic movement, multihand, crop, move, transform and warp, measure, fill, gradient, color picker, assistants, perspective grid, grid, select rectangle, select ellipse, freehand selection, select polygon, select outline, fill select, select similar colors, path select, zoom and pan.

Vector tools

Krita has the following vector tools: path, selection, text, artistic text, calligraphy, fill and gradient.

Brush system

Krita's brush engine in its edit mode.
Part of Krita 2.8's default brush presets.

Krita is designed towards digital painting. It has a highly customizable brush system and is shipped with more than 100 brush presets. Krita's brush system provides various blending modes and has independent engines for the following tool models: pixel, smudge, duplicate, filter, hairy, hatching, texture, chalk, color smudge, curve, deform, dyna, experiment (Alchemy), grid, particle, sketch and spray brushes. Brush settings can be saved as presets and shared. As of Krita 2.9 alpha, it also supports multibrush painting.


Krita supports filters. The result of a filter can be previewed on the image itself in realtime.

Krita has the following filters by default: levels, color adjustment curves, brightness/contrast curve, desaturate, invert, auto contrast, HSV adjustment, pixelize, raindrops, oil paint, gaussian blur, motion blur, blur, lens blur, color to alpha, color transfer, minimize channel, maximize channel, top/left/bottom/right edge detection, sobel, sharpen, mean removal, unsharp mask, gaussian noise removal, wavelet noise reducer, emboss horizontal only/in all directions/(laplacian)/vertical only/with variable depth/horizontal and vertical, small tiles, round corners, phong bumpmap.


Krita has multiple layer modes including: raster layers, vector layers, filter layers, programmatically generated layers, group layers and file-backed layers. Layers can have transparency, filter and local selection masks. Layers can be dragged and dropped within Krita, between instances of Krita or as images to and from other applications. Layers in Krita can be rotated, scaled, converted, sheared. Krita's vector layers support text, vector shapes and filters on vector shapes.


Krita's generators create pixels and can be used in generator layers. Krita has the following generators: color and pattern. More generators can be added as plugins written in C++.

Color management, Color models and Channel depths

Krita always uses color management. On Linux, if the monitor is correctly setup with colord or oyranos (gui settings applications available for GNOME and KDE), the display calibration will be used automatically. Krita supports the following color models for creating and editing images: RGBA, Gray, CMYKA, Law, YCbCr, XYZ in 8 bits integer, 16 bits integer, 16 bits floating point, 32 bits floating point.

File Formats Supported

Krita supports a large number of file formats. Krita's native document format is Krita Document (.kra), it can also work with OpenRaster document as a saving format.
File formats
Save to Krita Document, OpenRaster document, PSD image, PPM, PGM, PBM, PNG, JPEG-2000, JPEG, BMP Windows, XBM, TIFF, EXR, PDF
Import only Krita Document, EXR, OpenRaster document, PSD image, Gimp image, PPM, PGM, PBM, PNG, JPEG-2000, PDF, ODG draw, BMP Windows, XPM, GIF, XBM, Krita Flipbook, Adobe DNG negative and Camera RAW
Export only /


Krita Sprint
Year Venue Date
2005[11] Deventer, Netherlands
2010[12] Deventer, Netherlands 2/26-3/7
2011[13] Amsterdam, Netherlands 5/20-5/22

A "KImage Shop" was proposed by KDE founder Matthias Ettrich on 24 May 1999, following dissatisfaction with the GIMP's user interface.[14] As that name clearly indicates, KImageShop was meant to be a Photoshop clone. Before any public release, it was called KImageShop and then later Krayon, until legal matters motivated a change from these names. As early as 2004 a desire for a change of focus was apparent: "I want Krita to occupy the niche Corel Painter has in the Windows world, not Photoshop."

Version 1.4

Krita 1.4 was released June 24 together with KOffice 1.4. It was the first public release of Krita since development started in 1998.

Version 1.5

Notable features introduced in the 1.5 release included CMYK, L*a*b and many more color spaces, with bit depths from 8 to 32 bits per channel. Krita 1.5 also integrated with KOffice, allowing (among other things) embedding of KWord text components into images.

Version 1.6

The 1.6 release added support for handling perspective in drawings, including perspective transformation, perspective grid and perspective clone, layer masks, some enhanced tools such as a new magnetic selection tool and a bezier curves tool, many new filters and a PDF import tool.

Version 2.0

The first release based on the KDE Platform 4, this release included new brush engines such as Sumi-e, chalk and dynadraw, an OpenGL based canvas, clone layers and physically based image resolution display. Marked as a primarily a developers release for testing the port and new features.

Version 2.1

Largely a stability release, version 2.1 was marked as a release for early adopters, rather than general users. It featured new brushes including the deform and spray brushes (which has a similar functionality to image hose on other applications). It also included 3D representations of tools being used, an infinite canvas that let artists paint without a finite fixed canvas area and the dyna tool, used to simulate tablet pressure by instead using mouse velocity.

Version 2.2

Including over 1600 changes since Krita 2.1, Krita 2.2 included the first phase of fixes and features done by community sponsored coder, Lukáš Tvrdý. Version 2.2 introduced more new brush engines, a new brush settings preset system, new file filters for xcf, jpeg2000 and OpenEXR, action recording, a new core image handling system and a quick-access popup palette for recently used colors and brushes. 2.2 introduced many speed enhancements, mainly targeted at large scale brushes and canvases.

Version 2.3

Krita 2.3 (code named Chagall) was released on 30 December 2010 with 1120 updates.[15] Chagall was notable for being the first KDE4 based release stated as being "ready for end users". It included new brushes such as the sketch and hatching brush, a transform / shear tool, a grid based warp tool and a new color space aware color selector which introduced a range of selector shapes, last used colors swatches, automatic color variant swatches (e.g. complimentary colors, triads, contrasting colors etc.). Chagall included speed increases such as a 400% increase in performance of the standard autobrush tool as well as pervasive multithreading. 299 bugs were also closed over version 2.2. Navigation enhancements included a stylus / middle mouse button only pan and zoom, OpenGL-based, lossless canvas rotation and an on canvas draggable brush size.

Version 2.4

Krita 2.4 (code named Mœbius after Jean Giraud aka Mœbius) was released on April 11, 2012. It added new brush engines, improvements to the existing brush engines and productivity features like mirrored painting, plus improvements in performance and compatibility with other applications. New resources added in Krita 2.4 included new default packs of patterns, gradients, brush tips and brush presets. The ability for users to exchange these kinds of resources through an online, server based sharing system ("Get Hot New Stuff" aka GHNS) was also introduced. Finally, strokes may now be influenced by a new range of sensors such as perspective guides, time and distance.[16]

Version 2.5

Krita 2.5 was released on 13 August 2012. Some of the updates and new features include:

  • Color smudge brush has been expanded with a "dulling" mode next to the "smearing" mode.
  • New layer compositions docker makes it easy to create particular combinations of visible and invisible layers in the same image and switch between them
  • Added several new shortcuts to increase/decrease opacity and lightness, duplicate layers, as well as inserting new layers.
  • Smoother canvas interaction in many ways, too: color picking, canvas rotation, zoom and pan now work always the same way, no matter which tool is selected
  • Interoperability with MyPaint and GIMP has improved through extending the OpenRaster file format: layer locks and the currently active layer are now stored in ORA (and KRA) files
  • Visually select which autosave file to restore when Krita was killed by a power cut or a toddler with an affinity for pressing reset buttons
  • Many bug fixes in the PDF importer

Version 2.6

Krita 2.6 was released on 5 February 2013. Some distributions have Krita 2.6 available in their backports/experimental repositories. Some of the key features that were added were the following:

  • OpenColorIO color management system that complements ICC-based system
  • Improved hardware-accelerated canvas
  • Saving PSD files (both RGB and CMYK color models)
  • Updated brushes and brush presets

Version 2.7

Version 2.7 was released Friday, August 2, 2013. Some of the features that were added include the following:

  • Rewritten and hugely improved transform tool
  • New line smoothing method for inking.
  • Greyscale masks and selections.
  • Brushes: the textured painting option has been added to many brushes, the darken brush option has a larger range, faster experimental brush engine with displacement option, the bug in the healing brush is fixed and we will have a smudge mode for the filter brush.
  • Filters: HSL and colorize options are now available in the HSV filter, one can apply a curve to the alpha channel with Color Curves filter, a new user interface for an improved " color to alpha" filter that makes it possible to pick colors from the canvas directly
  • Files: support for CMYK to PSD export filter, loading resolution for PSD images is fixed, it's now possible to importing a PSD image as a layer into an existing image, QML export (exports an all the top-level layers in the Krita image as image and creates a QML file where all the images are inserted as image objects) and drag & drop of url’s.
  • Texturing: Image offset tool (for creating seamless textures to Krita).
  • Tools: you can now finally type upper-case characters in the text tool, there are improvements to the move tool. The path tools are improved: the pencil tool integrates better with Krita, shapes can be stroked with a Krita brush, fix the transformation of path strokes.
  • Canvas: the performance of the OpenGL canvas on Linux has been improved. For Krita 2.8, OpenGL comes to Windows, too.
  • Docker: new composition docker (stack can be browsed with up and down arrow; the compositions can be exported in one go).
  • Layer: new file-backed layers, improved transforming of paint and vector layers, it's now possible to mirror all layers in an image.
  • Usability and interface: improved zooming around cursor, two default workspaces (one for painting and one for working with vectors), now you can switch between favorite presets with left and right arrow keys and switch between current and previous shortcut with the / key, systems with multiple tablets and screens (for Cintiqs + classic tablet both connected to dual screen) now work fine, the display of marching ants around selection is improved, you can easily remove blacklisted resources from disk, you can select the most appropriate scale method, The Color button on the Krita toolbar opens the KDE color dialog which allows picking colors in other applications and selecting colors by numbers and there's a menu action to select all opaque pixels in a layer—check the right-click menu in the layerbox.

Version 2.8

Krita 2.8 was released on 2014-03-04.[17] Some of the highlighted features are the following:

  • tablet support - new tablet support implemented to better support the Windows operating system. Drawing is much, much smoother because we can process much more information and issues with offsets are gone.
  • OpenGL and Shaders - Improved zooming performance. Implemented a high-quality scaling algorithm on top of the modern, shader-based architecture.
  • G'mic - this new plugin makes it really easy to do things like color line-art
  • Windows support - First stable release. While 2.7 has Windows support, it was known that it was still somewhat experimental and crashed more often.
  • Clones Array Function - Helps create isometric(2.5D) art
  • Wrap-around Drawing Mode - for making textures that need to be tiled seamlessly
  • Pseudo Infinite canvas - When scrolling to the edge of the canvas a button will now appear allowing you to extend the canvas in that direction

Krita Sketch

On 14 December 2012, a new touch screen-optimized version of Krita called “Krita Sketch” was released.[18][19] This was a joint collaborative work between Intel and Krita team for “a major marketing campaign”.[19] Krita Sketch is mainly designed for Windows 7 and 8[19] and uses “Modern UI” theme coined by Microsoft for Windows 8.

Krita Foundation and Krita Studio

In December 2012, a foundation to support Krita was created.[20] In order to fund the development of Krita Desktop and Krita Sketch, KO GmbH launched a new commercially supported Version of Krita which is an extension of Krita Desktop to use in movie and GFX studios.[21]

See also

External links

  • Krita website
  • Krita Studio website
  • Krita on Steam
  • Krita's Git repository
  • Krita on Twitter
  • Krita on tumblr
  • Krita on DeviantArt
  • Calligra website
  • KO GmbH website


  1. ^ "Calligra 2.8.7 Released". 
  2. ^ "Calligra 2.8 Beta 2 Released". 
  3. ^ "Krita Digital Painting – Krita Desktop". KO GmbH. Retrieved 2013-04-26. 
  4. ^ "About Krita 2.6 Booklet". Krita Foundation. 
  5. ^ "Calling for Splashes!". Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  6. ^ "Krita's Git commit of Krita 2.8's splash". 
  7. ^ Far, Maria. "Awesome designs by Tyson Tan!". Krita Foundation. Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  8. ^ "Krita's Steam page". Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  9. ^ Tan, Tyson. "Krita the Digital Painting App is now on Steam". Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  10. ^ "Krita Features". Krita Foundation. Retrieved 22 February 2014. 
  11. ^ Boudewijn Rempt (2005-07-30). "And on the fifth day...". valdyas. 
  12. ^ Boudewijn Rempt (2010-03-15). "Second Krita Sprint Ends With Tea". KDE. KDE.NEWS. 
  13. ^ Boudewijn Rempt (2011-06-02). "What happens When Artists and Developers Come Together: The 2011 Krita Sprint". KDE. KDE.NEWS. 
  14. ^ KImage Shop? [was:Re: K abiword port]' - MARC"'". 1999-05-24. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  15. ^ Category: Krita Updates (2010-12-30). "Open Source, Free Digital Painting App". Krita. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  16. ^ "Krita 2.4 Released". 2012-04-12. Retrieved 2012-04-23. 
  17. ^ Boudewijn, Rempt. "Krita 2.8.0 Released". Krita. Retrieved 7 March 2014. 
  18. ^ "Krita Digital Painting – Krita Sketch". KO GmbH. Retrieved 2013-04-26. 
  19. ^ a b c Anne-Marie Mahfouf (2012-12-19). "Krita Sketch – Mobile Artistry". KDE.News. Retrieved 2013-04-26. 
  20. ^ "Announcing the Krita Foundation". 2012-12-17. Retrieved 2013-04-26. 
  21. ^ "Krita Digital Painting". KO GmbH. Retrieved 2013-04-26. 
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