Krita – the Kontender

We have been talking at length about The Gimp (as the historical graphic software in the Open Source world) and about Cinepaint (as its features set makes it interesting for serious photographic work). Now here comes Krita, the KDE Kontender (web, wiki). Krita is part of Koffice, KDE office suite.

On paper…

On paper, Krita has everything we are looking for, and even more:

  • Deep Paint – 16bits / channel (or more…)
  • Color Managed
  • Effect Layers (the only open source software that has effect layers, as far as I know)
  • Direct brush selection (you paint your selection with a standard brush)
  • Plus all the usual stuff you would expect from a photo software (brightness / contrast, curves, rotate, scale, crop, unsharp and a lot of more or less useful plug-ins…)

Krita is also quite smart in its user-interface: by default, the application starts as one big window enclosing the tools palette and the dialogs. But each of them is freely draggable around Krita’s window as well as outside. So you can either end up having a layout similar to The Gimp (or Cinepaint) or keep everything in one window. This screenshot shows Krita in its default view (everything in one window):


In practice…

I have regularly been lured by Krita’s features list and I just tried (again) the version shipped with Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon – and alas! – the program still doesn’t cut it for me:

  • it blocks very regularly for several seconds on some very basic operations (like adjusting a curve in effects layers – the first thing I always try in Krita 🙂 )
  • it crashes often, too often to be usable and trustworthy as a day to day application.
  • it would crash on trying to open my tif images produced with Cinepaint (The Gimp would open them, spitting out a warning that it was converting them to 8 bits / channel)

So as much as I try to like Krita, it is just not there yet for me. However, Ubuntu (Gnome based) may not be the best Kandidate (…) to run a KDE based application. So to give Krita a chance to do itself justice in a 100% KDE environment, I just installed OpenSuse 10.3 on a free partition. I will report back how Krita does, hoping for the best – but I have trouble setting up my wireless card, so it will be when it will be.

What’s to come…

You probably know that KDE is currently undertaking a big overhaul under the KDE4 brand (wiki) – to take advantage of Trolltech’s QT4 series. Koffice is also preparing a Koffice2 version, including a new Krita that will take advantage of QT4.

Now a first version of KDE4 (KDE 4.0) is scheduled for released at the end of 2007 – although all the features or KDE4 will not be present in the 4.0 release. KOffice2 will be released independently and is scheduled sometimes in the first half of 2008.

So a renewed Krita inside KDE4 could be a real Kontender for Linux Photography…


7 Responses to Krita – the Kontender

  1. andotyjazz says:

    Thanks. I share the same experience as yours. I keep coming back to GIMP using Ubuntu Gutsy ‘coz it’s more stable and reliable. But I could see Krita will become a strong player on the F/OSS Graphic world.

  2. jcornuz says:

    Hi there,

    As much as I try to like Krita, it keeps crashing on me 😦
    I hope the new Koffice 2.0 (that goes alongside kde4) will bring good stuff… But you are right, Krita is definitely an app to keep on the radar screen.

  3. Jan says:

    Which version did you try exactly?

  4. jcornuz says:

    Hi Jan,

    That was the 1.6 version available as standard on Gutsy. I’ll try 2.0, that’s for sure 🙂 Although I have this feeling Krita is turning more into a artistic painting program than a photo retouching app…

    Take care,


  5. […] (on GEGL), Peter Sikking (on Gimp user interface), Pablo d’ Angelo (Hugin) as well as stuff about Krita, Phatch and a few […]

  6. […] can be used both as a command line tool or with a GUI. Add to the mix Gimp, Cinepaint and Krita (editing), Rawstudio (raw converter) a myriad of image viewers (GThumb, Gwenview, Gview or Mirage), […]

  7. Jak psat PR clanky…

    […]Krita – the Kontender « Linux Photography[…]…

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