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FOSS Photoshop killer Krita may release on Steam [video] (steamcommunity.com)
155 points by adityab on Feb 7, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 97 comments

Great to hear! Krita is one of the few art programs that has real-time tiling, which seems like a great way to work on textures: http://krita.org/item/196-new-wraparound-tool

Nice. I've wanted a tiling tool like that for ages.

IIRC PaintCAD 4Windows had it, but it was added after developer became insane so it's usable only for him.

This alone makes me want to give Krita a shot.

I actually think this is great. I've enjoyed using Krita (even though its sometimes a PITA to get setup) and its rapidly surpassing everything GIMP spent a dozen years trying to pull off.

Make it crossplatform and you have a BIG win.

Krita's just lacking a OSX build. I've been using the windows build for a while. Krita's focus is on digital painting. I would say Krita is more comparable to Corel's Painter instead of Photoshop.

As far as I see, Krita is built using GTK. An OS X built will probably just run using the OS X X11 server.

Krita is actually built on Qt libraries, just like VLC and even some of Photoshop. Which makes it look native on most platforms, and AFAIK won't require X11 on OS X -- because Qt uses Cocoa there.

Sorry for the misinformation then :). Good to know.

QT is good.

Almost nobody will use that.

The other workaround I can think of is to use Krita in VMPlayer(Fusion?) with Ubuntu. Sounds clunky but I'm doing that with the devel version of MyPaint . Wacom usb pass through on Virtualbox isn't working well.

it[']s rapidly surpassing everything GIMP spent a dozen years trying to pull off.

Standing on the shoulders of giants certainly makes it easier to see.

Krita was started in 1999, only four years after GIMP. For most of their existence, these two programs have been developed in parallel.



Part of the reason Krita development has accelerated massively in the last couple of years is that its team decided on a clear mission statement at some point, one very different from GIMP: Krita is a painting app first. The main use cases are painting, illustration and texture-making. That it's also quite useful for cases GIMP traditionally aims at (photo editing, web graphics) are down to toolset overlap between the use cases and a robust, modern tech foundation (colorspace-independent implementation strategies, etc.), but Krita isn't actually trying to compete with GIMP and ventures into territory GIMP doesn't really serve.

Can you compare Krita and MyPaint[1]? (In terms of features, completeness, UI, etc.) From the video, it seems that Krita is a bit more advanced, with image transformations, texture tiling and probably other features. But both programs are digital painting applications, much more than GIMP, which is a generic graphics editor.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MyPaint

Krita and MyPaint share a common interest in implementing things like sophisticated brush engines and color mixing models, and MyPaint is strong there and has been an influence on Krita (perhaps also vice-versa, though I don't follow MyPaint as closely).

One difference might be that Krita existed as a project to write a raster graphics editor for years before deciding to double-down on painting, and did quite a bit of broad foundational work in that space, like aiming to operate colorspace-independently and implementing various general raster editing tools (e.g. a sophisticated layer and adjustment layer system). Krita retains those traits today, which I feel makes it broader in actual scope than MyPaint, which I think directly started out as a personal project to write a stylus-driven painting app and then grew out from there.

Krita bogged down when I tried using a 12,000x12,000 canvas. It also took several minutes just to show the canvas. MyPaint handles frames several times larger with no slowdown on the same hardware. Krita has a better interface overall, but I like to work big.

Just curious, what do you use a 12 000 x 12 000 canvas for ?

It's a useful digital illustration trick. You work big and scale down to your target resolution so you don't have to do as much line cleanup.

Haha, cute, but it sure hasn't helped GIMP (the giant in that case being PS).

PS is not open source.

I think that is only part of the answer. The Krita team is also a lot more compact and has a clearer, more internally defined end goal (it will be interesting to see what happens if its userbase explodes).

Less of the glacial Debian-style politics than have encumbered GIMP never also helped Krita.

why would you want to stand on the shoulders of GIMP

Serious question: how is Krita a "Photoshop killer" and GIMP not one?

Not once in that demo video did I see the usability monster leap out and try to stomp on anyone's balls. So it doesn't really invite comparison with the GIMP.

Do you have any criticism more specific than that you don't like GIMP? Does Krita's interface closely mimic Photoshop's or what? What is your actual point?

My biggest issue a lot of times with "photoshop killers", is that they rarely tackle non-destructive editing (I believe gimp is included on this, but I haven't touched it for about a year now). Many have masking capabilities, but any lighting adjustments to an image or corrections in general are destructive edits (meaning they alter the underlying pixels of the source image). Non destructive edits are extremely important, especially if a client asks for changes later. It's much easier to change a slider on an adjustment layer than to undo a ton of your work because you can't return the original detail to a picture. When I'm doing a photomanipulation, I'll usually have a minimum of three adjustment layers on a source image, allowing me to fine tune the look I need. In alternatives, I can't do that. Once I apply a curve change, I cant tell Krita, "hey remember that curve adjustment I did 14 steps ago? Instead of that one, can you do a similar adjustment except with less highs in the red channel?" In photoshop I can. That's always been the major difference for me.

GIMP still has no adjustment layers, so yes, it's included.

Not about Krita, but the steaming pile of fail that is GIMP.

No adjustment layers, and with that no non-destructive editing. No actions that somebody who doesn't know a scripting language can write. (Guess what! I CAN write Python but sometimes I just want to say "oh hey I need to do this 200 more times, I'll just hit record, click the buttons I want, stop recording, and make that action Cmd-F2"). Annoying save dialog. No "Just copy the damn Photoshop keyboard shortcuts" option out of the box. Deafness on the part of the GIMP community that their product is still horrible. The development effort that could have gone in to making a decent photo editor went in to people trying to salvage the disaster that is Gimp. Mediocre Mac support.

I love open source, and use Ubuntu primarily (the Mac references above are due to using a Mac, and therefore Gimp on a Mac from time to time, at work). The user experience is actually BETTER running Photoshop on Windows 7 inside Virtualbox than it is running Gimp. That's just pathetic.

The script record bug[1] was entered into bugzilla on 2001-03-09. Reading the discussion is painful. This is targeted for 3.6, which one of the devs admits is most likely 4-8 years away.

[1]: https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=51937

yes. thank you for explaining so well how tiring gimp is. I feel like they actively reject any good ui idea if its photoshop like.

> Do you have any criticism more specific than that you don't like GIMP?

I don't like GIMP specifically because of its user interface.

Can you go into more detail? I often wonder what issues people have with GIMP's UI.

After expanding an image (as in, adding blank space on the borders), you have to manually expand every layer to fit the image, or you won't be able to draw anything in the new area. Deferring layer resize until you draw on the resized layer might have been an acceptable micro-optimization. Making me resize the layers myself is just stupid. Your editor has a problem when it's faster to copy the whole image into a new, larger image than it is to just use the provided resize command. (angry swears omitted here, because I'm not sure what exactly HN will autokill)

Instead of following the image editor standard of having a selection edit tool and an "edit the pixels selected tool," you have separate tools for scaling a region, moving a region, and so on. A fairly intuitive operation in Photoshop or Paint.NET (drag the corners of a bounding box, switch to the other mode, drag the corners to scale or move the box to move, etc) requires switching between several tools in a way that I have never been able to understand.

Suffers from what I call "emacs syndrome" -- wasting valuable hotkeys on things that no one ever uses. See E, one of the easiest keys to hit with your left hand, which is bound to... select ellipse. Clearly we select ellipses more than we erase, which is bound to Shift-E...

I've used it for a few personal projects out of curiosity, and I still don't understand how you're supposed to do basic things like make a color palette with it. Googling "how to do X with GIMP" always makes me laugh: How do I place two images side by side? "Make a big image, paste the two images into different layers, position them yourself, and crop" is the only answer. Clearly that's what people were looking for.

I don't understand how it's possible to create such a stupid program. I've barely used it, but every time I do, I encounter new sources of frustration. I have literally never had a positive moment with this program. It's like the developers have never actually used it to draw something or edit a photo.

Open source devs sometimes get flack for copying popular closed source programs. I wish the GIMP devs had just blatantly copied Photoshop every step of the way. They're just wasting their time now. No one cares about technical improvements to an editor that you can't even use.

> It's like the developers have never actually used it to draw something or edit a photo.

That seems like an unfortunately common trend. If you ever try any of the hex editors on Linux (ghex, Bless, etc), it's very evident that they were written by people who have no experience actually using hex editors. It's as if they saw a missing tool on Linux, and decided to make it, despite having no personal experience or desire for said tool. It's just a checkbox to tick off.

Have you tried wxHexEditor? I found it as good as Hex Workshop, at least.

I have not, will give it a try, thanks. You read my mind though, always liked Hex Workshop. Favorite is the 2.54 release, but it sadly doesn't run on Vista+ (can't open files.)

Screenshots don't look promising, but it's all about the available settings. Ghex and Bless would base column count on the window size, and wouldn't remember your window geometry between runs. So every single run I had to resize the window to hold 16 columns so that my addresses on the left were predictable.

Ghex would re-display its 800x480 number converter every time it was opened, with no way to leave it off for good. I've used those things exactly zero times in the 15 years I've been reverse engineering things. I don't know why every hex editor loves them so much. How often are people really editing files full of nothing but IEEE754 float values?

Both lacked side-by-side editing, which thankfully it looks like wxHexEditor has. As long as it has a fixed-column count setting and strong "compare files" features, I think this will do nicely, thanks.

Maybe there's another way to resize the canvas that you're using, but the standard way, the menu option Canvas Size... has an option to resize some or all layers (defaults to none): http://imgur.com/Yk0oaKx Just an FYI.

Oops, not sure how I missed that. Resizing all the layers (maybe lazily until the user tries to draw on them, if that's such a waste when you have a 100 layers or something) should definitely be the default, though. I'd wager that's what people want 99% of the time.

One extremist person's view that Gimp should not support MDI (mulitple document interface) persisted for 15 years, then they relented and added MDI, after the person who was against MDI violently criticized Gimpshop (I think the homepage for gimpshop has been hijacked, don't use it). That person got others to start a lengthy and patronizing "UI ideas process" that was a smokescreen for going back on the MDI idea - when in reality the problem was the code to allow the UIs to dock properly - and to this day when I use GIMP the way they dock and tab the UIs goes against any learning model in my mind, and takes me forever to realize that what I am trying to find it hidden away somewhere.

There's no good model to the UI (and the problem isn't even a difficult one) because it's trying to straddle one person's personal ideas with a common and clear mental model of how certain actions should be grouped.

Things that are obnoxious about the gimp:

--Working with transparent layers and channels (compared with PS) is clunky.

--Too much duplication of buttons and window tabs; there are like four ways of exiting the program from the same place (window toolbar, tool pallette toolbar, WM exit, right-click tool panel, etc.)

--Weird script/filter difference (why are there both? why do some destroy undo history and others not?)

--No great selection tools (color matching, fuzzy matching, etc. compared to PS).

--Really really obnoxious "Save as..." which directs you to export for using non-xcf files (and it'll even chide you about that, when it's obvious what you want to do).

--Thousands of other miscellaneous gripes and grumbles.

Background: I'm a long time GIMP user. I've tried Photoshop in the past and hated it's way of doing things too - Corel Draw seemed to make most sense to me.

Anyway the new pedantic approach to saving/exporting seems to be pretty unfriendly - like you say it chides you, you go to save and GIMP says "n-uh, you can only save in XCF; what you want is to 'export' to a new format". Argh!

Whilst it's correct that you're exporting, there's no need for the duplication between save/export other than to indicate to the user that some formats will lose information.

Yep. It's one thing to simply have a "Save as..." dialog that only lists .xcf--then I have to figure out to use export instead and all is well.

But, to have that dialog box somehow actually say "Aha, we knew you were looking for those other formats, go here instead!" pretty much shows that the developers know what the user wants to do and are maliciously putting a roadblock in their way. It's smug and overbearing and quite annoying.

I recently had to use GIMP on a Mac, and as of 2013 it remains completely unusable. Every action requires 15 clicks because the input focus is always in the wrong place. To make matters worse, there's no visual indication at all of where the input focus is, so you have to guess both where it is and where it wants it. I know a lot of this is down to a combination of cross-platform issues and GIMP's daft window model, but some of it applies even within a single window.

There's no visual difference between "nothing selected" and "everything selected" - both show a marquee border. There's not even akeyboard shortcut to drop a selection (Select -> None) afaict.

When you paste something, it appears in a separate "layer" - even if you're in quick mask mode. Want to move that thing you just pasted? Nope! You have to select the layer move tool first. Oh ho! But now your focus is in the wrong window. Not that you can see that.

It's unutterably painful.

The complaints about lack of features (adjustment layers in PhotoShop are great, and I really miss the Extract filter) are valid, but I used PhotoShop 2.5 and even though the UI was too complicated even back then, it was at least one order of magnitude easier to use than GIMP is 20(!) years later.

> There's not even akeyboard shortcut to drop a selection (Select -> None) afaict.

Apple + shift + A

It's gotten better, but is still less consistent than Photoshop.

Also, it suffers from being "not Photoshop" -- to the extent that there've been various(?) projects in changing the UI to mimic Photoshop (eg: gimpshop).

Personally I've grown more accustomed to Gimp (and the UI has improved) -- but I still find Photoshop to be a better experience. But the difference is more subtle than it used to be.

> It's gotten better, but is still less consistent than Photoshop.

And that says a lot. Photoshop has a pretty clumsy UI. But it's serviceable and it's well known, so it's passable. GIMP, somehow, manages to be even worse. That's the downside of having a graphics tool designed by systems engineers.

Then again, Photoshop has also gotten better over the years.

GIMP is not trying to emulate Photoshop. That is their problem. Really, they should ape every single one of Photoshop's functional features.

Photoshop is the standard in the arts industry. Photoshop is also darn good at what it does, certainly no competitors even in the proprietary space. There were at one time: Corel Photopaint , and Paint Shop Pro and so on. Photoshop won that war for a reason.

GIMP needs to be a FOSS Photoshop first. And if there are improvements they can include them. Like dumping GTK and using Qt, for instance.

> Really, they should ape every single one of Photoshop's functional features.

That's a very uncertain territory there. What sort of legal action could Adobe start if gimp started mimmicking their flagship product UI? And who would pay the legal fees to support Gimp? Would you participate?

> Like dumping GTK and using Qt, for instance.

You're saying that as if it were just a finger snap away. GTK and QT are quite different in spirit and implementation. Besides, before becoming the Gnome Toolkit, GTK was really the Gimp Toolkit. It seems very unlikely that they would dump it in favor of QT, which is used by a major competiting desktop environment.

> What sort of legal action could Adobe start if gimp started mimmicking their flagship product UI?

Unlikely they'd start any: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotus_Dev._Corp._v._Borland_In....

It's fucking hard to use. What are you fishing for here?

Specific criticisms, perhaps? I, for one, prefer GIMP's user interface, and find Photoshop's unintuitive and difficult to use.

I for one coming from Microsoft based tools, could not figure out how to draw a straight line in GIMP without some googling. I bet it would have been easier in Photoshop. Even now, it is so unintuitive to make small edits for novice users in GIMP.

... and your specific criticisms of Photoshop are...?

We should build a list of all the Gimp drawbacks somewhere. I would add for example: why several steps are involved to create a new image with a transparent background? I always create new images like that.

I can not believe how complicated that was.

For me it was mainly about multiple windows that I never could find fast enough when I needed them

You can change that now. Gimp supports a single window mode, it's a lot nicer.

It must have been Gimp that made multi-window interfaces repellant to me for years after.

It's not called "GIMP," for one thing.

Why are you bringing up GIMP?

I think it's a fair question to ask, Gimp is the one app I've heard being called a "Photoshop killer". In fact I'd only ever heard of Gimp before reading this, and the first thing I did was to google "Gimp vs Krita".

That said, Krita looks pretty good. I'm mostly using Gimp for drawing and I'd be interested in trying an alternative.

I like the simpler MyPaint, because its interface is very easy to use and I'm not (yet?) interested in the more technical parts of digital painting, I just want to draw stuff.

Does it have the "magic" tools like content aware fill, patch tool, and spot healing brush that Photoshop does? These are kinds of things my professional artist and photographer friends appreciate about the app.

GIMP has a content aware fill, Gimp Synthesiser AFAIR

I am the lead developer of a application called Leonardo that we hope will be a future "Photoshop killer" when it comes to digital painting: http://www.getleonardo.com The main focus for us is speed and Leonardo is way faster then any other application including Photoshop (and it is still raster based).

Leonardo is not finished yet, but it is possible to sign up on out beta list.

What does "way faster" mean more specifically? E.g. how does it handle a 100mpixel image?

It handles a 100 mega pixel image very well.

The trick Leonardo use to be this fast is that your screen only has a fixed amount of pixels and it is enough to update does pixels super fast for the application to feel fast. Then you have a lot more time to update the rest of the pixels.

This makes Leonardo kind of "resolution independent" and is always super fast whatever the canvas size and brush diameter. On top of this we also have a streaming mechanism of tiles between RAM and file so that you never run out of memory.

Will it support vector drawings also? The screen cast with "nobel english" was very nice and the tool you used to draw the box was cool, never seen that before.

In the first version there will be no vector stuff, we are focusing on raster. (but maybe in the future)

Thanks ;-)

No Linux, no sale. Krita's been on Linux since 1998.

Sorry dude. We are focusing on Windows and Mac. But in the far future we might support Linux too... ;)

Maybe this is a simplistic view, but isn't the development process itself much nicer on Linux, simply because of the ability to program in a Unix environment? I guess you have that with OS X (which I use at work), but even there, is it that much of a leap to make code that works in OS X work in Linux?

That aside, it looks like an awesome product, good work so far. I like the focus on super fast and smooth operation; that's why I use Sublime Text :)

I haven't developed that much on Linux so I can't really compare. Visual Studio for Windows which I mostly use is really good in my opinion.

Leonardo use as little OS specific stuff as possible to make porting easy so going from Windows to Mac (and maybe Linux in the future) shouldn't be that hard.

Thanks. Sublime Text has been one of the many inspirations for Leonardo! :)

Photoshop "killer"?

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

"Krita" means crayon in Swedish.

Is there anything about this tool that is superior to an inexpensive commercial app like Pixelmator other than being FOSS? I'm interested in comparisons to Pixelmator specifically.

Wouldn't be a hugely useful comparison, since Pixelmator is Mac-only, while this is Windows/Linux-only. You might compare it to Paint.NET

Unfortunately, it can't be a "Photoshop killer" if it doesn't run on the Mac since Mac sales are like 1/3 of Photoshop sales I think last time I saw a stat.

I've tried using Krita before, and it sure didn't seem like a "Photoshop killer" to me.

It seems to me like someone excitedly posted this without really understanding what Krita actually does, or perhaps the differences between an app like Photoshop, an app like Illustrator, and an app like Corel Paint.

Just tried Krita out on Win7 x64 with 16-bit colors. It works fine with default white background.

But if I set the background color to 0% opacity (aka transparent) the drawing becomes ultra-slow like 1 pixel per second :/

Would be great if they port the whole Calligra office suite to Windows: http://calligra-suite.org

I don't think something like Photoshop can be killed so easily. If Photoshop is Facebook, then this doesn't look like the successor, but like G+. Might have better features, but doesn't have the community.

And PS also has a huge set of commercially created plugins, filters, etc.

It's a pity, though. I really wish some FOSS project would make an end to PS!

> I really wish some FOSS project would make an end to PS!

Then start using them if you aren't already. A community doesn't come out of thin air.

Photoshop killer? This is for 1/10 of the COMMON use cases for Photoshop.

Do they or are they planning on supporting OSX?

Photoshop is not mainly a painting application, though it can be used as one.

The strength of Photoshop is in its automation, ability to integrate with all kinds of things, ability to open a hundred different formats by default, plugins, 16-bit-per-channel support, color management, work with huge files, etc etc etc.

This looks like a competitor for ArtRage or Corel Paint.

http://krita.org/faq/item/16-krita-features contains some information on the features supported by Krita, including 16 bit per channel colorspaces (including Lab, a much-vaunted Photoshop feature). Krita is also available with support for OpenColorIO, and integration into the asset pipelines found e.g. in VFX studios is part of its mission statement (support for Photoshop's file formats has been steadily increasing along the way).

You're entirely correct about Krita's focus on painting (a focus it has greatly benefited from; see also my other comment), but it turns out the kinds of foundations required by a good painting application offer utility in many use cases.

Honestly curious:

> The strength of Photoshop is in its automation, ability to integrate with all kinds of things, ability to open a hundred different formats by default, plugins, ....

This, as far as I can see, sums up Gimp very well. With its open scripting and plugin system (Python) which not only allows anyone to write simple automation scripts, but allows people like me to find importers, exporters, filetype support, scripts and plugins for free, for about anyhting thinkable.

How does Photoshop compare to the Gimp in these areas? I am aware of the differences in usability, obviously. But purely on technical grounds: is the automatability and extensability of the Gimp comparable to that of Photoshop?

The problems with GIMP, the last time I checked, were - no support for 16 bit, problems with color management, slow (photoshop is extremely optimized, and now has GPU support). Plus I hate the default UI - they need to redo it completely.

There's http://www.gimpshop.com/ which is gimp with a Photoshop-like UI

I think GIMP has had a single-window photoshop-esque UI built in since 2.8

Proper 16-bit support is the big thing for the next release and it's significantly less slow since it got multithreading support in 2.8. Still slower than Photoshop, though.

I've been hearing about the 16-bit support in GIMP for at least 5 years now. I will believe it when it gets released.

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