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‘Goodbye Photoshop’ and ‘Hello Krita’ at University Paris 8 (krita.org)
524 points by buovjaga on Jan 16, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 197 comments

If you are doing art Krita is a fine Photoshop replacement. So I can understand the switch.

But I'm also a little amazed that there still isn't a good Photoshop replacement. I think that's because a lot of developers think Photoshop is layers and blend modes. But imho the real strength of Photoshop is the interface. Not only the GUI but also the interaction design.

I can do with Gimp what I can do with Photoshop but it will take a lot more time. In-place text editing, attaching effects to layers (drop shadows), non destructive editing, it's all missing from most Photoshop alternatives.

Also check out Natron (mentioned in the article): https://natron.inria.fr/ I never heard of it but it's looking great!

> But I'm also a little amazed that there still isn't a good Photoshop replacement.

As others have noted, Photoshop is vast. It represents a large investment of domain knowledge that's quite hard to replicate. It has a lot of UI features that allow for powerful, efficient workflows (actions, heavily customizable GUI and shortcuts, even scripting, etc.) beyond its core image creation and manipulation functions. And that's not to mention the entire ecosystem of Photoshop plugins.

That said, the best competing apps I've seen out there are really domain specialist apps. They don't try to be better than Photoshop at everything, just better at one niche. Depending on the tool, they often don't even try to displace Photoshop from the workflow, just add on to it. Mischief[1] is a good example of this category of Photoshop competitor.

If there's to be a significant competitor to traditional Photoshop, my bet would be on one of these "worse than Photoshop, but better at one thing" apps that met with initial success and eventually grew to displace Photoshop from a larger arena. I still doubt that we'd get a total Photoshop "replacement", per se. (Note, that "one thing" might well be "runs on mobile" versus any task-centric domain.)

[1] https://www.madewithmischief.com/

> powerful, efficient workflows

An addendum to my prior post, I suspect a lot of folks here won't be aware of something: in various professional positions heavily dependent on Photoshop use (e.g. pro photo editing / retouching), it's common practice to have speed tests in the interview process. This part of the interview shows that 1) you know the available tools and know how to use them well for job-typical tasks and 2) you are utterly fluent in the UI, keyboard shortcuts, etc. for the task. Not all pros need this kind of workflow efficiency, but those who do are scary fast at what they do.

A fair bit of Photoshop's design over the years has been influenced by the needs of these kinds of high-skill, high-efficiency workflows.

The thing is that Photoshop is HUGE and does a good job at almost any task involving pixels. There have been projects that do a subset better, like art or graphic design or pixel art, but to do everything Photoshop does probably requires dozens of years of development by a skilled team.

The only thing I miss in Photoshop is a command line (Autocad style). This would be a killer feature.

I hate looking for a command in the menus or remember a shortcut, I would prefer to remember an alias derived from the name (like Autocad). This (and probably a huge reduction in price) is the only way to make me change to something else.

AutoCad began with the architectural premise that user interaction would be primarily via a terminal. It was built with the ability to run headless. It was built with the ability to run in batch mode. Like Unix, it was built on a set of single purpose tools. These tools formed the API and the user interacted directly with it in the form of commands.

The graphic display was a side-effect. Events on the graphic display were mapped back to the API, i.e. mapped back to commands. The reason, most likely, is that in the days of MSDOS AutoDesk had to write hardware drivers themselves or convince third party hardware vendors write them. Having a developer friendly architecture helped in both cases.

Post-Macintosh programs such as PhotoShop went down a different architectural path. There was a pre-existing graphics subsystem and no obvious interest in developing up from the terminal. So these applications were developed down from the GUI. In the days of 256k RAM and 10meg disks, there was a lot of need for expediency and GUI code and application code often mixed. The result was a lack of an AutoCad style API.

If a procedure looks at screen layout directly, how do you turn it into a command from the keyboard with sensible parameters? Such a refactoring is hard, messy, and not at on the feature list marketing has developed. Lets face it, the PhotoShop user community would not just reject a command based interface, it might express outrage.

Going one step further, in the early 1990's AutoDesk massively refactored AutoCad's code. They took the hit in the form of R13. Then they started adding incredible features with each version again for the next twenty years.

You're actually giving an absolutely amazing path on how one could conceivably develop a real photoshop competitor by doing to pixels what autocad did for cad: to start off from a programmable base. Something along the lines of emacs meets pixels.

AutoCad sells for many thousands of dollars a seat as do its commercial competitors. There is no passable open source alternative for professional work in many industries particularly AEC. AutoDesk's business model is based on selling products that are used to manually translate requirements tossed over the transom into designs.

The developer of a $50,000,000 project is going to pay several million dollars in design fees. There's a lot of value proposition in an easy button. However a lot of domain knowledge is necessary to produce something reliable.

Either way - developing a product to compete with PhotoShop or AutoCad - is a big dollar proposition. There's more capital investment that winds up requiring AutoCad than PhotoShop. A lot of what PhotoShop does is a nice-to-have. Building departments require building plans. Paving contractors require road plans. A billion dollars in those industries isn't even news.

Isn't that ImageMagick? And at one point Pixelmator was implemented on top of ImageMagick.

I am currently working on the prototype of such an application :) I had a similar idea after getting frustrated with Photoshop scripting for my last game project[1]. I'm not ready to show anything yet though, very early days...


I like the idea of your PhotoShopNext, but the video at the bottom has been marked private. Also Antigen looks like a fun game. Any plans for an android port?

The youtube vid was an old demonstration of Ivan Sutherland's Sketchpad software. I will try and find another version.

I'm not sure if there will be an android port of Antigen. The mobile gaming scene is not very conducive to indie devs at the moment:) I also didn't write it in a very cross-platform manner. I won't make that mistake again.

Artistic drawings and photo manipulation have large elements of manual tweaking with visual feedback that are hard to put into programming.

In another field, Blender will make you go insane if you try to do any engineering work with it. On the other hand doing art with OpenSCAD (you type code with primitives) would probably also suck, though it's good for engineering simple objects precisely.

If you could get the best of both worlds, then yes, but I think you run into limits with scripting in Photoshop alternatives quite quickly.

Photoshop's main market is artists. Artists are, by and large, frightened by "programming".

Architects are artists too and plenty of art incorporates computers. Don't underestimate artists. They'll learn any skill required to express themselves.

Let me clarify, then. What I meant by "artists" was people whose thing is "making two-dimensional art". A group which I am included in.

To most artists of that type I know, the idea of just recording a Photoshop macro to automate a repetitive task is getting into the dark arts. Command lines are scary places to them.

And that's discounting the 2D artists who work in physical media because "computer art has no soul".

There are exceptions - I mean, I used to futz around with assembly programming on my c64 and Amiga, there are people whose visual medium is Processing, there are people making games who are comfortable with one foot in the imagery and one foot in the code - but I am pretty sure that "emacs meet pixels" would not find much traction with the people who use Photoshop as a canvas.

I mean, if "Photoshop" to you is "a bunch of image filters", then sure, we already have "emacs meets pixels" in the person of ImageMagic. But to a 2D artist, Photoshop is not "a bunch of image filters"; it's "paintbrush and canvas".

Architecture is by and large a problem solving business. The sorts of problems it solves are by and large the problems of wealthy and powerful organizations. Architects have a reputation for expressing themselves as a proxy for building something for themselves since the ability to self-fund projects is rare.

To put it another way, a piece of software can be the important artefact. The design for a building is rarely the important artefact. By "making the design his own" an architect produces something for himself, but this is not the important [public] artefact. Moreover, making the design an expression of the architect is often in conflict with the objectives of the client. Guild like structures allow architects to express themselves in ways contrary to the interests of their clients.

Yes, there are projects where developers want architects. Much of the construction industry, however, sees architects as a necessary (or unnecessary) drag upon the project's objectives. Regulatory requirements for an architects involvement are the basis of many an architect's business.

Frank Gehrey is the outlier. AutoCAD LT is very common.

A command line (autocad style) doesn't require programming and the average user doesn't even need to use it, once the GUI expose most API.

The command line in Photoshop would be a way of improving productivity. As an example, I don't know any power-user/really productive Autocad user that works with the GUI. It's a waste of time.

> In the days of 256k RAM and 10meg disks, there was a lot of need for expediency and GUI code and application code often mixed. The result was a lack of an AutoCad style API.

You may be right that this is how it happened, but there's not really any reason for it to have happened that way.

E.g. on the Amiga, which had similar hardware constraints to that, a lot of apps did work similarly to the way you describe AutoCad: everything internally mapped to commands, and the commands operated on the data model and updated the view, and while they were not designed to run headless, they were often designed from the beginning for everything to be scriptable.

This was done because everyone expected the API - from about AmigaOS 2.0 onward, if you didn't have an AREXX API it'd be commented on negatively in reviews etc.

I think the difference is the lack of a culture for scripting. Even with AppleScript, there's not the same culture for scripting in the Mac world. Even less so in the Windows world (outside of developers). Unix users expect scripting and components designed for it. Amiga users expected scripting of gui apps too.

The first computer I owned was an A500. In a box somewhere, I think there are all four of the 1.1 Rom Kernel Manuals...the ones sold in bookstores even after Amiga OS2.0 was well established.

Amiga OS was strongly influenced by Unix. That's what allowed all those ports of Unix commands to fill the FredFish disks. In a sense the Amiga was what a company needed to do when buying a Super Bowl launch ad spot isn't on the table. The Amiga 1000 was beautifully engineered but aesthetics were low enough on the priority list that the sidecar made it to market.

One could make a case that all that Rexx integration was a waste of effort: The Amiga died for just about everyone but a few hardcores and software like Photoshop lives on. The ball of mud is the most successful software architecture by volume.

> If a procedure looks at screen layout directly, how do you turn it into a command from the keyboard with sensible parameters? Such a refactoring is hard, messy, and not at on the feature list marketing has developed.

It doesn't seem like one would need to refactor to do something like:

  $ filter layer1 blur
With things like lossless editing, Photoshop has to maintain state somewhere to be able to apply all of the layers to get the image. I get that you might not be able to say do something like:

  $ selection x1 y1 x2 y2
> Lets face it, the PhotoShop user community would not just reject a command based interface, it might express outrage.

It seems to me that some of the issues are in the nature of the data. It's a bitmap (or several). The amount of state is equal to the number of pixels. A 1024 x 1024 bitmap has 2^20 bits of state.

Though we can usually compress the representation of that state, what we don't have is a high level semantics for describing it. We don't have a language for chunking bitmaps that works independent of a specific context. We can make a DSL for describing GUI elements. It won't work for photographs. Outside of a few specific domains, we don't have a handle into content. We can't write programs for bitmaps that manipulate babies and cars and pop-up menus easily.

If we deal with the bitmap as a whole, then it's trivial to write a command that transforms the bitmap as a whole. But without facial recognition style recognition for everything we're stuck dealing with pixels a lot of the time.

I imagine that there are a lot of operations that could benefit from a shell-like interface, even if there are certain operations that don't lend themselves to the paradigm. Even just being able to say something like "Create a circular selection 'box' with a radius of 50px" that you can then manually manipulate with the mouse could be useful. More useful than trying to create the same thing via just mouse input.

I don't disagree. My view comes from having switched away from AutoCad about seven years ago to a Cad package originally developed for the Mac. I ranted about the ways in which it's API sucked compared to AutoCad to the point of being banned from the bulletin board...in those days I enjoyed trolling more than today.

Munging the application logic and the display does have some advantages, and there are some aspects of the work-flow provided by the not-Autocad software that are really useful for producing drawings...Solid filling rectangles is not a geometric idea but it allows for placing the rectangle in the foreground of an image.

But unlike AutoCad keyboard entry is always a second class citizen and there's no way not to use the mouse in the middle of trying to complete just about every interaction. Indeed one of my big rants was about some distinction between tools and commands where binding a command to an icon required an extra click in the drawing area in order to run.

There's no reason that a circular selection box couldn't be moved with "$> move 129 -204". Indeed if you're working pixel by pixel, that's exactly the way to get exactly what you mean. Exacting layouts are exacting because we hold that level of detail in our heads.

Somehow like Sketchup, the 'command line' there is not perfect at all but is better than nothing and allows some productivity gains.

i understand your point about history but disagree with your conclusion...

at this point its not like Adobe would have to re-architect the system cuz im sure when you click & use a tool it is not going "uhhh photoshop system, man, could you like look into this screen & blur stuff" it is calling a well-defined method with an x/y param. They just need to alias those methods from a simple command shell

Photoshop does have a Javascript scripting system and IDE (ExtendScript Toolkit) that exposes many of its features.

Unfortunately its pretty slow and clunky, and it doesn't let you draw programmatically or anything like that.

I used it to create a texture/sprite atlas maker for game development[1], and to do batch image composition for animation frames in my last game project[2].

I tried to use it to create animated image processing effects, but I ended up having to use Processing, after reimplementing a bunch of Photoshop features in Java.

[1] http://richardjdare.com/blog/2012/11/atlasmaker-0-7-make-tex... [2] http://richardjdare.com/blog/2013/03/toxin-advanced-sprite-t...

Alan Kay talks about a text justification bug in MicroSoft Word that's been around for 30 years. [1] PhotoShop is many many millions of lines of code, making an API that covers all of it is unlikely, and at best it is practical to make some subset of its procedures available from a command line.

In contrast, an AutoCad drawing is serializable to a text file of AutoCad commands.

At the core of the software architecture, it's analogous to REST versus SOAP soaked in kerosene with three decades of software evolution piled on top. Nobody loves AutoCad's DXF with deep abiding passion, but nobody would take "DXF is not my favorite file format" [2] rants in the source code seriously.

The point from AutoCad's <Point:> command is the same point that everything else is built on. It's bottom up. So in the end, a full blown command language for Photoshop would need a <Pixel:> command. And everything else, all the way up, would need to rely on calls to <:Pixel>. That's the level of granularity required to implement a command API like AutoCad's.

That's the joy of AutoCad's command line. It's programming with a REPL. Photoshop doesn't have one at its core.

[1]: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubaX1Smg6pY&=

[2]: https://code.google.com/p/xee/source/browse/XeePhotoshopLoad...

Not what you're looking for, but as a point of interest Photoshop actually has accumulated several layers of internal scripting over the years. The newest and coolest is an embedded Node.js server - you can pull in arbitrary node modules and run them in a context where various PS-related APIs are exposed.

The drawbacks are:

1. Not all features have nice interfaces. For some things you need to go through this ancient, hairy API based on tons of (sparsely documented) magic strings.

2. Most of the APIs are made to support the UI, so it can be hard or easy to do things depending on how the UI works. For things involving settings dialogs, or anything that's a multistep process in the UI, it can be pretty nontrivial.

This is one thing I love about macs. Click help, type in the first word of the command, and it will highlight where that command is in the menu. No more hunting or trying to remember seldom-used shortcuts. Apple has had this feature for years and years. I still can't believe Microsoft hasn't copied it (or perhaps it has with 8? I'm still using 7 on my main editing machine.) I will often fire up PS on my Macbook just to use the search to find a command, rather than poking around the menus for it on my main machine.

To me, the most important quality of photoshop is the UI/UX. This is anecdotal, but I've toyed with a lot of interactive graphical programs and Photoshop often feels natural (the kind of shortcuts sequence you end up trying in other software without thinking about it). Compared to this GIMP feels infinitely bloated.

Out of curiosity, is it natural because you learned Photoshop first or it's just super intuitive for you?

I've touched it a few times but never spent enough time getting comfortable so to me it's all still very unintuitive.

Photoshop was the first I learned true, but I try to be fair, I guess many people (especially here) learned different paradigms and can abstract over their own history.

For instance I've learned to appreciate and love Vim even though I've learned Emacs first (and is my daily editor). I won't dismiss it because it's superficially different (names, layout, bindings) or because it breaks my habits.

I have some kind UX abstract grid in mind where things could make better sense without being the Emacs/my-preferred way. GIMP had too many wtf in a row for me to keep trying, and ends up making me want to write imagemagick scripts in Emacs instead.

Looking at how software has evolved in the last 30 year I will make the following statement: nothing that exists today requires 12 years of coding. :)

Creative work requires continuous experimentation and refinement. If a tool lets you do this easily and without getting in the way, your brain is free to focus on the piece that you are creating. So, while it is true that one can do the same things using another tool like Gimp, the fact that it takes significantly more time and effort means that it will be much harder to end up creating the same art.

The funny thing is, engineers actually understand this perfectly when talking about text processors, but for some reason they (we) often fail to generalise it to other fields.

Is it common for engineers to even be able to influence the UX decisions? I thought that was generally left to designers.

Yes, a million times yes. Mostly in engineering-focused teams, it is very common (even when they have designers on the team).

It's a sad state of affairs, but it is pretty common for the designer to just "push pixels" on engineer command - the engineer conceives (horribly) the UI in his head, sketches, and then tells the designer to make it pretty. The designer is merely a decorator. I saw it happen a lot in a telco, but it happens almost anywhere where the engineering skills are considered the core.

> Is it common for engineers to even be able to influence the UX decisions? I thought that was generally left to designers.

Feels to me that no designer worked on Gimp UX.

On a lot of software development projects, particularly open-source ones, the reality is that there are often only engineers.

Well as a designer, its not realy easy to help on opensource projects. Its hard to join something like that and if you do, the projects themselves usualy need UX design not some pretty colors and some logo. But thats exactly what engeneers mostly want. I dont blame them, they spend lot of effort to make the project and they have their own ideas about how it should work (for them).

But good UX is about objectivity and about efficiency. Its also a process.

Another thing is that there is no tradition in that for designers. Opensource programming free time fun project for programmer is equivalent maybe something like making print posters for designers.

And interaction design schools are hardly helping that, they should make students to help out on opensource projects maybe as part of their assignments/diplomas.

How would i join opensource projects that need designers? I dont know.

I always found this interesting, I get on with and learn more quickly interfaces built by other programmers even when such interfaces are regarded as "badly designed" by none-programmers.

I think it's because as a programmer my mental model more closely matches that of another programmer.

Which is terrifying when I do UX stuff myself because then I worry I'm building stuff for other programmers when I'm aiming at general users.

The problem is that you have much higher understanding of the inner parts of software. You might group functions together by type pf operation you do, by used algorythm... Your mind knows that these are operations that work with memory so you look there.

For example average user has mostly no understanding of things like reading data into memory and that it must be saved aferwards. For him the edit is already on the screen, like when you write on paper.

Also ux quality is imposible to measure. Lot of times its desicions between Ok bot not great vs Ok but not great.

The biggest problem on opensource projects is no consistent unifying philosophy, no aim. Users can learn anything, it just has to be consistent. Lot of times there is one developer wanting to see every posible function on the sceen, second one is making contextualy avare menus and thir one believes in text input search. Three of those together are just a mess.

> Also check out Natron (mentioned in the article): https://natron.inria.fr/ I never heard of it but it's looking great!

Apparently from INRIA, the french national digital research institute. They actually have quite a lot of really good projects that fly a bit under the radar in the US. They're also behind things like Scikit-learn machine learning tools...

OCaml is another nice invention from INRIA.

another INRIA product I have extensively used in grad school is Scilab.

I think there isn't a good Photoshop replacement because it tries to do too much. For example, it's used by both photo editors and web designers. The crossover of requirements there is really quite small - so I'm quite happy to see smaller apps hacking away at a subsection of what Photoshop does.

For example, I work almost exclusively on web UI stuff, and I love Sketch. The UI just makes so much more sense to me.

> it tries to do too much

I don't think it does. It offers a massive feature set that is useful to different people in different ways, but there is still a lot of crossover.

Maybe you're pigeon-holing users based on their 'roles'. Web designers/photo editors, when working in Photoshop are both working with layered images at the end of the day. Plus people have different ways of working. You may do web UI stuff, but you may have a completely different workflow to another web UI designer.

I think this points to a bigger difference between engineers and "normal people" - programmers tend to have grown up on the Unix philosophy of "do one thing well," but most everyday users find out that they need to use a different tool for a task and get irritated with that.

The fact that Photoshop can do so many things is a huge appeal to users, because if they need to do some workflow item that maybe isn't part of their normal job, they can still do it within a familiar tool. This is handy and saves learning time.

Compare this to "unix people" who are likely to regard a tool with a lot of functionality they use rarely as bloated.

The big feature of Photoshop is that it's Photoshop. A typical designer has dozens of expensive plugins for Photoshop, their PSDs only work in Photoshop and they only know how to use Photoshop.

Changing would be expensive and risky, and would only be worthwhile if lots of their colleagues and clients were also moving.

So Adobe has intentionally created a lot of barriers to exit, and even if an amazing good open-source package came out today, it would struggle to gain traction.

There is one contender that's been getting some traction with a significant minority iOS designers; Sketch - http://bohemiancoding.com/sketch/

It's nowhere near an entire replacement but it has a very different take on the UI which arguably makes it better suited for app UI design and it appeals to the "cool kids" ... those starting out their design careers with app related projects as best demonstrated by this book / tutorial - https://designcode.io/

And that's probably the only way to unseat Photoshop - with a generational change.

Sketch is very nice. I use both Photoshop (when on Windows) and Gimp (when I'm on my Ubuntu laptop), so I have experience with each.

Sketch provides a clean, focused UI that makes it easy to get many tasks done simply/quickly. Specifically, icon design in Sketch is excellent.

Plus, Sketch is a vector based application which is excellent for creating multiple icons / images of different sizes.

There is also the printer-oriented color management in Photoshop, whereas Gimp appears more screen-oriented. Designs made in sRGB may look radically different when converted to CMYK.

If you go to print, the fact that Adobe's tools understand multiple color models is a HUGE advantage over most other tools, which usually only work in RGB. It's not just open-source competitors, it's smaller teams trying to compete in this space as well.

>>> Changing would be expensive and risky, and would only be worthwhile if lots of their colleagues and clients were also moving.

This is a huge point. Adobe is so entrenched in so many corporations, it's almost like MS Office to a degree. Even in most startups, if you want to hire someone, you're going to go with Adobe products instead of having a training/learning curve to worry about.

>> So Adobe has intentionally created a lot of barriers to exit.

Of course they did. Once you have an entrenched software platform, you want people to continue using your product, regardless of whether they like it or not. It's just smart business. Not really good business, but smart nonetheless.

Maybe that's true when dealing with clients who also use photoshop, but the majority of artists I know love to experiment with new software - and hardware - and flit between them depending on the job at hand. Photoshop is a bloated, expensive piece of software, but Adobe listen hard to the people using it, and it's really good at what it does, and that's why people keep going back.

For me the absolute killer feature for Gimp or Krita would be a way to save the editing history, which is currently lost with all the levels of 'undo' when you save in native format.

Versioning for image editing; I don't know how it would be done but by Jove it would be a time-saver.

I am the main developer of a new painting application called Leonardo ( http://www.getleonardo.com ) which include this feature for our native .LEO file format.

Leonardo is currently in early beta.

I gave the beta a try and it seems pretty nifty! Great job!

Since I'm an programmer who's an aspiring artist, I have a few questions:

1. Is there a way to turn off additive brush-layering (ie the opacity does not change when you stroke over the same place)[1]? I am used to Krita and Photoshop having an option to toggle this. The only way when the opacity increases is when the pressure increases.

2. Is there a way to create custom brushes? I'd love to be able to create my own. Also, Krita has some nice ways of "scripting" brushes which was nifty. The current ones are more than fine, but I usually make certain "helper" brushes to speed things up a little.

3. Do you plan to open-source certain parts of Leonardo? It'd be great if you open-sourced the specification for .leo and, the brush format, so it's easier to create conversion tools. I'm not a marketing expert, but I imagine having the ability to import brushes from Photoshop would be a huge benefit.

4. Do you intend to support plugins?

--- [1]: http://i.imgur.com/lqa6E9r.gif

P.S: Sorry for dumping ideas like this.

1. Yes, we have one parameter we call "flow" that does what your GIF shows. We also have a parameter called "opacity" that does what you want to do. To create a brush that behaves the way you want do the following: open brush settings panel (located on the upper right of the screen), go to the "flow" tab, change "flow pressure" to 100%, go to the opacity tab and change "opacity pressure" to 0%.

(we need to improve the brush settings)

2. Yes, use the same brush settings as described above. You can click on "tip" (round circle for standard brush) to change brush tip.

3. We might open source the brush format in the future.

4. Maybe in a distant future. The problem with plugins is that you have one more API to keep backward compatible.

Thanks for testing Leonardo! Please feel free to email me if you have any more questions or feedback: henning.tegen 'at' getleonardo.com

Nice. I'm wondering, does "zero lag" mean that the painting is handled in a background thread, while keeping the UI responsive.

Or does it mean something else?

Yes and progressively updating the resolution.

The "Ghost Point" and "Isometric" strokes look very useful. While with practice I think I'll develop a steady hand with my Wacom, those features look really helpful when precision is needed.

FYI, you can also add those features (lazy mouse, curved lines, isometric and perspective constraints) to any art app (including Photoshop) with the Lazy Nezumi Pro app. http://lazynezumi.com

I was pretty impressed with the demo. Great work.


Cool. Did you implement the versioning yourself or do you use git or something like that underneath?

We implemented it our self. We tried a bunch of existing solutions like SQLite but they were all too slow handling large amount of pixels.

That, in a nutshell, is one of Photoshop's great strengths. It's not that you can save undo data, but that most things don't need to be undone if you take advantage of smart objects (decomposable composites, more or less) and adjustment layers. Even deformation meshes (warps, liquify, etc.) can be stored, changed and re-applied (to multiple things, including masks). I'm not really committed to anything in Ps until I export, and then the PSD is still there if the client wants a change. I know that colour management and bit depth have been at the top of a lot of lists (and rightly so), but if anyone wants to step up and challenge Ps as the professional tool, then non-destructive editing is not optional.

Krita has had filter layers (non-destructive, mask + filter layers right inside the layer stack) since _2005_. Krita has had color management, with icc profiles and cmyk, rgb, lab and xyz since 2005. OpenColorIO based color management since 2012. Krita 2.9 has non-destructive transform masks -- and 2.9 is in beta right now. You can have selections masks local to a layer. There have been group layers for a decade.

So, yeah, non-destructive editing is not optional. It's been around for about ten years, in Krita.

So, only a little behind. I'm not knocking Krita, nor am I saying that Ps is beyond reach and will forever be the standard. I welcome real competition, because frankly there hasn't been anything close enough in far too long. And much of what has gotten pretty close has thrown the third-party ecosystem overboard without replacement -- which may in some cases be necessary, but when you tell people that their "one hour's work in a click" time-savers are going away, they're not going to be impressed with what you've done to their workflow and profitability.

Not really versioning, but Ormr [1] is built around completely non-destructive editing with history baked into each project. Still in beta but worth a look.

[1] https://www.getormr.com/

I bought affinity designer for Mac, it's a vector software but it has a history slider, I don't think it saves with the file format but it's an amazing take on history display. One 3D program I saw did save the history with it, but I can't recall the name.

I use git for that, works great.

And even easier (though more expensive and less versatile) - Dropbox or Time Machine.

With Gimp? Explain.

Git handles binaries perfectly fine. Your repo is gonna get big fast, and it isn't going to handle merges, but if you just want a linear version history and are used to git, you might as well use it.

He probably means to add the project file to the versioning system and commit regularly so that you can rollback to a previous version. It's way less flexible than Undo though.

The real killer feature of Photoshop is YouTube videos and books. I am learning it right now and it's extremely helpful to watch tutorial videos. There is almost nothing for GIMP so if you don't know exactly what you are looking for, you are out of luck.

There are tons of videos on Gimp. Krita has somewhat less of them.

I was a long time PS user on Windows. When I switched to linux as my work computer, the only suitable replacement was Gimp. The interface drove me absolutely crazy - window management is from some kind of sadist (floating toolbar panels) and its not possible to "Save as" (only Export).

Since then I have tried Pinta Image Editor - the toolset is far simpler than PS/Gimp, but it is 100x more intuitive. It reminds me of Paint.NET

Gimp used to be better than that like having a "Save as" that worked or "Save" just saving the PNG you loaded and changed, instead of insisting on saving an XCF. I think they we're too close to some Gnome developers and got infected by their way of thinking.

The Gimp has certain, err, noteworthy notions about user interface design.

Nevertheless, single-window mode has been around for years (I think): Select 'Windows'->'Single-Window Mode'. The distinction between Save and Export is one of those measures to gently remove the user's feet from below the barrel, I imagine (only the native xcf-format stores certain information, like layers).

They should make single-window the default. Many new people do not know about it and quit Gimp before finding out about it.

But more importantly, the worst thing I have to face in GIMP is layer/selection management. I understand how it works, I worked with it for years, but it's annoying as fu... very annoying.

Pinta in Ubuntu (14.04LTS) still lacks beziers and an ability to resize selected bits of an image (you have to resize the whole image at once). Then there is "gnome paint" which is merely a placeholder for a yet-to-be paint application (no functionality).

So does Gnome desktop have a flagship GTK paint application in the vein of paint.net?

> But I'm also a little amazed that there still isn't a good Photoshop replacement.

Photoshop has loads of features, really, most users use like 1% of these,but professionals are required to know Photoshop. Because professionals will share photoshop files.

I mean, you wouldn't use Sublime Text 2 to code in C# right? sure you can do that, but a .net shop requires you to know Visual Studio Pro.

> I can do with Gimp

Gimp is a sad story imho,it feels too much like developpers doing UX-UI and failing at doing it properly. It has great features but feels way to clunky and un-inspiring for artists.Gimp needs to be heavily redesigned.

I wish Fireworks was still developped, it was an amazing tool for drawing,especially for webdesign,2d game design and prototyping.And god it was so easy to write complex plugins with a few lines of Javascript, it was mind blowing. I wish Adobe never bought Macromedia.

Gimp is a sad story imho,it feels too much like developpers doing UX-UI and failing at doing it properly

Yeah, same feeling initially ... but now that I'm used to it, I actually prefer it.

On the same tangent, for a good example of a clean interface, check out Lightworks for Linux with a cheap Wacom tablet. You'll be blown away.

I was a fairly light Photoshop user - occasional retouching, compositing, and web UI stuff. Last year I switched to Pixelmator due to cost and found it relatively painless, the UI is similar enough to Photoshop that it's easy to switch and IMO more attractive than Photoshop CS3 which I used to use.

I tried Gimp once a few years ago and had a far worse experience, it slowed me down a lot compared to Photoshop. This may just be because I didn't devote enough time to get used to it.

I switched to Pixelmator for the same reasons. The only thing I really wish it had was dockable palettes.

But I'm also a little amazed that there still isn't a good Photoshop replacement.

It's hard. Inkscape is a good Corel Draw replacement, and the drawing functions in Open/Libre Office aren't bad. In 3D land, there's Blender, which is a good 3D animation program. (It still has the UI from hell, though. 3D UIs are really, really hard to do well.) GIMP started life as a command-line program and had a GUI tacked on later. That never works well.

Pinta Image Editor tries to be Microsoft Paint with some extra Photoshop LE features. It has roughly the right feature set, and a reasonable Photoshop-like UI, but it's so buggy it's useless. Components of the GUI randomly disappear. The drag markers from selection end up in the actual image. Resizing fails for moderately large images. The original developer abandoned it around 2012, and while it's getting some maintenance, it's still not very stable. Putting the current 2014 release into the Ubuntu repository might help.

Gimp is good for basic photo editing and manipulation, but it sucks as a professional-grade tool. Gimp can't handle raw images. It can't handle more than 8 bits per channel, no CMYK support. None of the Photoshop CS5 features (like content-aware spot healing) are there.

Yes, it's better than most Photoshop alternatives, but it would never be a satisfactory replacement for, say, commercial photographers. I mean, I've only casually used Photoshop for random freelance work over the years (for clients who don't want to hire a real designer), and in my limited experience I've done things with Photoshop that Gimp literally doesn't have support for.

Is that different from content aware fill? Gimp had that feature first, actually. The workflow difference seems minor to me on this one.


I stand corrected :) I wasn't aware of that feature. However, I believe there are still problems with raw, CMYK, and images with large color depth.

Oh my god I think photoshop has a hideous interface. It is accepted due to the massive traction it has and the number of professionals that are used to it.

It's an interface for professionals. It takes awhile to learn, but when you do, you're rewarded with quite efficient access to the tools given how much Photoshop is capable of.

Thanks for patronizing me. I have used it extensively, professionally for a time and I think it is highly inconsistent and frustrating.

And so what then? You use it because it has traction and because other professionals use it? Or because, as many professionals find, it's the most capable tool for the job at ahnd?

That's a whole other discussion. I'm talking about the interface being inconsistent and painful, whether people need to use it or not.

I'm a pretty expert Photoshop user, and I see it as similar to the command-line. It's not intuitive to a brand new user, but once you get it, it's incredibly efficient and productive. I think this is appropriate for a professional tool.

In my opinion, it is all about training. At school I was trained to use Photoshop, so now everything I have to do with this software seems natural. But it wasn't. It is the same feeling for people who switch from MS Office to Open Office. MS and Adobe did a great job of setting standards.

Paint.net never seems to get much attention. It has a simple interface and a decent featureset for freeware. Windows only.

To me, the biggest feature that Photoshop has that others don't is their type support, especially with kerning. I can accomplish most of what I want with other tools until I need to tweak the kerning of a word. Most tools require you to select pixels and move it over and don't support in-place editing.

If you count inkscape as a "photoshop replacement", it does many of the things photoshop/illustrator does, as well as more, and better. Kinda wish someone just merged the concepts of Paint.NET and Inkscape.

Do you understand the differences between 'raster' and 'vector' images?

Do you know Inkscape?

Inkscape has free-hand and raster tools, you can do masking and such. The GP mentions "in-place text editing" for which PS presumably uses vector methods. I use Inkscape pre- and/or post- GIMP for things like text layers.

I've long thought that a great graphics package could be achieved if Inkscape and The GIMP (or other primarily raster programmes) could draw to [different layers of] the same canvas. Inkscape lets you link in images which is a small step towards this.

"Do you know Inkscape?"

I've been using it on and off since it was Sodiwopi or whatever it was called.

"Inkscape has free-hand and raster tools"

Yes, and Gimp has 'vector tools', so what? GP says "If you count inkscape as a 'photoshop replacement', it does many of the things photoshop/illustrator does" which makes no sense on all levels except the most abstract, like saying a pair of Nikes is like a Mercedes because you can use both to go from point A to point B.

The way the post was phrased with the quotes made it clear that antome felt it was a shaky equivalence. I'd guess they were hooked in with the talk of in-place text editing as being a top differentiator for a _raster_ package (if PS does text manipulation using raster techniques I'll be shocked).

Just consider it to have an implicit "for me" and I'll bet you'll find it hard to find a genuine objection that's worth making.

[PS: SodiPodi, me too]

You mean combining vector and raster layers in one image? Krita does that -- has been doing that since 2006. It's not perfect, but it's there...

Photoshop and Fireworks didn't. That was their strength.

By that I mean they handled both, reasonably well.

absolutely agree with huuu. if you're somehow forced to use gimp, there is at least a better gui enhancement/tweak that tries to replicate photoshop's gui:


Someone will mention Scratch, but then forget to tell you that it's a piece of garbage.

I too have never heard of Natron. Really excited to dig into it!

Paint Shop Pro, anyone?

Checking in! Well, the 12-year-old me (2003).

Jasc Animation Shop for AIM buddy icons!

If only Pixelmator came to Windows (and Linux).

Very unlikely, I think they depend too much on OS X CoreGraphics and other libs to make porting feasible.

Offtopic : I recently visited paris 8 university, and eventhough i'm used to the insanely sad state of french universities, this one won by a large margin. This university is the closest thing you can imagine from a war zone leftover. I was attending a presentation of an intern, and i had to ask people if the building i was in really was still in use...

You probably have to read "inadequate support by adobe" as " we didn't have the money for the licence anymore, and adobe didn't want to give the software for free".

I, French, once chatted with a German and a Russian guy. We've all been students in excellent universities/schools.

The German said: "My studen room was so small, like 16sqm, you could just fit a desk, a bed, a shower and a sink."

I, French, said, believing I had a tougher experience: "I know what it looks like: We were 2 per room for the same size. In winter, heating was on and off, we had to pay attention not to touch the walls while sleeping, otherwise the dew would wet our blankets."

Then the Russian guy came... They were 3 people in the same surface. Heating was optional. At the coldest of the winter, the whole building's electricity would cut off for the night because it couldn't sustain the student's heating units. They didn't have showers at all. They had three common "bathrooms" for the building with sinks only. They could use them at will in the evening, but they had to take turns for the mornings. As in, Mondays and Thursdays. It was a reputated school in Russia.

Visiting a campus in Australia is surrealistic. I'm so speechless to describe the difference in living conditions that, when I want people to imagine the life in Sydney, I tell them to imagine banknotes falling from the sky. That's what the living conditions feel like compared to the old continent.

I am surprised to hear that you consider 16 m^2 small. In Norway, the vast majority of rooms that you can rent from the semi-public student welfare organizations are roughly 7-13 m^2. If you want a bigger living space, you'll either have to shell out for a full-fledged apartment (not affordable for a student unless you have a good part-time job or a "bad" part-time job and make sacrifices with regards to entertainment and alcohol). If you decide to rent a private room or apartment, you will probably get a few more square metres, but will run the risk of an asshole landlord who might steal your deposit, living with people who are not studying and have no plans to do so, and if you're slightly unfortunate there might be mold in your bedroom and/or bathroom as well. The best option is possibly buying an apartment, but that's not possible without heavy monetary support from family or lots of saved-up money from working for years before studying.

All in all, 16 m^2 is definitely on the high end when I look at the private rooms my student friends live in. I probably know more people who live in 5-6 m^2 than live in > 16 m^2 rooms.

With regards to the state of university campuses, it's not even worthwhile to compare private American universities with massive endowments to European public universities (i.e. most European universities) that get all their money from the government, and not one cent more than they need. Why would the government spend millions on campus landscaping when they can move the money to more worthy budgetary posts like health or kindergartens? Private universities in the US and elsewhere simply do not have these restrictions.

"Visiting a campus in Australia is surrealistic. I'm so speechless to describe the difference in living conditions that, when I want people to imagine the life in Sydney, I tell them to imagine banknotes falling from the sky. That's what the living conditions feel like compared to the old continent."

I had the same reaction when visiting US campuses like Stanford and Duke, that looked like resorts compared to the universities I attended in Europe.

On the other hand, I was able to get a perfectly serviceable degree at about 1/10 of the cost...

I'm french and doing a year abroad and seeing the campus of McMaster in Canada was like being in a movie. It's surreal as you say.

16sqm isn't bad, that's about the size of most US dorms I've seen (2 people per room). Heat cutting out is completely unacceptable though. Why would you put up with that?

You ask as if it were some kind of voluntary choice.

The difference originates from who is paying for the college. In the United States, the consumer has a direct choice on the college selection process and the payment process. These choices force the provider, college, to identify things to make it a appealing to the consumer; e.g. nice dorms, safe facilities, new books, etc.

In Germany and France, the college is paid for directly by the government. The most effort is made to reduce costs where possible, including delaying the purchase of new books, dorm room upgrades / accomodations, and infrastructure.

There needs to be a middle ground between these two methods, the college approach in Europe produces people who were developed from middle school for college, those who were not college material were moved into technical schools or apprenticeships; but it lacks ability to change course in later years easily. The American system of college takes everyone who can tie their shoes if they can afford it, some blossom within a college environment and prove their guidance counselors wrong.

It doesn't look so sad to me: http://www.univ-paris8.fr/en/?The-University

It's france. We invented perfume :) Just like third world countries always keep one or two monuments extra clean and luxurious as a flagship, all universities have one or two brand new building, hosting very few students, to keep a good image. If you want real world images, have a look at this blog ( which shows all universities, but you can find some of paris 8 among them) : http://universiteenruines.tumblr.com/

And those pictures really don't show the worst things i've seen.

Looks like German universities I have seen. Of course that short article had to contain at least one sentence bad mouthing private institutions :-)

Did you have a look at the older posts ? I found some really bad ones of paris 8, which doesn?t surprise me. I would be shocked to hear that germans accept this level of dirt.

In my very limited experience, German universities are generally the same, just with proper maintenance. There's no luxury there either - it looks old, but not worn down.

Ancient egyptians, according to history, invented perfumes.


Of course, you're right. That's just a joke we have, that people at the french king's court and the king itself used perfume instead of washing, which helped make perfume popular and fashionable.

And MySpace happened before Facebook.

Krita actually resembles Photoshop quite a lot, and while the feature list is impressive, I don't think it replaces Photoshop 1:1 or is even meant too for that matter. Krita is more aimed at digital painting, Photoshop isn't a digital painting application, if anything, that's what Illustrator is for.

For a free application you have to give props to Krita, it looks fantastic and plenty of digital artists and illustrators have been raving on about how great it is since it came out. It definitely appeals to me more than Gimp, but I would still probably use Gimp over Krita for general photo touching and editing though. Even the about page on the Krita site itself speaks of illustrators and more drawing purposes. I mean if it works as a Photoshop replacement for some, then that's great. Undoubtedly a cool application.

> Photoshop isn't a digital painting application, if anything, that's what Illustrator is for.

You're wrong here. If you really mean digital painting, then Photoshop is the tool of the trade, mostly because of the brushes "engine".

IMHO you can find a better brush engine in Corel Painter. Also, there is a vast amount of Digital Painting and Sketching apps out there.

Photoshop definitely wasn't intended for the wide variety of use-cases it now supports, but it is definitely the front-runner for digital painting, 95% of concept artists/comic colourists or similar artists I know or have seen use Photoshop. Krita looks fantastic, really capable, but I haven't had a chance to try it, mainly because all of my brushes and settings are in Photoshop.

Most designers I know will draw on illustrator and maybe finish up in Photoshop. Since Photoshop is a sort of common baseline in the industry it's used as a general tool to aid in the finishing of artwork even when said artwork is not really in its domain.

Illustrator seems widely used in brand and web design alright, but for example concept artists and comic artists I know never leave Photoshop, start to finish.

Ignore the names "Photoshop" and "Illustrator"; they are historical artifacts. Illustrator is pretty much the last thing you want to use for doing painterly work. If you see digital paintings, there is a very high probability they're done with PS. Pretty much every piece of concept art you see for a video game was done in PS.

(That said, I'll be spending the next few years doing a painterly comic book in Illustrator, but that is honestly more a function of me having used it as my main medium for fourteen years than it is of it being the best tool for the job.)

I'm not a pro or anything, but for general photo touching and editing (at the level of cleaning up my own photos) I'd use Krita over Gimp; it has all the functionality I've ever found myself needing, and in a much nicer interface.

Oddly enough the one place where I switch to Gimp is drawing, as Gimp has slightly better graphics tablet support.

Illustrator is not for digital painting. Did you mean Corel Painter?

I think it should be OK for teaching. It's not bad for students to learn multiple tools instead of learning only the one tool that everyone uses.

Krita's site is under a lot of pressure right now. If you've never heard of it, learn more here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krita

It's a Photoshop alternative in the same way Word is an alternative to vim. You can use them both to make a text file, but they have very different specialisms. Krita is a very capable drawing package while Photoshop is a print finishing app that got really bloated.

What do you mean by pressure?

A lot of people are trying to look at it just to find out what Krita is, which is putting a high additional load on their server. Hence the link to Wikipedia instead.

(Maybe it's because I'm English, but I really thought 'pressure' would be quite obvious in this context.)

"The Krita Web site is seeing very high traffic at the moment" might be better for a multi-lingual audience.

Glad to see free/open source software getting some exposure. My College makes GIMP, Inkscape, Audacity and LibreOffice available on its Windows desktops alongside commercial alternatives. Students get used to both.

Oh, I thought of some kind of social pressure.

If you are interested about Krita, may I also recommend checking out MyPaint? The two programs are similar but very different also, I routinely use them both.

What I like about Krita is that it's very powerful, its interface has a lot of stuff going on (not a bad thing, it's very easy to understand and use) and it's definitely the better digital painting application out of the two.

What I think works better in MyPaint is sketching and quick notes/drawing. It has the concept of infinite canvas where you can keep drawing and drawing and drawing. I also prefer its preset brushes over Krita's, but that's just personal preference. My normal workflow is, if I want to draw some painting with definite proportions and size and everything, I use Krita. If I just want to sketch something or jot down some notes, I use MyPaint. My last infinite canvas with MyPaint ended up being over 200MB of png with a very ridiculous resolution because I kept writing and writing and zooming and zooming all my notes and I didn't notice how big it actually became (I use it as a big whiteboard for sketching my projects).

+1 - the loved one does a lot of digital painting and generally uses MyPaint. Though Krita is pretty good too, and has specialised from being KDE's "me too!" for GIMP to being specifically tweaked for artists.

I never used Krita before today-- trying it out, it made me realize how much I love MyPaint.

(NOTE: I'm mostly a pen-and-ink illustrator who's very much a novice in the digital realm)

MyPaint, though, makes it really easy to toy around with one hand on the keyboard with nice one-stroke shortcuts. I'm totally able to make a drawing with one hand on the keyboard and one hand on the tablet.

The minimalist interface for MyPaint is really terrific. I can't recommend it enough...

While I think Krita looks really great what I've found is that artist and designers are some of the most entrenched software users around. The sentiment "you'll want to use Photoshop, because it's the industry standard" is tough to beat. I know some that use Manga Studio, but never without Photoshop to double-check the results.

That's what people said about Quark XPress, but failing to have a smooth transition to MacOSX doomed them. It didn't even have to be a very smooth one, since Adobe took forever to ship the ancestor of creative suite.

I'd agree that it's a precarious hold, but when it's lost I expect it'll be because Adobe did something, artists and designers I've talked to aren't interested in alternatives, or if they are they keep using photoshop alongside it, to check if the CMYK is the same etc, hesistant to trust a new product.

Adobe have done something - Creative Cloud and subscription-based purchasing - and it's given the indie Mac app market (Pixelmator etc.) a huge boost.

More, I suspect there's a delayed effect where people are still holding on to their non-subscription copies of CS. I'm a heavy Illustrator user; I'm still on CS 5.5, but when the time comes to upgrade it won't be to Illustrator CC.

I think the problem of staying on a version of Photoshop has existed for a long while. I agree Creative Cloud is a big misstep, but surprisingly to me some artist friends really like it.

Yes, I'd agree that it's been common to "skip a version" or similar. Effectively you get Photoshop (or whatever) at a reduced cost.

So you can see the logic behind Creative Cloud: Adobe have both prevented this behaviour, and struck against piracy. They're clearly betting that this will outweigh the reduced sales, and that Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign are so essential that few people will pass it up. I'm not convinced they're right.

Without piracy Adobe would die. It's essentially their noncommercial subscription plan and keeps Photoshop available to students etc. It's a part of Adobe's business model.

>and struck against piracy

A known torrent site begs to differ!

I absolutely adore Krita, it really is one of my favourite programs. It's very intuitive in its controls and very good at "getting out of the way" when you're painting.

For example, it has a quick-selection wheel that pops up when you press right mouse button. It's a radial design with the outer layer being your favourite brushes, then your last used colours and in the middle it has a colour-selection triangle. This means that if you're drawing in full-screen mode (hiding all the controls) you hardly ever have to switch back to the menus to tweak stuff (changing brush size is also done by holding shift and dragging), only to switch layers really. (that is my work-flow at least)

And, if anyone is looking for an OSS project to contribute too: Development is very active and open, it's written in C++ Qt/KDE. :)

"but because of inadequate support from the company the department decided to replace that."

I read that as "Adobe got greedy"

Well, good for Krita.

Part of PS/AI success is that students use it at Uni (and later on at work, and most of the workflow, even going to printing uses it)

Print is something that's really, really hard to do if you're not on Adobe's products. I recently had to prepare a set of playing cards for printing. My workflow was SVG Template + data + script for processing them into finished SVG cards, then using Inkscape to convert them to PDF. It works really nice, but I totally forgot about CMYK. Trying to adapt that pipeline to another colour space and colour profiles to match what the printer accepted proved to be impossible. Ghostscript happily takes a colour profile, only to ignore it (without warning). Converting RGB to CMYK worked, but turned out to be not the best choice because you cannot get pure black that way, ever. And finding anything to replace colours in the finished PDFs turned out to be impossible, too. Except for Illustrator.¹

The whole thing being a side project I really wanted to make it work with free (both meanings) software as much as possible, but some things are pretty damn hard that way. Of ourse, if all you do is web or other screen stuff then there are plenty of options beside Adobe, and lots of them free or free™.

TL;DR: In some lines of work there really is no way around PS/AI/ID because that's what the whole industry is working with and also because the alternatives are lacking in some crucial areas.


¹ By now I found out that SVG 2 supports device colours and Batik has an experimental branch where those are implemented, which means I may just switch from Inkscape to Batik for the next printing run and try that.

Is the design of the playing cards open? I am always looking for nice demos for our open source database publishing software, which does handle cmyk + spotcolors etc. (https://speedata.github.io/publisher/index.html)

I almost always use the cards from either http://svg-cards.sourceforge.net/ or https://code.google.com/p/vectorized-playing-cards/; both are open source.

Sort of. Still busy with work and other things, but eventually it should all be available somewhere. Drop me a mail and I can give you a link. And your application looks like a very close fit of what I actually was looking for when I began this.

>Converting RGB to CMYK worked, but turned out to be not the best choice because you cannot get pure black that way, ever. //

Using black point compensation? Is it that you don't want to use rich black but want pure black (100% key)?

Black point compensation (didn't hear of it before, just looked it up) seems to be aimed at increasing detail in dark parts of photos where several different colours get mapped by the colour space conversion to more or less the same printed colour. It does not seem to be a method of saying RGB(0, 0, 0) should get mapped to CMYK(0, 0, 0, 1), no matter what the colour profile says.

A designer told me that RGB black is darker than CMYK pure black, thus the need for a mixed colour whenever you start with RGB instead of using CMYK from the very beginning.

I guess it is less about pricing alone. Many universities have trouble [1] with Adobe's Creative Cloud licensing which is mandatory for new licensing agreements. Adobe apparently did not consider educational institutions in its licensing conditions. For example, licenses need to be bought per user (individual persons) now, no longer per seat. This makes it impossible to install Adobe software in labs. Furthermore, storing student data in the Cloud is not (easily) compatible with data protection regulations at universities.

LRZ - the central computing center for all universities in Munich - had actually spent months drafting an acceptable licensing contract together with Adobe Germany. In November 2014, Adobe USA told LRZ that they would not agree to this contract, essentially giving them the finger [1].

LRZ now recommends all universities to switch away from Adobe software where possible.

Given that Krita is 'good enough' for most courses, it remains to be seen whether that was the right decision for Adobe.

[1] https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=de&tl=en&u=h...


Adobe really shot themselves in the foot there, even if they still haven't realized it.

This is pretty much what Adobe did to Quark: they didn't interrupt their competitor when they were making a mistake.

I used to work at a college and had experience of this firsthand. When Adobe launched the Creative Cloud suite, they switched to a SaaS model in the guise of being able to offer updates more often, along with providing some small features like storage of files in their cloud. Basically, they wanted to charge yearly since users would generally skip a version or two before seeing enough of a motivating feature improvement. (Prior to this Adobe tried x.5 upgrades) The cost of licenses varies depending upon an institution's bargaining ability.

For the "benefit" of getting SaaS we could either pay an extraordinary amount over our previous license in order to get the same number of licenses, or we could get a site license for only a fairly large amount more than our previous license. Mind you that we had little warning about this change, and academic budgets tend not to follow the typical business cycle.

Now the benefit of the site license is that all your users can become dependent upon Adobe, so when they raise the cost in the future you'll be more than obligated to agree.

Upon hearing about this changes, which brought _no real benefit to users_, one local school actually had Adobe's salesperson ejected from campus. :)

In terms of support, CC had a special enterprise edition with its own installer that generated CC packages for deployment. It was not the smoothest deployment for many institutions, it was difficult to maintain, and when I ran into a problem with licensing it took running into a higher level Adobe rep at a conference before I could make progress (our own rep eventually stopped helping). Also, there was some software included in Enterprise CC -- software that could actually benefit from "the cloud" in creating websites -- that would not work out in a mult-user environment unless you wanted your users to erase each other's Adobe cloud hosted websites. Yes, this behavior was documented, but being that it was one of the few useful "cloud" features CC offered, it was pretty disappointing for it to be unusable with our site license.

Entrepreneurs, listen. I know education is a tough nut to crack. But I'm sure it's not just education that is fed up with Adobe. Remember that Quark was once one of the big guys, but their licensing and support was so bad that InDesign took over. Yes, I had teachers complaining about Quark's licensing -- not the cost, but the horrible, broken license server. These kinds of things can destroy your business.

PS: You would not believe how many users ask for Adobe Acrobat just to save Word files as PDFs. Office has (or at least had) a built-in plugin to do this, and OS X supports exporting to PDFs natively via print.

Getting a presentation from http://davidrevoy.com/ sounds like a motivating way to start using the program :-)

There's a really nice video course for Krita: https://krita.org/item/muses/

Krita has a few unique features. I love the tiling mode to help you draw seamless textures. I love all the brushes out of the box. I do not love the performance on Windows. Maybe Linux is better but both 2.8 and the new beta if you start drawing with big brushes on a big canvas, even with a late model computer setup, it bogs really bad. Now you could argue that a 4K image is gonna take performance. BUT it's the first preset document with like 3-4 brushstrokes and it's starting to lag bad. I would consider my experience with the windows version Alpha at best due to performance issues.

If you like graphics and want to do something to save money on a lot of licenses - look at replacing illustrator with Xara on Windows or Affinity Designer on Mac. Or try to roll back to an earlier Photoshop like CS2. I really really want to love Krita and I'll give it a shot on Linux when I get the chance but sheesh, any classroom wanting to adopt it en masse is definitely trading one evil for another.

I have no desire to buy photoshop cc at this moment in time, I like to purchase licenses. I'll stick with CS6 as absolutely long as possible. But educational pricing on Adobe software has always been pretty good. Time spent in school is impermanent so it fits pretty well with the CC model.

It looks nice, never seen it before but I'll try to find the time to have a play with it.

Photoshop, like other well established tools, is nearly impossible to replace. There are whole industries born with it in their hands, and you'd have to pry it from their cold dead bodies.

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with PS. It does so much more than I could ever imagine, with features I will never know about.

For web development it's a bit suboptimal, but it's still the standard. It's not streamlined - we have pages with standard headers etc, I know there's some support for embedding PS files in other PS files but it's not the promoted way of working. It allows people create graphics that are unsuitable for the web / hard to unpick into layers that you can use (better css support has made things better but I spent over a decade trying to get suitable flat images out of PS files).

These days, no longer working with designers in an agency, I just do everything straight to html/css so that it works without jumping through any hoops.

Whoa, today is the first time I've heard about Krita. Visually, seems very powerful, original, and a much more interesting PS replacement than Gimp is.

Gotta download and try it out!

It's pretty well known to KDE users ;)

Krita is great for what it is, but saying 'Goodbye Photoshop, hello Krita' is akin to saying 'Goodbye tractor, hello vespa'. If all you're doing is trying to get from A to B, a vespa certainly may be a better option, but don't think that a vespa can do what a tractor can do.

Even GIMP is far behind what Photoshop can provide. Want a really good look at what the differences are between the two? Look at GIMP's development roadmap: http://wiki.gimp.org/index.php/Roadmap

It's usually a pretty quick view of the delta between the two programs. Krita is missing most if not all of these too. Some of the big features Krita and Gimp are missing:

1.) Non-destructive editing capabilities. Krita and GIMP have masks, which is a start, but neither support smart objects (dynamically sized/edited objects that don't destroy/replace pixel data on resize) or adjustment layers. This is huge. Unless you're a painter, no one in the industry uses destructive editing techniques.

2.) High bit depth. This is another big one. Since most of the crowd on HN are more familiar with code than design, I'll put it in code terms: pretend that you had to do precision work, but a Math.floor() function was called every time you did any arithmetic. When you're doing light adjustments/corrections, blending, color correction, and such, the work can introduce heavy banding when you're working in 8bits per channel. By switching to 16bits per channel you provide way more fidelity on the individual pixel level, eliminating a lot of banding in your final product. Even if you have a monitor that can only display 8bit color, working in 16 can change your end result drastically.

There are some minor features too that bug me. The inability to add a mask to layer groups is a big one for me. Layer effects (while often overused and gaudy) can be really helpful for design work - need to change the color of an icon that's raster art? Just drop a color overlay on it. If you have style swatches, it can be really easy to do fast mockups using this. This in conjunction with Layer Comps (also something missing in Gimp right now) can really help in switching between two or more alts.

These programs are a long way off from being Photoshop. Whenever I see a story like this where Photoshop is replaced by GIMP/Krita, what I see isn't that these things have the capability to replace Photoshop, but rather that the people who replaced it were only using a tiny subset of Photoshop's capabilities, and found something more suited to their usecase.

Well, I guess you haven't checked out Krita since 2003. Krita got adjustment layers (which are basically masks with a filter that applies right there in the layer stack) in 2004 (2005, it's a long time, and I can't be arsed to check on the exact date).

16 bit integer, 16 bit float and 32 bit float followed in the same year. OpenEXR has been supported for about a decade. OpenColorIO was added two years ago, so there's the LUT functionality needed for movie and vfx people.

And have you actually tried Krita? I mean, group layers were a 2004 or 2005 addition as well, and you can add transparency masks, local selection masks, filter masks or transformation masks to groups just like you can add them to vector, pixel, clone, filter, fill (color, pattern, other generators) or file (external file added in your layer stack) layers.

Smart objects? There are vector layers, where you can add any svg image or editable vector object.

Layer effects? Well, that's something we're working on. It isn't too difficult, but a lot of work just typing in all that code. Previously, we assumed that people could make do with filter masks and layers, but well, this is one thing where we'll do a clone job, I guess.

Color overlays? Gosh, take a fill layer with a color and the right blending mode. Or do something else -- a HSV colorize filter mask, for instance.

I've been really surprised recently by Paint.Net. It actually does a lot of the "basic" photoshop stuff really well. It may be difficult to create graphical masterpiece type stuff but for the basics it's great.

Would be nice to see something like that cross platform with a decent UI. Gimp is cool and I've spent countless hours with it but the interface is simply clunky.

Will definitely check this out.

Discovered Krita a while a ago. The brush parameter system is excellent. You can really go nuts with all the settings. Defaults are good too.

Never used it before, on first glance it reminds me of Manga Studio (which I love). Anyone ever use both and can offer a comparison?

I'm looking for a system that can do calligraphic pens along paths. (I use this for cartoons).

I know Adobe Illustrator can do this. But Inkscape can't. (Yes, it has a calligraphic pen, but it is too direct, i.e., it doesn't allow the paths to be changed using the anchorpoints; it also doesn't allow the calligraphic strokes to be converted to paths).

I suspect the cost had more to do with the switch than the product itself but it's a bit mystifying to me while a school focused on art and image editing wouldn't teach Photoshop to their students since there's a 100% chance they will have to work with it on their job.

The Krita website is running a tad slow https://krita.org/download/krita-desktop/ however download is possible if you are patient.

Looks like a very interesting tool for creating art/comics.

I went to #krita on IRC to alert about this and bcooksley just fixed the website performance problem!

I suspect the current performance of the website might have something to do with Hacker News :)

the website is up again!! :)

Just to let you know, I confirm that Krita is very unstable in a Mac. The "fatal failure and you lost everything you did" kind of unstable. So far I can not recommend Krita+Mac for anything other than tinkering around.

Definitely! Don't use Krita on OSX for real work. It's labeled as _experimental_ for a reason! And that's the guy who did the port talking. Also, there are lots of features missing still. It's there to show that it can be done, but the Mac port of Krita needs funding -- about 30k euros, at least, to make it work well.

Krita is not an Photoshop surrogat ... it's not even a surrogat for Gimp.

This is a very apt statement. It is not a surrogate for anything. Krita is its own thing. A tool designed very specifically for digital painting, and not trying to clone or replace anything. That it /can/ replace some things is a lucky coincidence.

It is for this specific group of people (The Art and Technology of Image department at University Paris 8).

s/surrogat/surrogate → https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/surrogate

Anyone knows if we can access the 4 hour long David Revoy presentation? It would have been awesome!

Krita doesnt have proper support or Macs yet.

Obligatory Pixelmater mention.

What a load of bullshit. Photoshop for students is $10 a month. That's $120 a year. Most students at most schools are throwing away probably $1000/year on textbooks (in the US).

Krita doesn't even work on OS X for crying out loud. This is not good for the students. Not good at all.

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