Krita (// KREE-tə) is a free and open-source raster graphics editor designed primarily for digital painting and 2D animation. It runs on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and Chrome OS. It features an OpenGL-accelerated canvas, colour management support, an advanced brush engine, non-destructive layers and masks, group-based layer management, vector artwork support and switchable customisation profiles. It is written in C++ using Qt.
The project's name "Krita" is primarily inspired by the Swedish words krita, meaning "crayon" (or chalk), and rita which means "to draw". Another influence is from the ancient Indian epic Mahabharata, where the term "krita" is used in a context where it can be translated into "perfect".
Early development of the project can be tracked back to 1998 when Matthias Ettrich, founder of KDE, showcased a Qt GUI hack for GIMP at Linux Kongress. The idea of building a Qt-based image editor was later passed to KImage, maintained by Michael Koch, as a part of KOffice suite. In 1999, Matthias Elter proposed the idea of building the software using Corba around ImageMagick. To avoid existing trademarks on the market, the project underwent numerous name changes: KImageShop, Krayon, until it was finally settled with "Krita" in 2002. The first public version of Krita was released with KOffice 1.4 in 2004. In years between 2004 and 2009, Krita was developed as a generic image manipulation software like Photoshop and GIMP.
Change of direction happened to the project in 2009, with a new goal of becoming a digital painting software like Corel Painter and SAI. Also from that point, the project began to experiment with various ways of funding its development, including Google Summer of Code and funded jobs for students. As a result, the development gained speed and resulted in better performance and stability.
The Krita Foundation was created in 2013 to provide support for Krita's development. It collaborated with Intel to create Krita Sketch as a marketing campaign and Krita Studio with KO GmbH as commercially supported version for movie and VFX studios. Kickstarter campaigns have been used to crowdfund Krita's development since 2014.
In May 23, 2020, the beta version of Krita was released for Android and Chrome OS.
The current version of Krita is developed with Qt 5 and KDE Frameworks 5. It is designed primarily for concept artists, illustrators, matte and texture artists, and the VFX industry. It has the following key features
The most prominent feature of Krita is arguably its UX design with graphics tablet users in mind. It uses a combination of pen buttons, keyboard modifiers and an icon-based HUD to ensure frequently-used functions can be accessed by fewer clicks, without the need to search through text-based menus.
Most-used drawing commands can be blindly accessed by combining keyboard modifiers with pen/mouse buttons and gestures:
Pop-up Palette is Krita's right click HUD. It enables instant access to the following functions:
Krita's core digital painting tools include:
Krita's animation tools are designed for frame-by-frame raster animation. They have the following features:
Krita uses vector tools for non-destructive editing of the following objects:
Krita's layer and mask features include:
Krita's resource manager allows each brush or texture preset to be tagged by a user and quickly searched, filtered and loaded as a group. A collection of user-made presets can be packaged as "bundles" and loaded as a whole. Krita provides many such brush set and texture bundles on its official website.
Customisable tool panels are known as Dockers in Krita. Actions include:
Workspaces allow UI customizations for different workflows to be saved and loaded on demand.
OpenGL accelerated canvas is used to speed up Krita's performance. It provides the following benefits:
Full colour management is supported in Krita with the following capabilities:
Krita has a collection of built-in filters and supports G'MIC filters. It has realtime filter preview support.
Filters included in a default installation: levels, colour adjustment curves, brightness/contrast curve, desaturate, invert, auto contrast, HSV adjustment, pixelise, raindrops, oil paint, gaussian blur, motion blur, blur, lens blur, colour to alpha, color transfer, minimise channel, maximise channel, top/left/bottom/right edge detection, sobel, sharpen, mean removal, unsharp mask, gaussian noise removal, wavelet noise reducer, emboss horizontal only/in all directions/(laplacian)/vertical only/with variable depth/horizontal and vertical, small tiles, round corners, phong bumpmap.
Krita's native document format is Krita Document (.kra). It can also save to many other file formats including PSD.
Krita's mascot is Kiki the Cyber Squirrel, a robotic, anthropomorphic squirrel character created by Tyson Tan. The community collectively decided the mascot to be a squirrel. The first version of Kiki was posted to the KDE forum in 2012 and was used in Krita version 2.6's introduction booklet. Kiki has been used as Krita's startup splash screen since Krita version 2.8. So far, each new version of Krita has come with a new version of Kiki. Kiki has been used for Krita's merchandise shop items and Krita's Steam project artworks.
Krita sprints are events during which Krita developers and artists get together for a few days, exchange ideas and do programming face-to-face, in order to speedup development and improve relationships between members.