Krita launches second Kickstarter campaign to fund development

Krita launches second Kickstarter campaign to fund development

Creating a state-of-the-art digital painting application is neither easy nor cheap. After last year's success, Krita is launching their second Kickstarter campaign, this time — to fund painting performance improvements and complete the work on animation support.

We asked Boudewijn Rempt, the project leader, a few rather technical questions about the planned work.

The first of your grand plans for this campaign is taking on Photoshop in terms of painting speed. What exactly are you going to do?

We knew all along that Photoshop works interactively at reduced sizes — basically on a mipmap of the original image content, not just the display, and probably also compresses the image data it isn't using directly.

So last year, during last year's kickstarter, Dmitry started looking into how that would function — you have to juggle virtual memory, the mipmap, the compression... And we got far enough for a proof of concept.

It needs to be done right inside Krita's core tile engine, which is coincidentally also where we need to make changes to support frames in paint devices (for animation).

With a "let's make it faster than Photoshop!" slogan wouldn't you end up in a situation where people would request running sensible comparative tests between two apps when you're done?

That's not unlikely. The main focus is painting: what we did last year was draw a diagonal across the canvas and visually check lag. If you set the cache levels in Photoshop CS2 to 1, then it behaves much like Krita.

Isn't there a way to measure that lag programatically?

I haven't looked into that. We do have some benchmarks that measure painting speed, though

Do you expect using these benchmarks much or rely on perceptual tests?

It's up to Dmitry, but for comparison, mostly perceptual tests, I think. After all, we can't instrument Photoshop. The most important things is that painters should feel it's just as fast and smooth so they can switch to free software, to Krita, without giving up productivity.

On the campaign's page you mention upcoming support for "big brushes with a diameter over 3000 pixels". Is it about meeting the rising market's demand for content that looks good on 4K and beyond?

Yes, we see that people are making bigger and bigger images, using bigger and bigger brushes. I'm not totally sure why. Sometimes people work with resolutions that seem unnecessary high, especially for web comics. But on the other hand, if they want to go to print, it might be necessary.

You have a student who's already working on animation within Google Summer of Code 2015 program, and now you propose another paid project for that feature. How will those converge?

Basically, doing animation right needs more than one student: we expect we'll need at least 3 months full-time work from either me or Dmitry as well.

So at least two people overall?

Yes, it's a big job, and Jouni Pentikäinen is doing really well, but it's too much for just one guy. We really want to avoid another proof-of-concept that's almost ready to be merged, but not quite.

This is what time you start adding animation to Krita now?

This is our fourth attempt at animation, and we want to do it right, with all that we've learned before.

Regarding implementation details: is some sort of basic tweening planned, as much as is possible for bitmaps?

What we want to do is put (nearly) all properties of layers and masks on a timeline with a curve. Which means that a transform mask will transform in between keyframes, and that will transform the associated raster data. Same with filter masks and layers.

So there will be keyframes?

Yes. In fact, they already are there, we've got a working prototype, tough using it is an exercise in working around bugs, of course.

But you don't have the image processing core exposing properties to the animation engine yet?

No, that's part of the plan. Right now, only swapping pixel data is 'done'. We always used to have animation as a plugin, away from Krita's core, right now it's going to be deep in the tile manager.

What do you expect will be the most difficult part?

Memory consumption, which is why we've got the performance target as well — Dmitry and Jouni have spent a big part of the sprint weekend two weeks ago doing a really careful internal design.

Do you mean consumption bump would happen because of calculating and executing all transitions?

Not just that, consumption all in all. People will want to do a 30 second clip with 10 layers at 1920x1200 or even higher. That's never going to fit in memory if we're naive about it.

Will you have to rewrite the tile manager much?

Parts of it, part of the rendering engine. Dmitry wants to build on his level-of-details proof-of-concept he did last year.

Will there be some smart caching/baking involved?

Both, I suspect. Caching of layer data, baking of rendered frames.

Meanwhile Blender is going further with their own painting feature set, if you saw the recent video...

Yes, the world is big enough for Blender and Krita :-)

When we're done, potentially every Krita's .kra file will have animation, so one thing I'm looking forward to is people like David Revoy using that to make Pepper and Carrot even cooler.

You can support Krita on Kickstarter. If you aren't familiar with the software yet, grab your download at, it's free forever.

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  1. I think the approach to animation in Krita should be closer to how TVPaint works. That is “tradigital” raster animation, with individual frames being showed in the timeline. I think key frames and tweening are more important to animation software that work with vectors. Not that it shouldn’t be there, but it is not the most needed feature in raster animation. what do you guys think? also, we’ll probably need to animate more than 30 seconds in full HD (1920x1080) per scene, to make movies with enough quality to submit to a festival (for example). this is very important :)

  2. Well, let’s see what we can do when it comes to making longer clips possible. When I talked to pro animators interested in sponsoring this feature last year, they were looking for 30 seconds, 16 bit float, 4k, 100 layers per clip.

    As for tweening: we don’t intend to tween the actual drawings, but to allow properties from e.g. transform masks to be put on a timeline. That should be fun, and useful!

  3. cool! I think 30 seconds is the average, but from time to time you’ll need to animate longer scenes. I’m soo glad to see this feature taking shape! this is much needed in the field - FOSS or not… there isn’t (m)any options other than TVPaint for raster animation software out there! TVPaint is what we used in college and I’m looking for an open solution since then. I’ll back the kickstarter as soon as I can. Thank you for all the hardwork! ;)

  4. Reading your replay again: “30 seconds, 16 bit float, 4k, 100 layers per clip”

    wow! that should be enough : )

  5. wav! this is amazing thing I am looking here. whatever stuff is being implemented awesome. I loved your whole work. Great!

  6. I’d love to see Krita evolving towards the full-scale Photoshop replacement, with few tools often used in image editing (not creating). With 8bf plugins support…
    Am I dreaming?

  7. @Martin

    It’s all possible butthe priorities of the Krita developers lie elsewhere.

    If you could write about the features you want, and picked ones that overlap with what digital paint artists want too, then maybe you can improve the chances of those things happening. Best go ask.

    My guess is the Krita developers are more likely to implement features people think are missing, and less likely to add support for 8bf plugins.

  8. @Anon.
    Yes, I understand, that those priorities are elsewhere.
    In reality, compatibility with PS plugins is quite important IMO. Those plugins delivers not only fancy effects, many of them do very important things, that “pure” image editor is not able to do. In fact, support for the plugins is very important feature - at least with photoediting.

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