Originally published March 23, 2018. Scroll down for news about the 4.4 update.
The Krita Foundation has released Krita 4.0, a major update of the open source software for digital painting that supports Python scripts, a new text tool, and significantly extends Krita's vector functions.
The release also continues to update the software's core toolset for painting, with the pixel brush engine supporting multithreading, masked brushes, and the brush editor being redesigned.
SVG now standard for vector graphics tools
Many of the new features in Krita 4.0 focus on SVG support. The industry standard replaces ODG as Krita's standard format for vector graphics, with the software's vector tools “created from scratch”.
In addition to importing SVG files created in other apps and improving the stability of the existing tools, it is now also possible to Boolean combine vector objects via the context menu with the right mouse button.
Krita currently supports "most" of the current SVG 1.1 standard and will support the upcoming SVG 2.
New text tool with rich text editor window and SVG support
SVG is also used as the basis for the new text tool.
The update introduces a new rich text editing window and an SVG source window that can be used to format text directly in the editor, including editing SVG code to control kerning and letter spacing.
The tool is described as being in progress. Line breaks, finer typographic control, and vertical text layout for Asian languages are planned for future releases.
Multithreading for pixel brushes as well as a new brush editor and brush presets
Work to improve the performance of the core architecture – a key part of Krita 3.0 – continued, this time with an emphasis on multithreading the pixel brush engine.
The work was sponsored by Intel: a detailed technical breakdown can be found on the Intel website.
The changes not only improve the interactivity when painting, but also allow painting with much larger brushes: The size limit has been relaxed from 1,000 to 10,000 pixels.
So far, multithreading only applies to pixel brushes – other engines like Color Smudge may follow suit – but you can actually specify how many cores to use in the performance settings.
In addition, the Brush Editor has been updated to make it easier for you to rename brushes or edit their thumbnails and add new curve presets.
There's also a new Masked Brush feature that lets you apply a second brush tip to mask the first while you paint. This way you can create a number of new effects.
Krita's brush presets have also been updated, in part to reflect the new functionality. The final collection was curated by concept artist and illustrator David Revoy.
Color line drawings in just a few strokes with the new Mask Mask tool
Another nice new feature is a new tool for coloring the mask for coloring line drawings.
The tool makes it possible to scribble roughly over the areas of the drawing that should be filled with a specific color, and then let Krita automatically create a detailed mask.
The mask can be edited after creation and is saved in the Krita scene file.
To make precision painting easier, there is now the ability to display a pixel grid when zooming in beyond a custom zoom level, and to set the angles and spacing of the isometric grid.
Support for python scripts and background saving
The workflow changes include support for Python scripts, which can be used to extend or change the native functionality of Krita through scripts.
The version includes a number of sample scripts ranging from one for assigning brush presets to keyboard shortcuts to a full tool for managing multiple pages when working on comics.
There is now also background storage, which should allow you to work more normally while Krita automatically saves or exports animations. and a new, more industry standard, darker UI theme for the software.
You can see a full list of the changes via the link below – there are still a few minor features.
Updated June 28, 2018: Krita 4.1 has been released and adds a new reference image tool to replace the old Docker for reference images that was removed in version 4.0.
It can be used to display multiple reference images – you can place them inside or outside the canvas with a variety of display options – and save them in the scene file or reference them as external links.
Other changes include the option to save and reload sessions, ie all open windows and documents, as well as creating workspace layouts for setting up multiple monitors.
There are also improvements in the animation workflow, color picker and vanishing point wizard, as well as support for Python 2. A full list of changes can be found at the link below.
Updated May 30, 2019: Krita 4.2 is out. The update extends the HDR painting workflow and enables HDR images to be displayed in HDR on suitable monitors and easily edited.
The functionality is currently only available in the Windows edition of the software.
Other new functions include support for masking color scales, at least in the Artistic Color Selector and in the Advanced Color Docker. Currently this is not supported in the standard triangular color picker.
The artistic color picker itself as well as the color palette have been improved several times.
There are also performance improvements when it comes to painting, especially on multi-core CPUs, as well as the option to configure automatic file backups. The Python API has been extended to support Krita's animation tools.
Updated June 19, 2020: Krita 4.3 has been released and offers a number of new functions for emulating natural media effects.
The option to set the opacity and lightness values separately for colored brush tips allows you to create brushstrokes with textures similar to oil or acrylic paint.
There's also a new set of brush presets that mimic watercolors, including settings for wiping, thinning, or erasing existing strokes.
Other changes include the option to use limited color palettes or dithering patterns in gradient maps to create retro-style graphics, as well as new spiral and bilinear gradient patterns.
The version also includes a Photoshop style high pass filter and a magnetic selection tool.
Additionally, a neat new snapshot docker allows you to save thumbnails showing the evolution of an image and toggle between them as a sort of visual undo system.
There are also updates to color handling, layer system, animation toolset, and overall performance.
Updated October 19, 2020: Krita 4.4 has been released and revises the handling of filling layers by the software.
The filling layer system is now multi-threaded and improves the performance on multi-core CPUs. With SeExpr support, you can code your own custom fills using Disney's open source expression language.
The update also adds a multigrid fill for effects such as Penrose tiles, a number of pre-made screen tone fills, and the option to rotate or otherwise transform fill layer patterns.
It is now also possible to select hue, saturation and lightness simultaneously in the MyPaint color selection (see above) and to create gradients that are dynamically updated with your foreground and background colors.
There are also new third-party add-ons for separating image channels into layers and for batch exporting layers from Krita. A full list of changes can be found via the links below.
Availability and system requirements
Krita 4.4 is now available for Windows 8.1+, macOS 10.12+ and Linux. The Krita for Android Edition is available now. The software is available under a GPL license and can therefore be downloaded free of charge.
For a full list of what's new in Krita 4.4, see the online Release Notes
Download Krita for Windows, Linux, or macOS
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