Free paint software for creative artists and amateurs with a number of drawing tools, image enhancements and effects for creating digital art.
Krita is a free and open source illustration and painting graphics software suite which performs quite nicely for those with a creative side.
It is a powerful tool that offers a range of features that are commonly found in paid, commercial software. Krita's user-friendly interface and workspace management system make it easy to get started with digital painting.
A suitable and free alternative to Adobe Photoshop
Though many people use expensive software like Adobe Photoshop these days, Krita is an excellent alternative with its own niche. It can be used to create all different types of art and illustrations including those for designers, game creators or cartoons. Some of its features rival that of commercial juggernauts.
The layout of Krita looks familiar, featuring a number of different drawing tools to the left, similar to Photoshop. The top menu has what you might already be used to with menu items such as File, Edit, View, Image, Layer, Select, Filter, Tools, Settings, Window and Help; quite similar again to Photoshop.
A notable feature of Krita is its wrap-around mode, which allows artists to create seamless textures and patterns with ease. This feature is incredibly intuitive and makes it easy to see how your image will repeat itself. The multiple brush engines and blending modes are another great aspect of Krita. The brush engines each have their own logic and behavior, making it possible to achieve a wide range of effects and styles.
Selection and masking tools
Krita has a robust set of selection and masking tools which makes it easy to perform non-destructive changes to your images. The symmetry tools and drawing aids are another example of Krita's powerful features. These tools go beyond basic mirroring and allow artists to take full control over their symmetry. The perspective grids and magnetic shapes are useful for creating accurate drawings.
Filters and effects
The filter and effect system when you're editing an image are pretty great. With them, you can apply filters directly to a layer, or as filter masks or layers. The effect of the filter is previewed on the image, making it easy to see how it will turn out after application. There are a variety of special effects, adjustments, and tools available, including oil paint, emboss, levels, brightness/contrast and more.
A browse through the interface and menu system reveal a number of very cool and professional-grade effects and filters that can be applied to your projects. You're likely to find a number of filters built-in like artistic effects, blurring, sharpening and various enhancements.
Standard image manipulation
The Image menu of Krita provides access to different image manipulation tools such as mirror, flip, rotate, shear image, color space conversion, image split and more. The layer menu does some of what the image menu does and more, as you would expect from specific layer editing options.
The layer and color management system in Krita is comprehensive and well thought out. There are a variety of layer types available, including raster, vector, filter, programmatic, group, and file-backed layers. Each layer has its own settings for visibility, edit lock, transparency lock, and alpha locking, providing the tools you need in order to create complex images for whatever you might be working on. Krita supports a range of color models, including RGBA, Gray, CMYKA, Lab, YCbCr, and XYZ.
To sum it up
Digging in a bit deeper reveals a lot of different gems within Krita and those with artistic inclinations may be tempted to spend a bit more time playing around with the tools and image enhancement features Krita offers.
Overall, Krita is an excellent image editing and paint suite which is fully capable of providing artists and designers with a bunch of free tools otherwise costing quite a bit.
Features of Krita
- Animation Tools: Create animations with frames, timelines and onion skinning.
- Brushes: Hundreds of customizable brush options.
- Color Tools: Use color palettes, gradients and curves.
- Fill and Gradient Tools: Use a range of fill and gradient tools.
- Filters: Apply a variety of visual effects.
- Layer system: Easily stack, merge and blend layers.
- Masking Tools: Hide and reveal sections of an image.
- Multi-Monitor Support: Utilize multiple monitors for workspace.
- Node-based Effects: Create complex visual effects.
- Reference Images: Use reference images in your project.
- Selection tools: Quickly select and modify specific areas of an image.
- Symmetry Tools: Create symmetrical patterns.
- Text Support: Create and edit text layers.
- Transform Tools: Resize, rotate and adjust perspective.
- Vector Tools: Draw lines, curves and shapes.
Compatibility and License
Krita has been released under the open source GPL license on Windows from graphics editors. The license provides the options to freely download, install, run and share this program without any restrictions. The source code for Krita should be freely available and modifications are certainly permitted as well as the option to inspect the software.
The Krita team accepts donations for the continued development of this free software.
What version of Windows can Krita run on?
Krita can be used on a computer running Windows 11 or Windows 10. It comes in both 32-bit and 64-bit downloads.
Other operating systems: The latest Krita version from 2023 is also available for Android and Mac. These are often available from the app store.