Krita Sprint 2011: Technology and art

Last but not least my report from this years Krita sprint. It was the third sprint just for Krita and it was even more amazing than last years sprint. After being at Boud’s house last year we went to the Blender Institute. The move was necessary as the team did grow quite a bit in that time. The second big change from last year was that this year also some artists attended the sprint. As far as I know it’s quite unique that developers and users meet at a sprint. Although they are not just users, but an important part of the development team and have a huge influence on the direction in which Krita is developing.

Artist demos

So why did we invite artists? Many (if not most) Krita developers, are not (professional) artists, so we depend on artists to show us the bugs and workflow problems that they encounter. It was planned that each of the artists would show us about 30 minutes of painting and we would analyse what we could improve.

The demos were really interesting and surprised me at many points. One thing that especially surprised me how good Krita performed during the demos. I usually see Krita from the other side where I known all the existing problems, but the demos did only show a few even when using the most recent development version. The next thing that really surprised me is that some features are more used than I ever imagined, e.g. presets are used a lot and I had not thought that when I added them.

Another interesting observation for me was that all the artists had totally different workflows. The way the build up their images as well as they used Krita was really interesting to see. For example Animtim works with a gamepad in one hand and the tablet in the other hand. Interesting was also that most artists used suprisingly few features and had had configured lots of shortcuts. The screencaps with are available here (with our discussion as audio).

Planning the next year

After the demos we discussed the plans for the next year. There are lots of things that will be coming with the next version, but most of the work goes into polishing with only some bigger changes coming. The only planned refactoring will be in the selection system, this includes also grayscale masks.

For many users interesting is a news that Boud had: There will soon someone who is paid working on the Windows version of Calligra, which will also includes single-application installers. The Windows version always was something we wanted to have, but since all developers are working on Linux nobody was interested in working on that (Mac situation is even worse as most developers don’t even have Apple hardware). I’m hopeful that it can be ready for the next version.

Hacking

After the official part closed we went to implement the things that where noted in the demos in the morning. First I changed the preset dockers as Bugsbane suggested that we should keep the aspect ration of presets and also use the space more efficently. So now the preset docker will keep the presets square while maximizing the usage of the available space.

Another change that I did was to move the opacity setting from the tool options to the toolbar. Now the opacity works globally for all the tools and Silvio is working on the paintop integration.

Finally I also modified a few shortcuts. The brush increase and decrease shortcuts, so now the adapt to the brush size and make bigger changes when the brush is bigger. That one was also quite funny as we had the direct feedback from the artists. We developers had a discussion if the functionally needed to be even better (like exactly following a exponential curve) when the artists said that it was already perfect for them.

This are only the changes I did. There are some many things going on in Krita development at the moment with about half a dozen different branch working on various features.

Many thanks go to Ton Roosendaal and the Blender Institute for the amazing location and of course KDE e.V. for making the sprint possible.

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2 Responses to “Krita Sprint 2011: Technology and art”

  1. Ramon Miranda Says:

    good post, it is very informative and clear. And of course i stay tuned .

  2. Kitty Says:

    Hey, I am not leaving my real name, but how the heck are you supposed to get good at this?!
    I am an awesome typer, but HATE, I repeat, HATE it when I can’t draw on my PC. It’s kind of annoying.

    But otherwise, kudos on the article! Informative, accurate, and I can finally change my brush…

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