10 years of Krita

Today it’s ten years since Matthias Ettrich proposed the idea to write a full-features raster graphics editor, which started the development of the application that we know as Krita today. It’s interesting how Krita changed over the years and how different developers and their visions influenced the development process. Even though the original idea was to develop a replacement for the Kimp hack (which caused a controversial discussion at that time), development went into it’s own direction.

When I joined Krita in 2004, Boudewijn had just picked up development and the new vision was to develop a painting app. Soon more developers with other motivations joined the team and the other aspects like photo editing were added. A bit funny is that I’m neither an artist nor a photographer and I didn’t have a use for an image editing app at that time. I just wanted to work on an exciting project with a nice team, which turned out to be the case for Krita. Meanwhile I have become a lot more interested in computer graphics.

Since then a lot of progress has been made. This is a screenshot I made, just after I finished my second patch (implementing the first dockers) for Krita back in 2004. At this point Krita couldn’t do much more than the really simple painting.


From there development really took off and lots of features got added, leading to three releases with KOffice 1.4 (preview), 1.5 and 1.6. Krita also won the 2006 Akademy Award for Best Application. After that we entered the very long KOffice 2 development cycle, which brought lots of changes and new features to Krita. The good thing is that the next release will happen in a few days and the next versions will be out faster again.


So what will the next 10 years bring? It’s impossible to predict where it will go in the next years. Even though a larger vision of a painting app exists, Krita is mostly driven by the interests of it’s developers. I think there are enough ideas flying around at the moment to keep us busy for the next twenty years. Many things will be discussed on the next KOffice meeting in two weeks, including performance, brushes and collaborative editing.

13 Responses to “10 years of Krita”

  1. Chris Says:


    I just wanted to thank you for developing Krita. The more I use it the more I love it.

    Thanks a lot for all your work and I’m really looking forward to all the shiny stuff you’ll add 🙂

  2. justin Says:

    I found this:


  3. Raul Says:

    Krita is one of my favorite apps. I’m really looking forward for the final relesease of the 2.0 version. Thanks for all your work

  4. Mah... Says:

    I love krita but it’s still a bit buggy for my taste.

    Please focus on performance, stability and photo-editing (including raw support).

  5. Fri13 Says:

    I hope the Krita would get more polishing about it’s UI and configs.
    It might have lots of features but I just cant find them as easily than on GIMP. Even the Photoshop is easier than Krita.

    I must say I have not used Krita lot, but that place me to situation that I am like a new user. Even that I have advanced skills of Photomanipulation on other applications.

    To me it seems that Krita is too much developed as bitmap drawing application what can not work well with SVG or bitmap manipulation workflow.

    I really like the idea of Krita and the work what is done but we would get more developers for it.

  6. slangkamp Says:

    @Fri13: We are always open to suggestions how to improve the interface. I think the current interface shows the current features quite well, but I have a different point of view of course.

    Krita is primarily a painting application with photo manipulation features and more get added. If you only want to do high-end photo manipulation other apps might be better suited for you like Gimp, Photoshop or Digikam. You should choose that you think is the best for your task.

    Krita 2.0 added shape layers, which works quite well I think. Just try for yourself.

  7. tada Says:

    @ slangkamp:
    There is much more request for a photo manipulation application than for a painting application. Digikam is not that.
    Krita does seem to have the architecture to grow into a “photoshop replacement”. Why steer away from this?

  8. slangkamp Says:

    @tada: We are not steering away from it. As I said Krita is mostly driven by the interests of the developers. So if there are developers interested in photo manipulation it will get implemented.

    The fact that there is a lot of request for a “photoshop replacement” will not automatically create one. People want to have an exact 1:1 copy which is simply impossible.

  9. Fri13 Says:

    I would not like that Krita comes a clone of photoshop. Because Photoshop currently has a terrible UI. Photoshop is so widely used so people has learned it but when taking clear differences of UI, the GIMP wins Photoshop.
    The problem just is that many photoshop users has used only PS and learn it’s wierd things (like canvas is a image and layer is a image and image is a layer) and GIMP feels too different for them.

    Krita has possibility to go over PS too. It just needs polishing on many areas, like on the Filter window. We have huge selections on left side as tree, right lots of empty space without tool options. We get automatic (forced) preview for every action and when user clicks “OK” it gets calculated again, even that preview had done it already.

    Hopefully Krita would get GPU acceleration soon for all preview functions etc. Or does it already has it?

  10. slangkamp Says:

    The automatic preview problem is a known issue see https://bugs.kde.org/show_bug.cgi?id=137003 still not completely solved. There is currently a GSoC project running that should make the preview faster. GPU acceleration isn’t useable for all filters and often suffers from bad drivers.

  11. Boudewijn Rempt Says:

    One problem with gpu acceleration is that in order to develop it, developers need computer that support that. I don’t, anymore, so I had to stop working on the opengl canvas and filters.

  12. Boudewijn Rempt Says:

    Well, developer focus is a problem. Actually, I have a focus problem — I tend to work on what I need in Krita, then get sidetracked into working on a problem someone notified me of, get sidetracked on fixing another problem and so on. For me, the goal of Krita is still to make Krita a Corel Painter killer. That includes photo manipulation, but creative image creation is more important.

    I’ve got some patches, btw, to prettify the filter dialog, but I couldn’t commit them for 2.0 and by now Krita has again changed so much that my patches don’t apply anymore!

  13. Framp Says:

    Thank you for your work, Krita is actually an awesome application

    I’d like to spend some words about the Krita vs Photoshop question:
    Krita is a great replacement for art rage or mypaint and you need a graphic tablet to really enjoy it.

    It’s not a photoshop killer (not now), but several blogs/websites pictured Krita in this way leading several users to expect a gimp/photoshop-like software.
    It’s mainly a marketing problem 🙂

    Krita rocks at what it does!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: