2016 Krita Kickstarter is all about the vector and then some

I’m a little late to the party with Krita’s new Kickstarter but that doesn’t mean that I’m not wildly excited about their new endeavor for 2016. The new fundraiser this month focuses on importing and creating vector art, making SVG their standard vector file type. Krita is also evolving their text tool so that it’s easier and more intuitive for users. “We’ve really wanted to go an improve text and vector support in Krita for a really long time, and now’s the time,” says lead developer Boudewijn Rempt.

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A Krita creation made with vectors. Image courtesy of Krita Foundation

This week is the last week for the Kickstarter, so if these tools/features are something that you’ve been waiting for, consider contributing a few dollars to make this development a reality.

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Proven track record

This is the third Kickstarter for the Krita team. The last two have fundraising efforts from Krita were very successful and brought many advancements to the software. The funding made it possible to guarantee development time by paying their developers for their commitment. Funding from the community accelerated the production schedule, making Krita a true contender among commercial software that’s considered the industry standard.

Are vectors the peanut butter in my rastered chocolate?

So why are vectors so important in a painting program. Most artists use paint and photo imaging software without ever touching its vector capabilities. Whenever I interview designers for possible employment, I always ask the fateful question, “Photoshop or Illustrator?” There are people who are ambidextrous when it comes to vector and raster graphics, but everyone, including myself starts from a place of comfort. Early in my design career, I started off loving creating vector art and used programs Photoshop for minor touch up and editing. Bezier handles and curves came natural to me while layer masks and effects took a little more effort.

Vector artists discover and use the vector capabilities in a pixel-based programs like Photoshop and use them with ease. Sometimes I think we may be the only ones that use vector tools in raster software. It took me about ten years to embrace the power of pixels and a brush over the exact nature of vector shapes and lines. I never gave up my love for vector but came to embrace both the point and the pixel. It’s ideal for me as an artist to have tool options based on the work I’m creating.

If you love pixels more than life and start from a place of raster in your heart, try dabbling in the dark arts of vector and see what’s possible. Importing SVG vectors as paths is a stretch-goal offering for the 2016 Krita fundraising campaign. I’m really hoping improved paths gets adopted into 2016’s development track. To tempt you a wee bit, Freddie E Williams II has written a fascinating book about creating comic art using Photoshop called The DC Comics Guide to Digitally Drawing Comics. His tips and techniques use a fair amount of vector-enabled processes and easily illustrates the power of vector tools. Below is a video that covers using reusable and scalable vector elements as paths.

Vector and Krita

Krita already has tons of vector tools and options for using vectors in their software. The developers are the first to say that the vector tools are less than user friendly and are in need of an upgrade.

One recurring issue for me was a lack of support for importing vector formats into Krita and using them as paths/masks for my art. With the 2016 development initiative, I’m hoping that importing SVGs as paths and using them as masks will become a reality. I use imported paths regularly in Photoshop and it’s the last hurdle Krita has for making their software my default solution for digital painting.

Better type of text

Krita is already a digital paint powerhouse. The amount of brushes, blending, and compositing far exceeds most paid programs currently on the market. For artists interested in creating Manga or graphic novels, Krita comes remarkably close to emulating traditional art tools with the added benefits of a digital environment to make changes easily. With the 2016 Kickstarter, they’re planning to make creating comics in Krita easier by simplifying their text tools. This should make anyone happy that is regularly dealing with speech bubbles and dialogue in their art.

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A mock of what the text tool can possibly look like in the near fture. Image courtesy of Krita Foundation

Swag attack

Kickstarter backers have their choice of an endless collection of rewards based on their donation level. There are tutorials, t-shirts, and pins up for grabs as perk options along with tons of other rewards for donating. If you haven’t considered giving to Krita and you are a regular user, think of it as an invest of the future features that will be coming your way.

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