Krita: Digital Image and Painting Program (Free)

I’m always keeping my eyes open for new digital art programs to try, though old Photoshop remains tried and true for me. Anytime I find a solid art program that’s an affordable alternative to Photoshop, I try it out and pass the word around.

Krita has been around for a good while, but I didn’t hear about it until this past weekend. There’s two versions of this program:

Krita Desktop which is “a professional FREE and open source painting program. It is made by artists that want to see affordable art tools for everyone.” You can pick it up at the official downloads page.

Krita Gemini which is “painting application which adjusts to your needs – with a powerful, feature-rich interface on your PC, and a streamlined touch-friendly sketching interface on your tablet or convertible. With a range of tools and features suitable for novice or professional artists.”

Interestingly, you can purchase this on Steam. Priced at $14.99, yes, this is very affordable art program.

There seems to be two upgrade packages:

We are offering two options for purchasing Krita Gemini – a cheap “2 releases” version, which provides around a year’s worth of feature updates, and a “lifetime upgrades” package which will receive all future releases.

So if you don’t mind dropping $10 a year on the program, you can get the newest upgrades. Or, if you try it out and fall in love, you can buy the lifetime upgrade for $119.99.

Personally? I’d try out the free desktop version first. I’m not quite sure how an art program tied to Steam will perform as I always turn off big ticket items like Steam when I’m painting my digital work. The less running in the background, the better for my art.

I found the Desktop version to be pretty easy to learn, but that’s also coming from someone who’s known the ins and outs of Photoshop for 15+ years. It looks and feels like I’d expect from a paint program – somewhat a cross between Photoshop, Illustrator and Painter. I haven’t sat down and actually tried to do any heavy art in the program with my tablet, but it has all the features of modern paint programs – layers, masks, brush stabilizers for inking, etc.

Even if all you’d like to have is a program that’s better than MS Paint to touch up images, crop, resize, edit and such, the free version is something to look into. If you’ve ever used Krita, let me know what you think about it!