Graphics, Tutorials

Krita Basic Photo Editing Tutorial

Krita is a free open source raster graphics editor originally developed for Unix operating systems based on the KDE platform but has been since ported to Windows as well. Krita is perhaps better suited for painting, illustrations, textures and concept art but it has all the tools required for photo editing and retouching, and a very good interface as well.

This tutorial is for beginners and will teach you how to do some basic things with Krita. This includes image resizing, brightness and contrast adjustment, color adjustment and adding text. Additionally we will also be looking into rotating and cropping images, adding and removing things from images as well as an introduction to layers.

Krita Instructions

This tutorial is going to be very basic. But if you’re a newbie it should be helpful to get you started and move on to intermediate and advanced features quickly.

You can download Krita here.


Krita Resizing

First we’re going to start with resizing. To resize an image go to the image menu at the top and select ”Scale Image to New Size”. Here you can adjust the dimensions of the image.

As long as you have ”Constrain proportions” ticked at the bottom, Krita will automatically adjust the proportions of your image. So if you adjust the width it will adjust the height to maintain the same proportions.

Brightness & Contrast Adjustment

Krita Brightness Contrast

Adjusting the brightness and contrast on your image is simple. Just go to Filters, then to Adjust and select Brightness/Contrast Curve. Here you can adjust the curve and you will see the results live on the image.

Color Adjustment

Krita Color Adjustment

You can adjust colors by going to Filter, selecting adjust and then color adjustment curves. Here you can adjust the strength of all colors at the same time or select between individual colors red, green and blue.

Another option to adjust colors is called color balance. With color balance you can increase the level of specific colors in the image shadows, midtones or highlights. This can be used to make color themes similar to what you would find on Instagram.

A third option to adjust colors is HSV/HSL adjustment. There you can adjust the strength and visibility of various colors and even colorize or tint an entire image to a specific color.

Adding Text

Krita Add Text

To add text to an image, first select the Text Tool from the toolbar on the left. Then left click on the image, hold and drag to select the area where you want your text. Double click between the letters to edit the text. To change the font or font size go to the menu on the right and select the tool options tab. You can also change the text color here, using the color selector above. Press CTRL-A to highlight all the text at once. You can also move, rotate and resize the text selection by using the arrow selector tool.


Krita Rotate

To rotate an image go to the image menu on the top and select Rotate. Here you can choose between some quick options to rotate the image 90 degrees to either side or a full 180 degrees. But you can also select ”Rotate Image…” and define how many degrees you want to rotate it.


Krita Cropping

Cropping an image is relatively simple. Just select the Crop Tool from the left tool menu, or press C, and highlight the area that you want to crop, then press enter.

Removing Backgrounds

Krita Remove Background

To remove elements from an image such as the background, you want to use a selection tool. In this case we are using the polygonal selection tool which can be found at the bottom of the left tool menu. Then you just left click where you want to start, drag it to the second spot and left click again. Rinse and repeat until the entire area you want to copy or remove is selected. You can use the mouse wheel to zoom in and out, and the middle mouse button to move around.

When you are finished, either click CTRL-C to copy the selection or press delete to remove it. In this case you will copy it into another layer.


Krita Layers

Basically you can now copy a selection from a previous image onto another image as a new layer. Layers are very useful because you can use them to add new components to an image, such as text or parts of other images. You can move, manipulate and modify those components individually without affecting the other layers of the image.

You can see the layer list on the right side menu. Adding a new layer is as simple as copying the selection with CTRL-C, then going to the other image and using CTRL-V to paste it as a layer. Now you’re able to move around the selection and further edit and adjust it in the new layer. This is a very basic use of layers, obviously you can do much more advanced stuff as you learn, but this is a good starting point.

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