Move and Transform

Content used from "Introduction to Krita for Photoshop Users" produced by David Revoy and Inge Wallin for
Cover Illustration: "Krita Mascot" by Tyson Tan
© 2013 KOGmbH and David Revoy
Krita is free software released under the GNU Public License
The Krita project is part of the KDE community
Thanks to KO GmbH for giving the permissions to reuse the text.
Table of Contents
Krita Basics - I
View and Display
Move and Transform
Layer Handling
Paint tools
Krita Basics - II
Brush Engines
Incremental Save
Color2alpha Filter
Many Blending Modes
Painting Assistants
Multibrushes: Symmetry / Parallel / Mirrored
A Wide Variety of Color Selectors
This document gives an introduction to Krita for new users. The intention is to make you productive in
Krita as fast as possible and ease the conversion of old habits into new ones. This introduction is written
with Krita version 2.7 but even though things may change in the future, the basics will most likely remain
the same.
The first thing to remember is that Krita is a 2D paint application while other tools such as Photoshop
(PS) is an image manipulation program. This means that other tools may have more features than Krita
in general but Krita has the tools that are relevant to digital painting, to be more specific - concept art,
creation of comics and textures for rendering.
Krita Basics - I
This chapter covers how you use Krita in the basic operations compared to PS.
View and Display
In Krita you can navigate your document using all these methods:
1. Mouse wheel: roll down and up for zoom, and press it down to pan your document.
2. Keyboard: with + and - on your numpad keyboard, and pan with space
3. As in Photoshop, Painter, Manga Studio: Ctrl+space to zoom, and space to pan.
Note: if you add Alt and so do a Ctrl+Alt+Space you’ll have a discrete zoom.
Rotate the canvas with Shift+Space or with numpad 4 or 6.
Reset the rotation with numpad 5.
Press m to see your drawing or painting mirrored in the viewport.
Move and Transform
Moving and Transformation of contents is done using tools into Krita. You can then find them in the
If you are familiar with the way to move layers in PS by holding down Ctrl, you can do the same in Krita
by pressing the T key for the move tool (think ‘T’ranslate) or Ctrl+T for transform tool.
Press ‘B’ to go back to the brush tool when the transformation or translation is done.
To find how to make advanced deformations using the ‘Transform’ tool, do not right-click on the oncanvas widget: all the option are in the ‘Tool Options’ docker. Change can be applied with ‘Enter’ for the
Transform tool.
Note: Move tool changes are auto-applied.
Krita offer sub tools for removing or adding selection to the active selection, and you can select them in
the Tool Option if a select tool is active. These sub tools are represented as icons. You can switch to
those sub modes by pressing:
- R to replace selection
- T to intersect1
- A to add to the selection (this is the one you will want to use often)
- S to subtract from the selection (the other one popular)
Note: You also cannot press Ctrl to move the content of the selection (you have to press ‘T’ or select the
‘Move Tool’).
Some other tips:
- If you want to convert a layer to a selection (to select the visible pixels), right-click on the layer docker,
and choose ‘select opaque’.
- If you use a polygonal selection tool, or a selection which needs to be ‘closed’, you will be able to do it
or by using a double-click, or by using a ‘Shift-click’.
You cannot move a selection, but you can scale them. To do this, choose Select > Scale (Note: also, in the
Select menu there are more classical option to grow, shrink, feather, border, etc...)
- Ctrl + H: Show / Hide selection (same shortcut)
- Ctrl + A: Select All
- Note: Ctrl + Shift + A: deselect All (and not Ctrl+D as in PS)
Note for Gimp user: Krita auto-expands and auto defloats new layers created from a selection after a
Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V so you do not have to worry about not being able to paint outside the pasted element.
Layer Handling
The most common shortcuts are almost the same:
- Ctrl + J: duplicate
- Ctrl + E: flatten
- Note: Ctrl + Shift + E: flattens all (not Ctrl+Shift+M as in PS)
- ‘insert’: insert a new paint layer
Groups and Blending Mode (Composite Mode): The group blending mode in Krita has priority over child
layers and overrides it. This can be surprising for PS users. On PS you can use groups to just clean your
layer stack and keep blending mode of your layer compositing through all the stack. In Krita the
compositing will happen at first level inside the group, then taking into account the blending mode of
the group itself.
Both system have pros and cons. Krita’s way is more predictable according to some artists,
Multi Layer Transform or Move
If you move the layer inside a group you can move or transform the whole group - including doing
selection on the group and cut all the sub layers inside on the fly. You can not apply filters to group to
affect multiple layers.
Clipping Masks
Krita has no clipping mask, but there is a workaround involving layer groups and ‘inherit alpha’ (see the
alpha icon). Place a layer with the shape you want to clip the other with at the bottom of a group and
layers above with the ‘inherit alpha’ option. This will create the same effect as the “clipping mask” PS
Layers and groups can be exported. See the ‘Layer’ top menu for this and many other options.
Note: You cannot turn off the visibility of all layer in the stack except the one you selected with a
Note: Krita has at least 5 times more blending modes than PS. They are sorted by categories in
the drop down menu. you can use the checkbox to add your most used to the Favorite
Paint tools
This is Krita's strong point. There are many many paint tools and they have a lot of options.
In Krita, there is a totally different paradigm for defining what ‘tools’ are compared to PS. Unlike in PS,
you will not find the brush, eraser, clone, blur tool, etc. Instead you will find the way to trace your
strokes on the canvas: freehand, line, rectangle, circle, multiple brush, etc. When you have selected the
‘way to trace’ you can choose the ‘way to paint’: erasing / cloning / blurring, etc are all part of ‘way it
paint’ managed by the brushengines options. These brush engine options are saved into so called
presets, which you can find on ‘Brush presets’.
You can fine tune, and build your own presets using the ‘Edit Brush Settings’ icon on the top
tool bar.
In Krita, the eraser is not a tool, it is a Blending mode (or Composite mode). You can change each brush
you have to erase by pressing ‘E’. By pressing ‘E’ again you’ll be back to the last
blending mode you had selected before pressing 'E' the first time.
Useful shortcut
- Shift: Grow or Shrink the brush size (or [ and ])
- /: Switch last preset selected and current (ex: a pencil preset, and a eraser preset)
- K and L: increment Darker and Lighter value of active color
- I and O: increment opacity plus or minus
- D: Reset color to black/foreground and white/background
- X: Switch background and foreground colors
- Shift+ I / Shift+N / Shift+M: a set of default keyboard shortcuts1 for accessing the on-canvas
color selector.
Stabilization / Path Smoothing
Using the freehand ‘paint with brush’ tool that you can find on the Tool Options, more settings
for smoothing the path and stabilization of your brush strokes are available.
Global pressure curve
If you find the feeling of Krita too hard or too soft regarding the pressure when you paint, you
can set a softer or harder curve here: Settings > Configure Krita > Tablet settings
You can use the classic filters to adjust many things while painting:
- Ctrl+L : Levels
- Ctrl+U: HSV adjustment
- Ctrl+i: Invert
If you don’t like the dark default theme of Krita go to:
Settings > Themes, and choose a brighter or darker theme.
If you don’t like the color outside your viewport go to:
Settings > Configure Krita > Display, and change the Canvas border color.
Krita Basics - II
As mentioned in the introduction, Krita is a specialized paint application. Therefore it also has
many specialized tools for painting which are not found in more generalized image manipulation
applications such as PS. Here is a short list of the most important ones.
Brush Engines
Krita has a lot of different so called brush engines. These brush engines define various methods on how
the pixels end up on your canvas. Brush engines with names like Grid, Particles, Sketch and others (try
out Experimental!) will bring you new experiences on how the brushes work and a new landscape of
possible results.
The Krita transformation tool can perform transformations on a group and affect children layers. Also,
while pressing 'Control' over a transformation in progress, you can move the shape into perspective,
then rotate or scale while keeping the perspective constrain.
To watch :
Incremental Save
You can save your artwork with the pattern : myartworksname_001.kra , myartworksname_002.kra,
myartworksname_003.kra etc, by pressing a single key on the keyboard. Krita will do the incrementation
of the final number if the pattern “_XXX” is recognized at the end of the file's name.
This feature allows you to avoid overwriting your files, and keep track to your older version and
work in progress steps.
Color2alpha Filter
If you want to delete the white of the paper from a scanned artwork , you can use this filter. It
takes a color and turns it into pure transparency.
Many Blending ModesIf you like using blending modes, Krita has a large number of them - over 70! You
have plenty of room for experimentation. A special system of favourite blending modes has been
created to let you have fast access to the ones you use the most.
Painting Assistants
Krita has many painting assistantsThis is a special type vector shapes with a magnetic influence
on your brush strokes. You can use them as rulers, but with other shapes than just straight
Multibrushes: Symmetry / Parallel / Mirrored
Krita's multibrush tool allows you to paint with multiple brushes at the same time. Movements of the
brushes other than the main brush is created by mirroring what you paint, or duplicating it by any
number around any axis. They can also be used in parallel mode.
A Wide Variety of Color Selectors
The 'advanced color selector' docker offer you a wide choice of color selectors.
Using these tips you will probably be up to speed with Krita in a short time. If you find other
things worth mentioning in this document we, the authors, would be interested in hearing about them.
Author Details:
David Revoy <>
Inge Wallin <>
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