Krita in 2020

Krita in 2020

Published    12/31/2020

The last year of the day… So, let’s look back a bit. First off: none of the Krita developers has died this year. It feels strange to write that, but it might reassure some of our readers. Some of us have had some extended periods of down time, or have been less productive, both because of the effect of the different pandemic measures all over the world, and because it was at times really hard to stay motivated and find the energy for coding. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. It feels surreal to think we actually had a real, physical development sprint — in February.


So, what did we do? In the first place, we made four releases: Krita 4.2.9, 4.3.0, 4.4.0 and 4.4.1, and now we’re working on 4.4.2. Krita came to ChromeOS and Android, too!

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With these releases came improved brush outlines while painting, new features for the color smudge brush, watercolor brush presets, new filters, extended scripting support, the snapshot docker, a magnetic selection tool, new fill layers, new features for the pixel brush engine, mesh gradients, mesh transforms, improvements to the gradients — and much, much more, as well as hundreds of bug fixes.


Still, bugzilla is a disaster area. We get too many bug reports that are actually user support requests, but apart from that, it’s a never ending stream of things that need to be cleaned up. Check the link if you want to read about the nightmares…


And we coded… A lot. Over all the branches, there were 5486 commits in 2020. Apart from the new features that ended up in releases, we also worked on supporting MyPaint brushes, making the appimages updatable, a new plugin for recording your painting process, storyboarding, a ton of new features and updates for animations and a lot of work on a project that we have been working on for three years now: the resource system rewrite.

You can test all of that in the nightly builds for Windows, Linux and macOS: KDE’s binary factory certainly has been the single most important thing for improving our development process! Though the move to gitlab also did wonders for our productivity.

The resource rewrite project still isn’t done, though pretty much everything is in place. It is taking a lot of work to convert all the places where resources (like brushes, gradients, presets) are used to the new system. And as a project, it turns out it’s simply too large. We decided to change too many things in one big refactoring and, frankly, it’s motivation-sapping especially in a year that’s already hard on everyone. And yes, we also mentioned that already last year. The 2020 February sprint was intended to be a kick-off for a concerted attack on the resource system with four people working on until it was done, but then came March…

We will have to finish this next year, so we can release Krita 5.0 and can start spending time on fun things like the text tool, machine learning based image scaling, dithered and HDR gradients and other fun and fancy features.

We also had Foud Google Summer of Code: Sharaf Zaman with Mesh Gradients, Amyspark with the SeExpr-based scriptable fill

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