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Discussing Krita, digital painting with David Revoy

6 December, 2009 9 comments

For the next releases of Krita, we decided to pick up a specific artist, with a specific work flow, and to implement and fix the issue that he needs. For 2.2 (and probably 2.3), we have chosen David Revoy who has come recently to fame for his involvement in the durian project of the Blender project. Since he lives in Toulouse, and since I still live in Toulouse for the next two weeks, we felt it was a good opportunity to met and to talk about what is Krita, and to get a feel of what he needs.

On Tuesday, after work, I went to his apartment. First he showed me a bit what he needs, especially in a patch to the Gimp that brings much needed feature for him, like the brush that mix its current colour with the content of the layer, or the flow setting (that is similar to krita’s “wash” and “build up” modes, except with a fuzzy settings, while Krita is binary). We also discussed the performance issue, especially comparing to Photoshop. Most digital artist would draw their image at a higher resolution than needed, for instance, if you need an image of 1000×1000, then you will draw it at 2000×2000 or even more, which means that you also scale the brush you use, which means that the brush engine needs to be efficient. While more polishing, like more clever shortcuts and easier setting of painting parameters is a must, efficiency is clearly the biggest issue we are facing in Krita, and the one that will need the most work, the good thing is that we already many solutions that will help us to improve that.

Then I installed Krita on his computer (using the ubuntu KOffice backport, I do not know if I missed something, but I found it extremely hard to add the backport to Ubuntu’s software installer). And I showed him the different paint engine of Krita, especially the new one from Lukas, and I talk to him about the goal of Krita, which is clearly focused on digital painting, and image creation. This is where we can have a clear separation between the different 2D graphics application in the open source world, with Gimp having a focus on image manipulation, mypaint being a scratchpad for quickly drawing, and Krita being focused on digital painting. This does not mean there should not be any features overlap, like Krita having a set of filters for image enhancement. It is just that the focus of the user interface and of the development is different.

This led us to discuss on what he can do to help use make Krita the application he would want to use for his artwork. What we need most (a part from more developers 😉 ) is testing. While 2.1 is a nice release, it is still far from bugs free, but what is also important is testing of the user interface and of the features, we need to know what is lacking. As a developer, when I draw I tend to bend myself to what Krita can do, while it should be the opposite, it is up to the application to fit the work flow. We already have two artists running the development version of Krita, but more is always welcome to get more diverse opinions.

We also talked on funding development of open source software, one area where the Blender Foundation is very successful is to make movies with Blender, this is very good for advertising the product, since you can show awesome end-results. But it is also very good since developers and artists are working together on the movie, the developers fixing bugs and adding needed features, while the artists provide feedback. The Krita pledgie is one step in that direction. David was thinking that targeting windows users could boost the fundraiser campaign, as apparently many artists are having remorse on pirating proprietary software and might be interested in helping a cheaper alternative, but it is clearly not the primary focus of Lukas work, first we have to make Krita ready on Unix, then other platforms will come.

Categories: Krita, Open Source Tags: , , ,

KOffice 2.2 Release Schedule

3 December, 2009 2 comments

One of the outcome of the meeting in Oslo was to take the final decision on the KOffice 2.2 release schedule. Following the current trend of a six months release schedule, therefor the 2.2 RC1 is planned for April, 27th 2010.

We have also decided to experiment with a shorter release schedule for 2.3, which is likely to happen four months after 2.2. This will be made possible with the use of Git, and if we manage to keep the release branch in a releasable state at all time, meaning no tests failures, and that features are only merged when finished.

KOffice Fall Meeting 2009 – Day 2

29 November, 2009 3 comments

People are almost already gone, or are about to leave (myself I am leaving the office in an hour or so). The office is getting empty, the discussion are fading away. But today, started by a presentation from Jos of strigi fame on a metadata project for KWord and KOffice, and a proof of concept implementations of ODF 1.2 metadata, and how to use nepomuk. This trigger a discussion between him and Pierre on a design that could work for change tracking and metadata in the KOffice text library.

The last main topic was about making KOffice ready for end-users. And we decided to define a few use cases with an associated users for each application. And then list the features they need, and what kind of issues they face. While Krita is getting focused on being useful for the artist behind Blender movies. Of course, the biggest challenge is now to find developers resources to implement all this ideas and fixes.

This was the last topic on the general session. Afterward hacking started again, as well as specific discussion between a small group of developers. For instance, the Krita team (or what was left of it after the departure of Dmitry) started a discussion on redesigning our painting operation settings, which are currently a bit messy between GUI elements, and settings used for painting.

And now people are either gone, compiling KOffice on windows or almost asleep.

Categories: Krita, Open Source Tags: , ,

About Krita and Gimp, in default installation

26 November, 2009 16 comments

The removal of GIMP from the default installation of Ubuntu has raised quiet a stir. And as drawn quiet a bit of advertisement for Krita, as some people suggested the use of Krita instead, but for no good reasons, since Krita is not a good replacement for GIMP as a default installation.

You have to consider the use case of the default installation, since the Ubuntu people are trying to make is a distribution that is usefull for the average users, the default installation need to cover the need of the many. And what most people want to do with their picture is to classify them, do light weight retouching (for instance, adjust the brightness, remove red eyes) and then print the image or send it on the Internet. Surely, both Krita and GIMP can do it, but they have way more features than what is needed for most users. As Sven Neumann, one of the core GIMP developer, said GIMP is a high-end application for professionals, and so is Krita. Some might think that Krita has a GUI that is more friendly to the beginner, but that is not the problem, it is still packed with features that are of no interest to most users. And there are tools that are better suited to accomplish the task of those users, this is why a pictures collection management tool, such as F-Spot or Digikam is a much better choice, it covers the main usage of the majority of users. Even if Digikam is designed for professional photographer, I still think it scale nicely to average users. And when the user want to do more with images, he can just go to his favorite package manager, and install GIMP or Krita.

KOffice 2.1 is released, how user ready it is ?

25 November, 2009 2 comments

Yesterday, we released KOffice 2.1, the first major release in the 2.x cycle. It brings many improvements over 2.0, providing a much more stable and rich full experience, you can read more details in the 2.1 release announcement.

While 2.0 was clearly a developer release for developer, and for testing. For 2.1, we concentrated on fixing bugs, fixing some of the annoying issues, 2.1 is coming with many improvements in the MS Office filters, but 2.1 is still lacking in many area, for instance 2.1 comes with experimental support for displaying tables and formulas, but there is no support for editing them. Also there are still many rough edge in the UI. But the progress from 2.0 are astonishing, helped by the good base libraries (Qt, KDE and koffice), external help (Kevin Otten’s student and now Nokia).

While, in general, KOffice 2.1 is still not recommended for end-users. There are two exceptions, the first one is Karbon, while far to be feature full, is starting to become a very capable vector drawing editor, in 2.1 it get support for filters (only blur in 2.1, more is coming for 2.2). I personally use it a lot these days to create illustration for my thesis work. And Krita has made big progress in stability, with dozens of crash fixes for 2.1, and also include many of the new fun painting operation from Lukas, improvement in brush dynamic, recording of filters to create macro…

Krita and XCF

20 November, 2009 2 comments

Last week, I blogged about the removal of the graphics magick file format filter in Krita, and that it would mean that we need to write directly our own support for many file formats, using low-levels library when relevant and available. And by forcing us to do this work, the support for file formats in 2.2 will rock.

Among the three mostly usefull file formats that were delivered by the gmagick file format filter, there is XCF, the file format of the Gimp. After my blog, pusling (Sune Vuorela of the debian KDE team) reminded me about xcftools, a tool written by Henning Makholm that extract information from XCF files. Despite not being a library, the code to parse XCF files is well seperated from the command line logic, and I imported it in Krita (might be a good idea to turn it into a real library ?).

As mentioned, the previous filter was not really good, we were only able to get the layers, but no masks or no composite information, or opacity, as reported in this bug 106730. And with the xcftools based filter, we can read all that information, making XCF a first class citizen in Krita. There might be some issues with composite ops that behaves differently on some cases between application, but that something that we would need to fix as well.

For the other way around, to import from Krita into the Gimp, the OpenRaster Archiving format would be the way to go.

About other file formats, Boudewijn is already working on PSD support. The last important one is GIF support, which will probably be done using libgif.

Categories: Krita, Open Source Tags: , , ,

The last bit of *magick dependency is now gone from Krita

13 November, 2009 12 comments

Since its birth, Krita has been depending on ImageMagick (or the GraphicsMagick fork). The original idea was to build Krita as a GUI on top of ImageMagick. When the current team (or at least its veterans) started to work on Krita, ImageMagick was only used for exporting and importing files.

But using an abstraction of file formats did not give us enough control on how the files are loaded and saved, so four years ago, we decided to have our own implementation of the most used file formats: png, jpeg and tiff. Then later, tired of having to adjust our code for each releases of ImageMagick, we turned to GraphicsMagick, a fork that claim to have API stability. But the long term plan has always being to remove the dependency, and to have our own implementation of the file formats (or to use libraries when relevant).

Things have been accelerated recently, when we discovered that recent version of GraphicsMagick crashes Krita in a very weird way, so we decide to remove the GraphicsMagick files filter, and to finish implementing the format ourselves. This has started with the PPM filter that was finished yesterday, and now I am taking care of the JPEG 2000 format using the OpenJpeg library. But this might mean that in the near future, some important file format such as Photoshop‘s PSD or Gimp‘s XCF will not be available (but there is a Gimp plug-in to export to ORA which can then be imported in Krita).