Cropping images in Krita is beyond user unfriendly

My task was simple, or so I thought:

  1. Crop 30 or so of my art pieces to an 11x17 aspect ratio for print, moving the crop to best fit the composition
  2. Change the image DPI so that the image is perfectly ‘11x17’ without changing the working resolution.

I have done this before, last time I had to prep prints. It took maybe 10 minutes for 30 pics when I was on Windows and did it in Photoshop. No problem, I’m on Linux now and I’ve got Krita.

Turns out this is quite literally an impossible task in Krita without external tools, and here’s why. I wrote these down as I encountered them, in the span of about 5 minutes, before realizing I simply cannot do this job using Krita. And I’m angry because I’m honestly trying my best to move all my basic art editing to Krita:

  1. Krita uses an aspect ratio field rather than H: and W: fields. This is a major problem for several reasons:
    • Print aspects like 11x17 calculate out to an aspect ratio of 0.647058823529. The aspect ratio field is rounded to the nearest hundredths place. This can make your crop literally tens or hundreds of pixels off from what it needs to be, with absolutely no way to fix it. You cannot crop an image to 11:17 in Krita without breaking out a calculator and doing some cross-multiplication with the pixel dimensions of the image and setting them manually.
    • The aspect ratio field is not retained between documents, when I feel it definitely should be for people who are rapidly going through files and cropping them. Honestly there’s no reason for it not to be.
  2. The UI of the crop box is borderline unusable. It is basically so user-unfriendly that it felt more like I was solving a puzzle than using a tool. Here are the problems I ran into simply trying to move the crop box where I wanted:
    • Clicking on the canvas outside of the box deletes your current crop preview. Honestly this is a terrible idea, especially considering Krita forces me to switch dockers and even programs (calculator) multiple times during the crop process, the amount of times I accidentally and subconsciously clicked the canvas to re-initialize the shortcuts for it and ended up deleting my last 2 minutes or so of work was beyond frustrating.
    • So you manage to get the box the ““correct”” aspect ratio, and it just needs to be moved to the right a little to fit the composition. Good luck, honestly.
      • Dragging the crop has no snapping, at all. To anything. You will not perfectly move it to the right.
      • There are no shortcuts like shift to keep the crop box on the horizontal/vertical lines like transforming.
      • This means the only possible way to move the crop box to the right accurately, is to manually use the scroll wheel/arrow keys to increment the X value in the Tool properties docker. Then you lose the enter shortcut to confirm the crop because now the tool properties docker is focused and for some reason enter isn’t captured by it. So now you have to manually click the ‘crop’ button, or re-focus the canvas. Oh sorry, did you click the canvas to re-focus it? Your crop box got deleted.
    • It is completely unpredictable whether the box will snap to the canvas bounds when resizing the crop box. I give it a 50/50 chance
    • Probably one you’ve heard before but it’d be nice if the undo undid the last crop box move instead of cancel cropping.
  3. Congrats, you managed to crop it the way you wanted (rounding errors excluded). You still want to be on the crop tool, right? Artists usually want to crop the canvas a second time after cropping it the first time. It’d be nice if it’d stick me back on whatever tool I was using previously upon successful cropping.
  4. Okay, so I managed to crop it as best I can. Let’s resize it:
    1. ‘Scale image to new size’. ‘adjust print size separately’ set to on.
    2. Under ‘width’ put your desired width, such as ‘17’.
    3. If ‘height’ is automatically set to something lower than expected, like ‘10.96’, enter the correct value in there instead. It has to be bigger because after the first crop we now need to do a second crop with a different cropping tool.
    4. After changing the DPI, open ‘Resize canvas’.
    5. Make sure ‘constrain proportions’ is off.
    6. adjust the incorrect side down a bit, such as 11.05 to 11

The entire process is so frustrating that I felt overwhelmingly compelled to write this all out. I understand the hate for comparing programs, but this entire process takes a dozen seconds or so on Photoshop per picture, in Krita it’s multiple minutes. Most of which are completely wasted as I try to battle the UI to get it to crop the area I want, zooming in and out to align the crop box with the edges of the canvas, accidentally deleting the box because of a muscle memory ctrl+z or canvas click, and having to jump between the canvas, tool options docker, and 2 canvas/image resizing tools just to get a crop.

Here’s my dream crop tool options that would put Krita on par with other software in terms of usability:

  • Only esc, del, or the cancel button in the tool options docker can ever delete your current crop preview. Please stop deleting my work after I put so much effort into battling the UI
  • Aspect ratio constraints are entered as W:H instead of a rounded float, so calculations can be done much more accurately in the background eliminating 90% of these steps.
  • Aspect ratio is saved as a program-wide property that spans all documents.
  • Remove the aspect ratio lock box, treat it as unlocked if there’s no values. Treat it as locked if there is.
  • There is no need to calculate the current crop box’ aspect ratio. If someone wants to know that, they’ll 100% of the time want it to be something specific and they’ll enter it themselves.
  • Aspect ratio has both a ‘flip’ and ‘clear’ button. Flip switches the W:H and clear deletes both.
  • Allow users to hold shift to slide the crop box left/right/up/down perfectly on the X and Y axis.
  • Snap to canvas bounds when dragging the box
  • Have a small magnet icon in the tool options docker that enables/disables canvas bounds snapping.
  • ctrl+z moves back a crop box movement, or at the very least, doesn’t delete it for those of us with muscle memory.

I think I suggested it already in it’s own topic but I’m adding this here too because it fits. Its would be nice to save crop settings just like the predefined document dimensions because I often find myself cropping (or resizing) to the exact same values. And then being able to select them from a list would save much time and is less error prone than remembering or looking it up every time.

11 Likes

Without adding to the post I’ll just say I agree…I’ve not been happy with the crop tool/feature.

3 Likes

I created images in the sizes I usually crop to as a workaround for this. I completely erased the background of these images and then sprayed the edges with an airbrush and 40% opacity to create a kind of frame that allows me to see what’s underneath. Now, when I want to crop an image to one of these fixed sizes, I import the appropriate frame as a file layer, move it to the section I want to crop to, and then use ‘‘Image’’ >> ‘‘Trim to Current Layer’’ to crop the image.

This is not a solution as one would want, but it speeds up the process considerably.
Also, it often happens that the first trim takes the upper left corner of the image as the zero point of the operation, and I’ve no idea why this happens, but after CTRL + Z, the second trim is always successful.

Michelist

3 Likes

If the images are all the same resolution or like a sequence I recommend using Natron or the Bimp plugin for Gimp. With Krita I would suggest writing a small script but it would probably have the same restrictions. But Natron is best choice.

I have thought in making a plugin for this but you would need still to know how to code a bit. But the options are so good I doubt it would be worth it.

i think this would be easilly adress by having an option to export a selection. in selection you can enter width and height OR use a ratio.
By the way, if it can help, you can use the selection tool (which is easy to manage for doing what you want) and with the selection active, select the crop tool, it will replace the “selection” area with the cropping area…

8 Likes

FR: Make predefined image sizes avaliable in Resize Canvas and Scale Image dialogs

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