Fresh Feedback from a Friend

I recently introduced my friend to Krita and I’d like to share some of his initial feedback, plus some of my own thoughts and suggestions. For context, he formerly used Clip Studio Paint.

  • Configuring brush preset shortcuts is too complicated. I myself never thought much about it, but after listing out the steps to achieve this functionality, I’m inclined to agree:
  1. Navigate to Settings -> Configure Krita -> Python Plugin Manager.
  2. Enable Ten Brushes.
  3. Navigate to Keyboard Shortcuts in the Settings.
  4. Enter “Activate Brush Preset” or scroll to find the related shortcut functionality. Change keybinds here.
  5. Close dialog, navigate to Tools -> Scripts -> Ten Brushes.
  6. Configure the related presets.
    The process is considerably long and and it isn’t very discoverable. As a suggestion to relieve this, this sort of functionality should at least be first-class rather than relegated to a Python plugin. For the sake of comparison, CSP allows the user to simply right-click a brush in order to set a shortcut. Obviously that might not be so simple to implement in the context of Krita’s system, but it’s an example of how other software handles it. You could also argue you could already see an example of the preferred behavior in most KDE applications including Krita, in such that you can right-click a menu toolbar option and set the shortcut from there. I am not sure if this would be covered in the upcoming resource manager rewrite.
  • Easily configurable margin guides for new documents aren’t very discoverable. My friend wasn’t aware they existed in Krita until I pointed out the obscured Comics Manager plugin. I would suggest such functionality should be made first-class and added as optional checkboxes named “Margins” and “Bleeds” while creating a new Custom Document under New File, which would toggle on adjustable values for the respective guides. This would especially be helpful since it’s not only comic artists that would find these margin guides useful.

  • It would be nice if it was possible to manually sort brushes. When my friend asked me how to do so, I wasn’t sure how to do it myself, and it turns out you’d have to rename brushes as a workaround since the order is strictly alphabetical. It’s possible that this is covered in the upcoming resource manager rewrite, but I’m not too sure.

  • (This point is minor and I don’t think I would have included it if I made the thread later) The random nature of the brush stroke preview in the brush settings dialog can be confusing. At first, my friend mistook it as a bug such that Krita was resetting his brush tip when he enabled and disabled unrelated brush settings, but it was simply the brush preview slightly visually changing. Although I don’t necessarily see this as a problem, there are some ways to mitigate this confusion that I can think of: At the very least, clicking “Overwrite Brush” and “Temporarily Save Tweaks to Presets” probably shouldn’t change the preview displayed.

  • One thing he did like was how straightforward and intuitive brush customization was in comparison to CSP.

I hope this feedback was constructive and helpful. Thank you for reading and thank you for developing Krita.

EDIT: Strokethrough some text and clarified the nonimportance of one of the points.

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Thank you for the feedback. It is much appreciated.

Apart from these findings , how does your friend feel about Krita in general?

Starting to use any application is a confusing process and especially so if you’ve been used to working with another application that does very similar things in a supposedly similar way. Your established habits are quickly challenged by different ways of doing things.

Over the years, I’ve used Paint Shop Pro, Photoshop Elements, GIMP and now Krita. The one that involved the least amount of swearing was Paint Shop Pro because it was the first one I used and I didn’t have any preconceptions about what it was supposed to do and how it was supposed to do it. I’m sure that if I tried to use CSP tomorrow then I’d need a couple of weeks before I was fairly calm and not muttering to myself all the time.

It would be interesting and useful to know how your friend feels about krita after they’ve been using it for a month.

As for the specific points you raised in your post, I’d make the following observations:

Ten Brushes: This is active as soon as you install and run. You just do Tools -> Scripts -> Ten brushes and it’s there with instructions how to use it in front of you.

Brush Stroke Preview: It’s not ‘random’. It’s directly related to the changes you make to the brush properties in what seems to be a fairly obvious way. It could look better but there’s a limited amount of room in there.
As far as I can tell, clicking Overwrite Brush doesn’t change the brush stroke preview.
Unticking Temporarily Save Tweaks To Presets does reset changes to the brush preset and seems to be a logical consequence but I’m not sure about the details.

Comics Manager: This is just as ‘obscured’ as the other dockers that are not displayed on first using krita with the Default workspace. You just do Settings -> Dockers - > Comics Manager. Then you have to learn how to use it …

Margins/Bleeds: on all documents/images would be nice to have and you’d need a View -> Show Margins and Bleeds menu item and the ability to change their values somewhere. Maybe an addition to the Grids and Guides docker?
Can you propose that in a new topic?

Sorting Brushes: Have you tried using the tagging system and the Popup Palette? That is the method for categorising and displaying brushes. It has its limits and at the moment is undergoing a major reworking as part of the resources management update.

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I guess you’re talking about brushes that use Fuzzy Dab or Fuzzy Stroke.

I guess adding seed to random generator there could help (so every time a sequence of random numbers is created, it will be the same sequence). But… I’m not sure if it’s possible or feasible technically to add random seed there without adding it to the actual strokes on the canvas.

I think it’s not really a huge problem when there are other options that are toggled. In case of Overwrite Brush, it shouldn’t change the preview, you can report it on bugs.kde.org, it would be a low priority bug but can be fixed. In case of Temporarily Save Tweaks…, as @AhabGreybeard said, if it changes the options, it will change the preview, too. In case there are no options changed, it coukd not update the preview, I guess…

(not sure how to “Reply” to multiple people at once)

He’s only been using Krita for about a week as he’s been trying out Linux on his new computer. It should be noted that these were basically the only papercuts we’ve encountered. Overall he currently thinks of Krita as solid software that works.

Your established habits are quickly challenged by different ways of doing things.

I wouldn’t really describe the points made as a problem of “different ways of doing things” but rather a problem of whether a feature should be a plugin or directly integrated. There are advantages to either design decision though.

Ten Brushes: This is active as soon as you install and run. You just do Tools -> Scripts -> Ten brushes and it’s there with instructions how to use it in front of you.

You are correct. My mistake. I still think there’s value to having it integrated like I’ve described though.

As far as I can tell, clicking Overwrite Brush doesn’t change the brush stroke preview.

It does from what I can tell, provided you’re using a brush with random properties as tiar describes. Temporarily Save Tweaks also does so when you’re toggling it off.

Honestly though, my point about the brush preview is so minor, I do not think I would have included it in the OP if I made this thread today.

Comics Manager: This is just as ‘obscured’ as the other dockers that are not displayed on first using krita with the Default workspace.

What I meant by “obscured” was that a new user looking for margin guides wouldn’t think that it’s located in a Comics docker plugin where you have to create a new project and also create a new template.

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