Is there something we can help with with my knowledge? Proposal for the forum

My name is Sebastian, I’m illustrator and animator, but also my main studies and professional career is related with communication, UX, UI and marketing.

I was looking around in the forum and I found that there is no discussion about those topics (user experience, marketing strategy, communication strategy of the whole project, etc), and I really think that some of that knowledge could make Krita an even better software.

I understand that this is something that is done mainly by developers, but making some studies about users that enjoy Krita and those who could enjoy it but they don’t know about the program or sticks with those they already know, would make the community even bigger creating a strategy for reaching a bigger share of the market, and that means, more collaboration, more knowledge base and more financing / donations, and finally a better open source software piece.

Why I suggest we could also think in this? I love Krita, seriously, I moved from Clip Studio Paint just because I needed a Wrap Around mode that is not available there, but I would never find Krita again (I used it some years ago but I found it needed some more work to fight head to head with other paint software), if I would not google about that feature and find the software in a “TOP 5 Illustration software” - like article. We have a big thing with this project, it’s really what Blender did with 3D industry, but Blender had a communication strategy that made it grow with his community, and still stay free.

My idea is propose creating a section of this forum for designers, communication experts, marketing experts and user experience research contributions, so we can make a software even more amazing listening to the same things that other softwares do in the market.

I really think that developers will always deliver an amazing product (I mean, they created the actual software and it’s really wonderful), but we, with research, planning and some study of the competition; we can eventually stop being behind them, and start thinking in what is to come, just like Blender did.

8 Likes

A lot of things are planned, such as a mobile-friendly interface.
But krita has a small number of full-time developers, and more important things have to be done first.

Why is there such a big gap between the development speed of krita and blender, I think the following picture is enough to explain.

There is a lot of discussion about UX and UI and there are many questions and suggestions (or even demands) for new/improved/additional ways of doing things.
These often happen in the Feature Requests or Developer Questions category.

Marketing strategy and ‘reaching a bigger share of the market’ wouldn’t be immediate concerns since there is no ‘market’ for FOSS applications.
However, I do realise that ‘hearts and minds’ are important for funding and that would be where ‘communication strategy’ and promotion come in.

I think those aspects are dealt with in different places by different communication channels.
For that, people like @halla, @wolthera and @tiar would be able to give advice about who to contact.

This forum is mainly for people to show their artwork, to discuss artworks and to get help/advice with any problems they have.
@raghukamath (the owner/moderator of this forum) is the person to ask about any new sections or different types of activity on the forum.

2 Likes

The main reason reason you rarely see discussion about topics like marketing and the likes is because this is a user forum with 99.9% users, not foundation members. UI and UX topics pop up regularly, mainly in the form of complains or requests because again, this is a user forum.

3 Likes

I know there is a big difference, but what comes first? Massive help or massive reach? I think the first thing to make the project grow is making Krita a well know brand, because once you know something you can decide if it’s good, bad, or keep indifferent; but if you don’t know it, it does not exist for you.

Definitely there is a market for apps like Krita. Market is not just a term used for exchange goods and services for money, it refferes to the whole process in which people exchanges something they have for something they want, and in this process we would not focus in money, but reaching a big share of the market we benefit creating a huger and stronger community, and that means more knowledge and a better software in the end. Or also generating interest in companies like Google, Samsung or any other that could support the evolution of the project with investment.

Thank you a lot! I wil message them :slight_smile:

1 Like

Saying there is no discussion about it is really not true. It must one of the most popular topics. But I don’t know how much liberty there is to really do UI work beyond correcting sizes and some formating for scalability. But there are certainly singularities that need to be addressed. But many UI ideas might be out of reach.

Users’ forum, doing art, as already said, so +1 for ‘help’. The more users who can have a good time painting, including finding answers to any issues, the more people hear about Krita. Pair that with the new expansions already going on with Krita 5 eg timelapse, RGBA brushes, ‘drag to fill’, faster/lighter, and that does it’s own natural publicity, as people really like the features. And both these things organically create more donations, while maintaining the GPL/non-proprietary Linux/Windows/Mac/Android versions.

The number of reach via target audience is why you see a difference between the two. Digital painting while is part of creative fields, pure painting only addresses a miniscule of the 2d creative field. Meanwhile, focus on polygon/subdivision modeling with proper rendering amd animation altogether addresses a much larger audience base.

I am open for any new section which could be used for promotions and marketing Krita. Please ping me any time if you need anything.

There were attempts for marketing Krita, there was a thread in the old KDE forums. But as with all FOSS application we can’t hire professional experts in these fields without having lots of spare funds. Hence what we need is a good volunteer team and not just one off contributions in this department. Committed longtime volunteers in UI/UX marketing promotions etc is a rare thing. So far we manage the marketing amongst ourselves, like preparing banners flyers etc.
For more serious strategy we would need a good team.

3 Likes

Well, that is mostly true, but which is the objective of Krita? Who is the final user that Krita is built for? Knowing deeply that and a lot of questions more is the best way to know if your main focus should be keep in the direction the project is going or take the time to seriously think if UI an the current limitations (if there are some, this is just an example, not a studied thing) are keeping people away from using Krita, because most of the open source software are really amazing, and really does what final user needs, but the way those have to do the same thing as the commercial software is really terrible, or requires advanced knowledge while the other software just need to click one button. That’s where user experience and UI is important. Software development is not only about functionality, it’s also about thinking who will use the final product.

It is true that a good product with great features will generate organic grow, but studying the current organic grow, knowing the current Krita user and which was the way he / she discovered the software will help us know the best way to reach who still does not know about this, and that means you don’t need a lot of money for this; you can use the few dollars you have to invest them in an effective way and generate a bigger income in the future for more development and marketing.

I don’t agree with this. While 3D has a huge learning curve (and Blender has it more inclined) and require more study and practice to do simple low poly stuff, ANYONE can open Krita and start drawing anything in a few minutes. You have a lot of people requering a drawing / animation / photo edition program, the industry is really massive and you can be sure of that just because there are a lot of paid specialized software competing in the different markets. Krita is special because it is a bit like Blender; it reach different use cases, it’s not digital painting only, and knowing where the market is weak (or expensive) we have an opportunity to grow focusing better the team energies, time and resources.

I will PM you! :slight_smile:

1 Like

I agree with you. The only reason I was able to get in digital art was Krita’s simplicity. I didn’t need to learn anything before. This is a big advantage of Krita. Even in Adobe PhotoShop, I cannot just open it and paint. I need to install brushes (this is the first experience I had with PhotoShop) and learn a few stuff. The default brush was the airbrush and I still don’t know where the eraser is. Other painting programs, rely heavily on pressure sensitivity and tilt support, so there’s almost no way a similar effect an be achieved by them. On the other hand, I’ve tried using Krita with both a graphic tablet and a mouse. With practice and perseverance, I can achieve a similar effect if not the same effect with no pressure sensitivity. But then in digital art industry, there are dozens of programs. CSP, PS, SAI, Procreate, Art Rage, Rebelle, FireAlpaca, Medibang Paint Pro etc . There’s a lot of competition. While in the 3D Animation/Modeling industry, all I’ve ever heard about is Maya and Blender (some Adobe product too, whose name I don’t remember). I can say there is less competition compared to digital art.

I’ll point out that there are computer-aided drafting as well which are used by architects and manufacturers. You haven’t heard of those as you don’t need to know them. They’re focused on precision, and simplifying the process of creation.

This is just typical designer talk, and already thinking about investment in the marketing already, M’kay.

Every time I try to answer this thread, it ends up wayyyy too long. So, I’m going to just write the summary, and if you want me to elaborate on anything, please just ask, I don’t want to write too long needlessly.

  1. There are plenty of UI/UX threads on this forum, let alone all places with Krita community, like old forum, reddit (earlier, when I was still visiting), IRC, bugzilla etc. In fact, now that this forum exists, most of the time when I work on something, I ask here for feedback or discuss things even before the mockup stage. Also you missed some of our hottest topics back in the day… like two summers ago… when every thread had “UI redesign” mockups :wink:

  2. 3D and 2D worlds differ: for example, most competitors to Blender are pretty expensive, while quite a lot of Krita’s competitors are much cheaper or free. PS, which has the fame of being “way too expensive”, is only half the price of cheapest 3D options, usually those with just one purpose (like ZBrush, or Substance Painter). Even if Blender was subscription-based and costed like PS, everyone would praise it for being so cheap with so much functionality. Krita on the other hand has plenty of cheap competition.

  3. Krita already has plenty of reach. Every month ~4 millions of users open it. Some of them of course cannot really help financially (they are children, or students, or hobbyists, or in economies with unfavourable exchange rates).

  4. We do have strategies, both marketing-wise and developing features-wise. In the second category, one of the rules we use is that we try to make features as good as possible for already existing users, instead of hoping to get some potential ones (who might be using other programs not because Krita doesn’t have something, but because of multiple other reasons). That’s both fair, considering we are partially funded with donations, and more reliable, because we have contact with those people, for example here. And people already invested in Krita better know the program, so they can better advice on what exactly is missing, and will take more time thinking about all kinds of consequences of implementing it this way or that way.

  5. Some of the things you write betrays that you haven’t been involved in the community for too long, or maybe haven’t been participating in the feature requests discussions? Because for example you write (paraphrasing) “you need to think about what your target audience is” as if it was a novel concept to us, while there has been plenty of times users’ requests were denied because they were outside of our goal. In fact, there has been some critique that Krita’s goal is too narrow and we should make it more general. For example, we don’t intend to make Krita a photo editing program. We also don’t intend to make it a graphic design program. Therefore, features that are only useful for photo editing or graphic design are very low priority, often they only end up in Krita if a volunteer codes them up (as long as something is useful enough, it can be merged, but paid developers won’t work on something outside of the goal without a good reason) (alternatively, if someone can argue it would be useful for some kind of digital painting as well). That’s one of the reasons of Krita’s success, I think. You can see the goal explicitly said here: Welcome to the Krita 5.0 Manual! — Krita Manual 5.0.0 documentation (it was described together with user long, long time ago, but seems working well - maybe at some point we’ll be able to add pixel art to it, but things like graphic design will probably never be there).

  6. Recommended read: Developing Features — Krita Manual 5.0.0 documentation (this only touches some aspects of designing new features, of course, but can still be interesting to you).

  7. I do actually have some things I have trouble with recently in terms of UI/UX design, and I need ideas. Since I had to write it anyway, I created a new thread: How to improve quick editing/use of assistants? .

  8. People who are able to do UX design well, and understand the developer’s point of view, and consider needs of users with different workflows or different needs that their own, are really valuable. It saves plenty of time if developers have a clear list of things to do. Most of the time we have to sift through all kinds of requests in the wild on our own, talk directly with users, and figure the desired result ourselves. We do have a few go-to people who we just ask when in doubt - in my case, I usually ask David Ravoy who is good at for example prioritizing features and seeing whether something is worth it if it requires a lot of work (comes from experience, David helps Krita with feature design for over a decade now). I would not mind at all having another person who can quickly and easily communicate things I need to know as a dev. Someone who can understand constraints and limits, who can identify pain points in the current or initial design or workflow, and provide alternatives.

4 Likes

I have to agree that it feels as though Krita has no idea what it actually wants to be before it starts being it, or it has a major problem in the connection between actual artists and the programmers themselves. I really, really wish there was a way to help Krita along as an artist other than suggesting things and getting them shot down with no explanation.

The devs love to point to their donation funding compared to say, Blender, as if it’s a failure on the community and not a failure on themselves to get actual artists making actual money to care about the program. You donate to projects you want to see move forward, if every idea you have as an artist that you think would move Krita forward gets shot down, why in the world would you donate to it? To hope that they change their mind?

What things were shot down without any explanation? The only things that generally get shot down is “can you make Krita exactly like software X”. Otherwise, there are generally responses. Of course everyone has their off days and may not be able to give the most detail explanations, but one can simply follow up.

Generally, the more details someone can give of what they want and how it can be fitted into the current workflow without completely redoing everything the better likelihood I’d imagine i’d be considered. Not to mention when many features are worked on, they are done so via merge requests, phabricator or discussed during developer meetings. So if something is being worked on and someone wanted to add their 2 cents, that would probably be the best time to give opinions.

If the feature doesn’t require completely redoing everything, or ruins the current workflow completely, then most likely it might be low priority. And as mentioned, Krita is too underfunded to deal with all the bugs, new features and etc all at once. It is a catch 22. If you feel your donation wouldn’t be worth it cause it doesn’t have the feature you want, there is always the option of hiring a freelance developer to add features to Krita. Just confirm first with the devs in advanced. You can even get other artists onboard and create bounties. Though do note, developers aren’t cheap. But that is the beauty of open source, anyone can contribute.


On a side note, I think the real advantage Blender has in terms of funding is because 3D has far more commercial use than 2D. Thus, you have far more corporate sponsors. Where as 2D has a lot of hobbyists or people who aren’t even interested in art but simply want to make memes or edit photos. Then amongst professional artists many say no to digital. I do wonder what % of Krita’s user base uses it for professional use regularly.

3 Likes

There’s the option of completing unimplemented features as there are unfinished code.

For example: I have a foreground extraction selection tool that needs to have only one quirk finished before artists can talk about how to use it. If you could figure out why the foreground selection tool generates a lot of noise, and fix it at the code level, then you’d be making this tool happen. It’d be a step for making Krita closer to the level of Affinity Photo with the power of flexible painting option.

2 Likes

‘Without any explanation’ was a bad way to put it (but if you want examples of that, check out the next paragraph). What I mean is that devs use the excuse of ‘a feature being in another program isn’t good enough for us to add it’ way too often, and as a dev myself I get it. There’s a billion people asking for X purely because X is in some other random program/website/tool. They’re probably asking for some barely usable marketing-garbage tool that got shoved down their throat because it had a bunch of buzzwords that made people think the program was ‘so advanced’ just for having it. That’s not what I’m asking for.

I don’t know if you’ve ever scrolled through one of my Krita discussions before, but I spend hours or days of my time sometimes just trying to make a case for something. I don’t just go ‘add this please’, I make videos, screen recordings, direct comparisons with the performance or reliability of other programs, infographics, mock code, possible solutions, deep dives into QT or Krita code myself to try and find the underlying problem, time things down to the ms, record with high speed photography, etc. Keep in mind that linked thread is more of me rambling about extremely deep, inherent problems with the way Krita’s foundation is coded, all the way down to the QT level and isn’t what I’m talking about above with the ‘shooting down’ suggestions.

Here’s a better example of a bug fix or feature example with pictures, artist-friendly explanations, math, deep-dives and direct real-world examples of the ugly output Krita gives and what it should give instead, that got a ‘yeah that sucks’ and then sat dormant because only professional artists would notice this stuff.

My feature requests ended up getting shorter and more jaded because I realized effort in suggestions gets barely anything, and of course got no reply. So if you want an example of a legitimate concern getting no explanation here’s your example.

A more positive example, where I felt the devs actually cared but was absolutely expecting silence when I first posted. Of course if I recall from the MR, it was a handful of lines of code at most and since it was a regression it was logged as a bug. But it felt good as an artist regardless.

Version control and the entire Phabricator MR landing and auditing and approval process is so unbelievably daunting to artists that I don’t know how you expect to get true artist feedback there (unless the artist is they themselves a programmer). Saying that is ‘the best place’ for artist feedback just shows how disconnected the artist-programmer dynamic is in the whole process.

Funny you mention that, because one of the only features I’ve ever successfully got implemented in the probably 3 years now I’ve used Krita, was added when I did exactly that. Right after the original request was almost completely ignored. I still use the feature they added nearly every day, dozens or hundreds of times, and it has saved me an uncountable amount of time and I am eternally grateful.

I think these are good questions I’ve never seen really considered. Which brings me back to the original topic I had brought up, who is Krita for? And not the corporate answer of ‘everyone teehee’, who do you target? There is a target, or Krita would have all manner of random non-art features. Is it a photo editing program? An art program? A meme making program? Ironically enough, I’ve seen features get added which benefit barely anyone, if anyone at all, and all I can think is why? I’m not going to name which ones because I respect any and all work put into the program, but it’s frustrating thinking that the same effort could have been put into something that would benefit wide swaths of entire industries.

But every time I think of some feature that would benefit nearly every artist I know in my field, all I can think is how it’ll just get ignored and I don’t bother. And it’s mainly because a lot of them are a bit more than some small feature.
I dream of a day where I have the funds to personally commission the development of specific features of Krita to benefit everyone.

4 Likes

A little off topic. Just an idea about getting fund.

Create a feature-sponsorship board. For each requested feature, show an estimated development cost and time along with it. User who want that feature could join and place a vote with a suggested amount they are willing to donate. Once a feature accumulated enough vote/fund, dev team can start an actual KickStarter to crowdfund for that feature.

The way it is done can be different. The main idea is that when people want a feature, they sometime don’t care to make a small donation to speed things up for what they need. The current donation system is just asking for money and to be honest does not motivate people to donate.

3 Likes

I agree. While I love to donate to Krita and support it vocally in every situation I can, I feel a lot of resistance from many people.

I’ve seen this problem with Affinity Photo, too. Once they had a list of top features users wanted, many people got into the hype and bought the program. Now they don’t have any kind of actual roadmap anymore and it feels like the development kinda slowed down. Doesn’t help that two years ago I send two bugs to them and they fixed them over one or two days and now relatively small bugs take months for them to change.

Also, Photoshop is getting relatively more more worse than better, at work I hear someone complaining about it every 15 Minutes, while that was certainly not as true around the time of CS6. We’re about 40 Adobe users. With me and a few selected others using Krita as much as we can :sweat_smile:

I think Krita is in a great spot right now. Especially since now we finally get some real big names to use it.
Who thought that Craig Mullins, the godfather of digital painting would use Krita? Let alone tell anyone to do so? Well he did last week. (He made Photoshop kinda big for painters and worked directly with the developers since the beginning of PS, even when there were no graphics tablets around yet).
Dave Rapoza now tried it too and likes it. We’re in a good time right now.

On the funds page: writing that it’s being worked on the overall performance, faster transformations, filters and an overall snappier performance would increase funds, I’m sure. That is what users want, what people say. That is, let’s stay honest, also what I personally want.

3 Likes