- Model: Mairi
- Photo by: Pat David / @patdavid (taken from: An Open Source Portrait (Mairi))
- Background by: Malik Skydsgaard [Unsplash]
License: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0
In a reply in an earlier Krita related post I created (Krita: Luminosity masks […]) I mentioned having done some elaborate/stylized retouching experiments and that I would try to merge these experiments into one and post it. Well, here it is…
This end-result isn’t picture-perfect, this started as a private test/experiment project and although I did spend many hours on it as is, I initially did not spend the time to make this perfect 'cause an end result wasn’t one of the goals, proving the concept and gathering Krita experience was. I should also mention that this is a after-the-fact merger of 3 different projects.
Why am I mentioning this? If you go looking for little mishaps, mistakes and some sloppiness you are going to find them. The hair part probably being the most obvious. Doing this correctly takes many, many hours of meticulous work.
All this was done with Krita versions 4.4.2 and 4.4.3 (an update came available at the end of these tests).
The things I set out to do/test in these projects and that where actually used to create the above edit:
- Restore part of Mairi’s missing left arm,
- Replace background with a scaled/composited one,
- Fix tone/texture/DOF background,
- Shadows/Lighting on background,
- Skin retouching (frequency separation + local D&B),
- Emphasize eyes and lips,
- Fix slight redness on skin,
- Shadow/Lighting on cardigan,
- Extensive hair work (removing, inpaiting, cloning),
- Shadow/Lighting on hair.
Here’s a comparison between very early stages and the one exported from Krita:
Some stuff worth mentioning:
- Krita’s non-destructiveness:
Do I need to say anything about this? Some steps are destructive in nature but just about anything else can be done non-destructively.
- Skin retouching:
A low frequency and a high frequency layer, created using a combination of a Gaussian blur, grain extract blend mode and a grain merge blend mode. I used Krita’s smart patch tool to work on the low frequency layer. Although this tool is simple, it is powerful and precise enough for this work. For work on the high frequency layer I created a low flow, hard edged clone tool, with the pressure settings disabled. It does the job perfectly.
I also gave Krita’s native Wavelet Decompose option a go: Works as expected. It defaults to 5 layers (+ residual) and you can go up to 10 layers if wanted/needed.
I find Krita’s brush edit/creation tools easy to work with. Creating 2 hair specific brushes, one dynamic and one working on a very small pixel scale, was a easier than expected. Creating a new brush group that holds favourites, changed and created brushes was also a piece of cake. The amount of options are a bit overwhelming though…
There’s a 2 hour video by David Revoy were he goes through all the brushes that came with Krita 4.0.0 showing how and when to use them.
- Transform Tool:
I only used this tool in this project while doing work on Mairi’s left arm, but I did do another quick test to find out what this one can do. Especially worth mentioning is the Mesh functionality within this tool. Very powerful and you can create just about any shape, smoothly, with it (Video from the Krita team [YouTube]).
- Clone layers and File layers:
Two interesting and, at times, very useful layer types. Both are what I would call dynamic in nature.
File layers make it possible to link an outside document to the project you are working on. Changes made, with another program to the outside document are picked up by the Krita project.
I tested this one with the background image. The resizing and transformation was done before and after it became a File layer in the main project. Fixing the tone, texture etc was done from within the main project.
Clone layers is an up-to-date copy of another layer in the project. Handy if a group needs to be based on an up-to-date version of a layer done earlier.
There are many more layer types to that can be used.
- Using a tablet:
I use a Wacom Intuos S and it was immediately recognized and easy to configure to my needs/wishes, this can be done on an individual brush basis as well. This tablet is a rather simple one, so I don’t have any personal experience with, for example, the many tilt related options.
- RAW images:
Krita is, natively, able to import RAWs if you wish to do so. It uses libraw and gives you the possibility, although somewhat limited, to tune/change some settings.
- The future:
This is on the horizon: Krita 5.0
I am rather happy with what I’m already able to do with Krita with the somewhat limited knowledge about it that I have at the moment. It definitely did hold up during these tests/experiments of mine.
I really like its non-destructiveness. I did make mistakes while experimenting, some of them where major, and those where rather easily corrected. Moving around layers and whole groups isn’t a problem at all and copy pasting layers and/or layer groups from one project into another also works nicely.
I’m definitely going to invest more time and effort in Krita.
In the end the weak link turns out to be me, not Krita
OK, that’s it for this post. I hope people start to see that Krita isn’t just for animation, comics, illustrations and concept art but can also be used to edit photos.
Some Krita resources