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Some of you may have heard of/seen free software named Krita, mostly marketed as painting software. I had tried multiple times in the past to install Krita, but had problems doing so. Due to an interest in a possible non-directly-texture-related drawing idea, I decided to try again, and after updating my system and a long download from git later, success!
What I had found made me realize that Krita is more than a painting program, but can be used for pixel art as well. Since it can do painting+graphics+photo+vector work too, I'd say it's close to Photoshop feature wise and is actually a few steps above GIMP. After messing around with cool features, I found the coolest of them all for texturing:
(sorry about cobblestone set in sand it was just a test... best way to show it off, though. Texture is 64x64, neon green box in the middle is the 'real' texture)
'Wrap around mode'.... tiles your image for you, in real time, allowing you to draw anywhere you see and watch the tiling unfold before your eyes. No 'tile' filter, no smart objects. Just tap 'w' and it toggles.
Other ways it's better than GIMP for textures:
rotate/mirror canvas view
assistants (used to make shapes)
tons of different brush effects
right-click brush menu
YOU CAN MOVE PIXELS WITHOUT CUT+PASTING THEM INTO A NEW LAYER
filter masks.... not really sure if GIMP can do this, but with Krita it allows you to make a filter you can edit later
symmetry... ok so not really needed, but still pretty cool (can be useful for sun/moon and paintings, I guess)
supports RAW images
live previews on all filters
Now, the downsides, at least as far as I have seen...
undo seems a bit wonky. It will properly undo, but the name (for me it was a filter layer using brush name) of it may be wrong... so you might think it didn't undo something when it did
filters don't seem to update immediately when you change them: if it's trying to render a filter already, it has to complete before it tries again
selection on a pixel-level seems to visually cut through pixels... even though the selection is correct with no AA/feathering
doesn't seem to be plain brightness/contrast, only 'brightness/contrast curve'
Shift+click to fill in an entire selection from GIMP can be done in Krita using the backspace key (it will use your background color to fill as the fill color)
For pixel art, you might need to edit the pixel brush for it to work right:
click on the 4 squares icon ('choose a preset' tooltip)
on 'enter resource filters here' type 'pixel'
take the time to right click on pixel1 and choose 'assign to tag>favorite presets' so you can get to it from the right-click menu
click out of that menu (or hit esc)
click the 'edit brush settings' button to the left of the 4 squares icon you pressed earlier
in 'brush tip', change shape to square, change H/V fade to 1,
go to Flow>sharpness and make threshold as low as it goes (strength as high as it goes if it isn't already).
choose 'overwrite preset'
it should work properly! (except the icon, not sure how to fix that)
If you decide to try it, tell me your thoughts/experience! I gotta say, the wrap around mode and symmetry does it for me, but similarities to GIMP/Photoshop (And Corel Draw+Paint Tool SAI so I hear, but I haven't used those) and even more features than GIMP makes me want to get into using it full time! Plus GIMP hasn't been going anywhere... hasn't been major updates even after teased features (symmetry and puppet/marionette tool from Google summer of code I think?).
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"I'm an outsider by choice, but not truly.
It’s the unpleasantness of the system that keeps me out.
I’d rather be in, in a good system. That’s where my discontent comes from:
being forced to choose to stay outside.
My advice: Just keep movin’ straight ahead.
Every now and then you find yourself in a different place."