How to Use Layers in Krita


Krita is a free and open-source raster graphics editor designed specifically for digital painting and animation. It boasts an OpenGL-accelerated canvas, color management support, an advanced brush engine, non-destructive layers/masks support, as well as switchable customisation profiles to meet all these criteria.

This application supports a range of built-in filters, such as levels, gaussian blur, motion blur, lens distortion, oil paint and raindrops. Furthermore, it features real-time filter preview.


Layers give Krita the power and control expected from image editing programs, enabling you to manage different aspects of an artwork or frame more precisely; you can arrange them one upon the other, name them, group them together or even duplicate and use clones of layers so you can reuse parts without degrading other aspects of an animation or comic frame above it.

To work with layers, the layer docker is where they should go (right click and select “add new layer”, or simply press Ctrl+E). From there you can name, modify opacity and lock state as well as set custom background color options if needed – then get to work.

When drawing on a layer, its pixels are clipped to its underlying layer and displayed as white pixels – this feature can be useful when designing backgrounds and other elements that should remain flat or have specific colors. To enable it, either click the inherit alpha icon in the layer docker or use “Edit” > “Perform alpha mask”.

Marking layers with color labels is another effective way of organizing files and restricting areas using tools like the fill tool to specific colors.

Krita offers an abundance of filter and effect layers that make layers appear more 3D or blur them, add glow effects or bevels and many other useful effects in just a few clicks. It makes creating and applying various effects effortless!

Once your layers are ready for merging into one, simply right-click and choose “convert to file layer”. This will convert the group into one referenced file layer that can be opened and worked on in other instances of Krita.


Krita comes equipped with a standard set of brushes designed to cover a range of digital painting and drawing styles, as well as support for an extensive array of brush engines – complex sets of code that drive the look and feel of brushes – enabling users to create various effects such as blending, smudging and coloring.

When selecting a brush from your palette, a small window appears with relevant information about it, including its preset name and image file name; color space (RGB or CMYK); canvas size; metadata such as its creator; date created and DPI values. You can move this window using either Window menu options or shortcuts like Ctrl + Tab to place it anywhere on screen or dockers can contain things such as the color picker, layers or brush options – even showing a view of canvas if necessary!

There is a selection of default brushes, including pixel brush engines (suitable for drawing) and paintbrush engines (ideal for smudging, mixing colors, etc). Inking/sketching tasks can be completed using marker-like tips with transparent rough pen engines; similarly more intricate work requires pencil-like tips with watercolor brush engines.

Brush presets offer an assortment of textures, shapes and sizes. While you can modify these with the Brush Preset Editor, it may be beneficial to experiment with some of the preloaded presets first to get an understanding of how they function.

Blending Modes allow artists to change how a brush interacts with its pixels when painting layers behind it. They are most commonly applied to layers’ alpha channels and can produce some interesting effects; Multiply (which multiplies components of brush and layer together) makes shadow painting much simpler.

Erasing, which works like an eraser that doesn’t touch pixels beneath, is another awesome blending mode, while Addition merges brush components with layer components for special glow effects.

Blending Modes

Krita offers numerous ways to achieve various effects with layers, and one of the most useful ways is blending modes. By combining layers, you can produce new colors and shapes. Use this feature to make digital paintings appear more realistic while providing depth perception.

There are six blend modes, each offering their own distinct effect. Normal and Dissolve are two that most people are likely familiar with; Multiply, Color Screen Overlay Soft Light provide more obscure yet mathematical-influenced blending modes that offer interesting results for those wanting something different.

Add Blending Mode works by multiplying the colors values of both layers together to produce a single new hue, ideal for brightening images; however, it may produce unwanted artifacts when used with more saturated or pure hues.

Divide, one of the arithmetic blend modes, sums both layers’ pixel values together before subtracting one from each layer’s value – an effective way to darken images as well as remove color tinting from your images.

Other arithmetic blend modes, including Invert, Multiply and Linear Burn work by mapping each pixel in both layers into an arithmetic value; making these modes non-invertible once applied on top layer; once you apply one of these blending modes it cannot be undone!

Overlay blending mode works by inverting and multiplying both layers’ colors to produce a composite image which only shows up where there are vibrant hues on either layer – ideal if you want to draw with light effects!

Soft Light, like Add and Overlay modes, produces subtle effects when blended together. Soft Light makes an excellent choice when creating subtle highlights and shadows on an object such as adding cast shadows or depicting blood splatter or dirt in pictures.


Krita is an advanced drawing/art program with many attractive features, which makes it competitive with top notch programs like Photoshop. Krita offers smoother brushes than its rival, more streamlined animation capabilities and greater support for production workflows than many of the alternatives out there such as Illustrator. If you are considering switching from Adobe products such as photoshop for any reason Krita could be an excellent replacement choice.

Create standard, group, vector, filter, and mask layers quickly and easily for effective image management and manipulation. A special resource manager allows you to easily import brush textures and gradients created by other users of the program into your image.

Krita also features a selection tool, with various options for selecting parts of an image, including rectangle, elliptical and freehand selection tools as well as polygonal and contiguous color selection tools. Furthermore, there is even an advanced magnetic selection tool which automatically draws bezier selections when finding edges.

Krita offers another useful feature, the ability to resize and rotate images quickly – something especially handy if working across multiple monitors.

The program includes a feature that enables you to open and work with two images at the same time, switching between views using tabs at the top of your screen or by pressing Ctrl+Tab. This feature is particularly helpful for comic artists who need to draw their panels side-by-side.

Krita offers many other handy features as well. These include an autosave feature, backup files and crash recovery as well as an image library capable of storing large numbers of images. Furthermore, its scripting language and API enable you to extend its capabilities further.

Krita community members are highly involved and contribute regularly. Additionally, regular Krita sprints bring together developers and artists in person to work on improving its development faster while simultaneously building better communication within its ranks. Furthermore, this software is available across multiple platforms like Linux, macOS and Windows for user access.

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