Assalamualaikum. Hi guys!

Before we start, I need to emphasize that this video is not intended to bash Photoshop. Both Photoshop and Krita have their own strengths and weaknesses. I’ve been using Photoshop for over 20 years, Krita for almost 10 years, and I still use both to this day. I even have courses for both, on Udemy and Skillshare. So, I know the ins and outs of both software very well. The purpose of this video is to help new users decide which software is best for their needs. The bottom line is that if all the 7 reasons I will describe later are important to you, then I will 100% recommend that you just migrate to Krita and leave Photoshop behind. But if only a few of these reasons are important to you, then you might as well stay with Photoshop.

As a general guideline, Photoshop was originally a software for photo or image manipulation. But then many people used it to create illustrations or digital paintings. Krita, on the other hand, was originally designed as a software for drawing illustrations or digital paintings. As time goes by, it gets more and more image manipulation features. Based on this core difference, you might be able to see where our discussion is going.

Reason 1: Krita is free and open source

The first reason, and perhaps the most obvious one, is the price you to have pay to use the software. Krita is free and open source. So, you don’t have to pay anything to download and use Krita. Photoshop on the other hand is the opposite. It is a paid and proprietary software. You have to subscribe or pay on a monthly basis to be able to use Photoshop. Relatively speaking, at least for most people, the price you have to pay is not cheap either.

Reason 2: Krita has advanced brush engines

The second reason is that the “brush engine” in Krita is more sophisticated than in Photoshop. What “brush engine” means is a program or part of the software that is responsible for creating brush strokes on the canvas. At the time I recorded this video, Krita had 16 different brush engines. So, chances are, no matter how complex your needs are for brush behaviors, Krita’s brush engines can most likely accommodate them.

For example, Krita supports “brush tips” that contain color. Whereas in Photoshop, brush tips can only contain alpha channel information. Krita also supports “animated brushes” or what is commonly referred to in other software as “image hose” or “image pipe” or “sprayer”. Essentially, you can create a brush that spits out multiple colored images in random order or sequentially. You can imagine how much time you can save with this feature. You can’t do this in Photoshop. There are still many more things we can discuss, but I think these 2 examples are enough to give you the idea.

Reason 3: Krita has better brush preset management

Photoshop does have a brush preset management feature. But unfortunately, it still has many limitations. You can filter brush presets by their names. You can use “Group” to categorize brush presets. The drawback of this method is that a brush can only be inside a single group. So if you want a brush to be a member of multiple groups, you must first duplicate it using this plus button.

Next, if you right-click while using the brush tool, you will get the exact same panel as the “Brushes” panel in that you can access in the upper left area. If we need to narrow down the brush presets list, the only way to do this is by utilizing the “Tool Presets” feature. You can access this feature from the toolbar above, or from the “Tool Presets” panel if you have it enabled.

As you can imagine, if you are in an intensive drawing session, moving the mouse back and forth to these “tool presets” panels, would take a lot of time. Especially if your monitor is large or has a high resolution.

In Krita, we can also filter the list of brush presets by name. But what makes it superior is that it does not use “Groups” to categorize the brush presets. Instead, it uses “Tags“. This method is more flexible as we can apply more than one tag to a single brush preset. Just for example, this “Basic 5 Size” brush preset has 5 different tags associated with it. One of which is the “Widhi” tag that I created myself.

This “Tag” feature is closely related to the next feature we will discuss, which is the “Pop-Up Palette”. The “Pop-up Palette” is this panel that appears when we perform right-click in Krita. That is if you have the “Brush tool” active. There are many functions of this “Pop-Up Palette”. But, in terms of brush presets, it can display only a specific “Brush Presets”, based on the tag we specify here.

Another benefit of the “Pop-Up Palette” is that because it is always near the location of the mouse cursor, we can pick or change the brush preset much faster. This feature can save us a lot of time in the long run.

Reason 4: Krita has flexible erasing method

In Photoshop, “brush” and “eraser” are two separate tools. Each has its own independent settings. So you might make a brush stroke with a brush preset that has a smooth border. Then, you want to erase part of the brush strokes. But when you erase them, you find out that the border of the eraser brush is sharp. It is very different from the previous brush strokes that have smooth borders.

You need to right-click and change the brush tip. Then adjust the brush size by pressing Alt, and dragging with the right mouse button. After all of these, you finally can get the brush behavior that you need. So, in Photoshop, we often have to go through several steps just to be able to erase correctly.

In Krita, erasing works a little differently than in Photoshop. In Krita there is no specific tool for erasing. All the drawing tools in Krita can be used as an eraser. That is, if we activate the “eraser mode” button, or by pressing the letter E on the keyboard. Let’s say we draw some brush strokes using the “Airbrush” preset, which has a smooth border. Then, we want to erase some of the strokes. We can just press E to activate the “Eraser Mode”. Now we are erasing the canvas with the exact same brush properties as the previous strokes.

Another example. If we draw some boxes with the “Rectangle tool”. And then we activate the “Eraser Mode”. Now the rectangles we create will act as erasers on the existing drawing.

Now, at this point, you might be wondering. What if we actually want the erasing behavior in Krita to be more like Photoshop? Meaning that the eraser and the brush, each has independent settings. Well, this is why Krita is so flexible. If Photoshop’s behavior is what you want, you can just use one of the special “brush presets” that function specifically for erasing. For example this brush preset.

This type of brush preset will always be in the erasing mode regardless of the “eraser mode” condition. To return to drawing or coloring, we can switch back to the previous brush preset. In addition, you can also open the “Brush Editor” window. And enable these two options.

When these two options are active, all the brush presets will have two independent parameters. One for the normal mode, and one for the “eraser mode“. So again. All these options are available in Krita, it’s just a matter of how we can utilize them.

Reason 5: Krita has more drawing-aid features

Krita provides various tools or features that can aid us in the drawing process, which unfortunately are not available in Photoshop. At least not at the time when I recorded this video. There is a lot that we can discuss. But to save time, I’ll just cover two examples. The first is the “Assistant tool“. The analogy of this tool is like rulers in the real world. There are many types of “assistant tools” provided by Krita. Even for perspective effects alone, there are 3 types of assistants that we can use.

To utilize these assistants, when we use the brush tool, we need to enable the “snap to assistants” option. While in this condition, if we draw on the canvas, Krita will help us to snap the brush tip to the location of the line or curve formed by the assistants. We can easily draw a plate for example. Or draw a long blade, and so on.

The second example of the drawing aid feature in Krita is the “Reference Images tool“. As the name suggests, we can use this tool to easily place reference images in the document. We can set the opacity of the reference image. This can be useful when we want to trace an image, for example. We can also position the reference image outside the canvas area so that it doesn’t get in the way. You can use this for color sampling, for example.

Reason 6: Vector graphics that make sense

Both Photoshop and Krita are raster-based software that offer Vector as an additional feature. The problem is that the vector implementation in Photoshop is a bit strange and complicated. And so it is hard to understand, especially for new users. In Photoshop, vector shapes are stored in a special panel called “Paths“, separate from raster images, which are stored in the “Layers” panel. It would take too long to cover all the Vector features in Photoshop in this video. If you’re interested in learning more, I have a course on Udemy that covers it called “Photoshop and Illustrator speed illustration workflow“. For now, I just want to focus on some of the oddities of how vectors work in Photoshop.

If we create some rectangles in “path” mode. As long as the “work path” layer is active, we can keep adding more shapes, or editing the shapes within this layer. But, if we accidentally deselect by clicking outside the “work path” layer. And then try to draw another shape, say a circle. Strangely enough, the rectangle shapes that we created earlier disappear. Indeed, we can still undo it. But that means the circle shape we just created will be gone. To keep the vector shapes we have created from being deleted by Photoshop, we need to change the name of the “work path” layer to something else, such as “Path 1“.

Now, in Photoshop, the “vector shapes” that live inside the “Paths” panel do not have any visual impact on the document unless we create a visual representation of them in the “Layers” panel by creating a “Shape layer” or also known as “Fill layer”. To create a shape layer, with the “path” layer selected, open the “Layer” menu, choose “New Fill Layer“, and then just select “Solid Color”. Click “Ok” to confirm.

Now, the path we created can be seen because of the “Shape layer” in the “Layers” panel. However, if we go back to the “Paths” panel, we can see that this “Path 1” layer is not directly used by Photoshop. What just happened is that Photoshop duplicated it, and created a dynamic path from it that linked to the “shape layer”. If the “shape layer” is not selected, then the path linked to it will also be hidden. I can explain this for hours. But for now, it’s enough for you to know that the way vector graphics work in Photoshop can be confusing for most beginners.

In contrast, the implementation of Vector in Krita is more reasonable and much easier to use. In Krita, there is no special panel for “path” that is separate from raster layers. Everything can be accessed in one place, which is the “Layers” docker. Krita supports many types of layers and masks. If you want to use vectors, simply create a new vector layer. In this layer, we can create various types of vector shapes without worrying that Krita will delete them if we forget to select the layer.

Now, when the active layer is a vector layer, automatically all the drawing tools in Krita will change to their vector version. With the exception, of course, you cannot use the “freehand brush tool” and the “multi-brush tool” on a vector layer. Both of these tools can only work on “paint” layers or regular raster layers. We can select and edit the vector shapes that we have created, just like with other vector software. We can also hide or show the layer as needed. The cool thing is, we can combine Vector and Raster features in Krita to create complex effects or to speed up the process of creating digital paintings. If you are interested in learning the ins and outs of vector techniques in Krita, you can join my course “Digital Painting with Krita 5.0 intermediate level“.

Reason 7: Krita runs on many platforms

The last reason in the list is that Krita supports more platforms than Photoshop. This may not be very important for most people, but if you have to use a computer with the Linux operating system. Or perhaps, you have a tablet device that runs on Android. Then Photoshop is not an option available to you. Yes, there are workarounds for this. But you won’t get the same performance or the same feature set as the original desktop Photoshop. Fortunately, alhamdulillah, Krita is available not only on Windows and MacOS, but also on the Linux and Android platforms.

If you want to learn computer graphics software such as PhotoshopKritaIllustratorBlender3ds MaxSketchUp, and so on, from the very basics to the advanced level, you should definitely check out my courses on Udemy, or Skillshare. You can also check out my other courses here.

I hope this tutorial is useful, Wassalaamu’alaikum.

Widhi Muttaqien