The KDE Project has released a major new version of its Krita image editing software, with the latest version of the free and open source Photoshop replacement available for both Windows and Linux.
The latest update, version 2.8, marks a significant milestone for the software, marking the first stable version of the software released for Windows.
In a blog post, developer Boudewijn Rempt says the milestone release comes after years of beta testing and development work.
“We have been making experimental builds for Windows for about a year now, and a lot of testers helped us to stabilise it. While this is not really a new feature for Linux users, the step and the work on it was so huge that it does merit the first rank in this feature list! Most work on the Windows port has been done by KO GmbH, in cooperation with Intel.”
Rempt says one of the biggest advances is added support for a range of new graphics tablets for both Linux and Windows users.
“Krita has relied on Qt's graphics tablet support since Krita 2.0. We consciously dropped our own X11-level code in favour of the cross-platform API that Qt offered. And apart from the lack of support for non-Wacom tablets, this was mostly enough on X11.
“On Windows, the story was different, and we were confronted by problems with offsets, bad performance, no support for tablets with built-in digitizers like the Lenovo Helix.
“So, with leaden shoes, we decided to dive in, and do our own tablet support… Drawing is much, much smoother because we can process much more information and issues with offsets are gone.”
Rempt says another area where Krita had previously been lacking, due to limitations in the OpenGL graphics framework it’s based on, is in rendering.
“Krita was one of the first painting applications with support of OpenGL to render the image. And while OpenGL gave us awesome performance when rotating, panning or zooming, rendering quality was lacking a bit.
“That's because by default, OpenGL scales using some fast, but inaccurate algorithms. Basically, the user had the choice between grainy and blurry rendering.”
According to Rempt, the latest version of Krita has rectified the issue.
“The result? Even at small zoom levels, the high-quality scaling option gives beautiful and fast results.”
Other major new features included in the software include a new series of brush presets and a wraparound mode that allows for the creation of tiled images.
The software can be downloaded for free from Krita.org.