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Painting with the freehand brush tool

Painting with the freehand brush tool

Let’s now talk about what’s probably Krita’s
most fundamental tool: the freehand brush tool. You can access it by using the B key
or by clicking on the brush icon in the toolbox .as the name suggests, this is the tool you’ll
be using for all of your freehand brushwork. Krita focuses on digital painting, and this
is where it really shines. For one, all of the shape drawing tool in the toolbox will
use your currently selected brush preset to draw shapes on the canvas. But more importantly,
in Krita, your brush presets can store blending modes, opacity and flow; they can paint with
image filters like blur or sharpen, and they can smudge or mix colors. As we will see in
a moment, every brush preset can also be turned into an eraser. Thus all of the shape drawing
tools can do that as well. This logic makes Krita’s approach to drawing both easy and
flexible at the same time. This tool works with brush presets. You can
find them in 2 different places. The first place is the brush presets docker. By default,
it is hidden behind the layers docker, in the 2nd tab called brush presets. You just
have to click on the tab and then you will find a list of available brushes. You can
also access it as a floating panel by clicking the icon with 4 squares in the toolbar. Or
you can press the F6 key. Just click on any icon to load the corresponding
brush preset. Then, with the freehand brush tool selected, you can use it to paint on
the canvas. There is a lot to say about the brush presets and we will come back to it
later. But for now, just notice that there is an example stroke is drawn on every icon.
This gives you a sense of what every preset does. One last note: colored brushstrokes
often correspond to smudge or color mixing brushes.
We will look closer at the way brushes are organized and represented later in the training.
For now, just take your time, have fun, experiment with a variety of presets to find the ones
that you like. Let’s talk about the resizing the brush
and changing the opacity. There are 3 ways for you to change the size of your brush:
You can shift click and drag on the canvas to resize it on the fly.
The bracket keys, [ and] on the keyboard, resize the brushes with pixel increments.
They also snap the size value of your brushes to round numbers.
Last option, you can use the slider in the toolbar and just click and drag on it. Right
next to it, there is a slider to change the opacity of your strokes.
Now, we know how to pick brushes and change their core parameters. A common problem when
we draw with digital painting applications is that our strokes are imprecise. They tend
to be jagged. Especially if you have little experience working with a graphic tablet,
it is very hard to draw smooth lines. Krita comes with a few built-in brush smoothing
options to improve your line quality. Maybe you don’t know what brush smoothing is.
The idea is that it delays your strokes a tiny bit, by a few milliseconds, to give the
application the time to smooth out your input. You do get a little lag, although it’s even
hard to feel, but you benefit from a much greater line precision. Something that’s
normally really hard to achieve. The smoothing options can be found in the
tool options docker. This is the 3rd tab hidden behind the layers docker. There are 3 options
for you to choose from, but let me say it straight: the one I recommend is the stabilizer.
Let me still run you through the smoothing types.
Basics smoothing doesn’t have any parameters .it applies a minimal amount of smoothing
to remove jaggedness in your brush strokes. Weighted smoothing offers a few options to
fine tune the smoothing effect. The distance slider is the most important option here.
It controls the strength of the smoothing, and the lag it will induce.
Last option: the stabilizer. It is a tiny bit more advanced than the weighted smoothing.
It can turn your freehand brush tool into a lazy brush if you check the delay option,
which means that it adds a little dead zone around your brush, in which your input gets
ignored. This is used to draw sharp angles, in general, with smoothing on. But the stabilizer
can also smooth all of your tablet’s inputs, while weighted smoothing will only affect
your pen’s position and pressure. Okay, that’s a lot on smoothing. But that’s
a very useful function. Smoothing is great to have. But should you always use it? The
answer is no. I recommend that you use it only to ink your sketches and for painting
jobs that require precise brushwork. When you are just sketching or shading a painting,
you will get a faster feedback from the application by deactivating all smoothing. And instead
of literally deactivating it, setting the options to “no smoothing”, you can actually
just drag the distance slider of the stabilizer all the way to the left. This will reduce
the lag to the point where you can’t feel it anymore.
We know how to draw smooth lines and how to pick brush presets. The only thing we’re
missing is an eraser ! The eraser is a bit special in Krita. It is a blending mode. We
will come back to blending modes later, but for now, all you need to know is that those
modes change the way your brush strokes blend with the existing pixels on the canvas. As
Krita features an eraser blending mode instead of an eraser tool, it allows you to erase
with any type of brush. To toggle the eraser mode, you have to press
the E key. Pressing this key both changes the blending mode in the toolbar’s drop-down
menu to eraser and it activates the eraser icon right next to it. You can click on that
icon to achieve the same effect. When it’s active, painting will remove pixels on the
canvas instead of adding them. Press the E key to toggle the eraser mode of your brush
on and off. By default, switching to the eraser mode preserves
your brush size. I prefer to have a different brush size for painting and for erasing. Thankfully,
there is an option for that. To activate it, we have to click on the edit brush settings
icon. It can be found on the left of the brush presets icon. You can also open this panel
by pressing F5. At the bottom of it, there is a little checkbox
called “eraser switch size”. Just click on it, and from now on your eraser and your
brushes will have different sizes. Some of you will like the way the eraser works,
but I’m sure some will want some more flexibility. That’s my case. Sometimes, I want to paint
with a soft brush and erase with a hard brush to control my edges. Krita offers 2 ways to
do that: one of those involves the pop-up palette, which we will look at in the next
video. But you can also use the slash key to switch between your current brush preset
and the last one you selected. That way, if you pick an eraser and another preset to paint
with, the slash key will allow you to switch between the 2.
We have already seen a lot of things in this video. But there is a last very important
manipulation I have to share with you. To undo and redo operations, you respectively
need to press the Ctrl Z, and Ctrl Shift Z key combinations.
Now we know how to paint and to erase, is time to learn how to pick colors, and more
with the pop-up palette. We will do just that in the next video.

14 thoughts on “Painting with the freehand brush tool

  1. Je tiens à te remercier pour le boulot que tu fais, qui m'aide beaucoup à prendre le logiciel en main et à m'améliorer o continue comme ça, c'est génial :3

  2. I've been having trouble with 3.0 beta of Krita. For some reason, the brush tool dosent work with my tablet pen and I can only use my mouse. Any way I can fix this?

  3. Small question, In the "tool option" window is it normal that it's completely empty there seems to be no stabilisation options? Or anything in that matter.
    By the way your videos are a great help thanks a million good sir!

  4. I'm sorry, I'm new in digital painting also in krita. I want to ask how to make brush look pointy at start and at the end. Ive been searching for it whole time, but I can't find it

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