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Krita, the free sketching and painting program, hits version 5.0



Krita, the free sketching and painting program, hits version 5.0

The first thing to remember is that Krita is a 2D paint application while other programs such as Photoshop are designed for image manipulation. This means that the other programs may have more features than Krita in general– but Krita has tools that are relevant to digital painting. The tools are designed for concept art, creating comics, and textures. If you use a feature that isn’t listed, make a quick video tutorial and let us know. We’ll put it up to share with everyone.

User Interface

An intuitive user interface that stays out of your way. The dockers and panels can be moved and customized for your specific workflow. Once you have your setup, you can save it as your own workspace. You can also create your own shortcuts for commonly used tools.

Brush Stabilizers

Have a shaky hand? Add a stabilizer to your brush to smoothen it out. Krita includes 3 different ways to smooth and stabilize your brush strokes. There is even a dedicated Dynamic Brush tool where you can add drag and mass.

Pop-up Palette

Quickly pick your color and brush by right-clicking on the canvas. You can also use Krita’s tagging system to swap out the available brushes that are displayed. The ring outside of the color selector contains the most recently used colors. These settings can be configured through the preferences.

Brush Engines

Customize your brushes with 9 unique brush engines. Each engine has a large amount of settings to customize your brush. Each brush engine is made to satisfy a specific need such as the Color Smudge engine, Shape engine, Particle engine, and even a filter engine. Once you are done creating your brushes, you can save them and organize them with Krita’s unique tagging system.

Wrap-around mode

It is easy to create seamless textures and patterns now. Press the ‘W’ key while painting to toggle wrap-around mode. The image will make references of itself along the x and y axis. Continue painting and watch all of the references update instantly. No more clunky offsetting to see how your image repeats itself.

Resource Manager

Import brush and texture packs from other artists to expand your tool set. If you create some brushes that you love, share them with the world by creating your own bundles. Check out the brush packs that are available in the Resource area.

Updated Tablet Support for Windows, Linux and macOS

We finally managed to bring together the code we wrote for supporting tablets on Windows (both Wintab as Windows Ink), Linux and macOS with the existing code in our development platform, Qt. This has improved support for multi-monitor setups, more tablets are supported and a host of bugs with tablets have been resolved. This was a huge amount of work!

Note: we needed to patch Qt to make all of this work. The patches have been upstreamed but might not yet be integrated by your linux distribution. Until that happens, you might need to use the Linux AppImage instead of Krita as built by your distribution.

HDR Painting

HDR Animation created in Krita by Agata Cacko

Krita has been able to work with HDR images since 2005, but it’s now possible to view your HDR image in HDR, on supported hardware. You can now not only save your HDR image in .kra or OpenEXR files, but also extended PNG. With the right version of FFMPEG you can even create animations in HDR! Having the correct computer setup for this can be rather complicated, so head to the documentation to see what is involved. HDR display is only available on Windows 10.

If you have HDR enabled, the Small Color Selector Docker has an extra “nits” slider that allows you to change the brightness of a specfic color.

Improved brush speed performance with vectorization and lock-free programming

Two of our 2018 Google Summer of Code students sped up Krita with programming techniques called lock-free hashmap for managing the pixel data (Andrey Kamakin) and GPU vectorization (Ivan Yossi). The lock-free hashmap should improve Krita’s speed with multithreading, the chart shows the performance gains based off your CPU core count. Vectorization for the Gaussian and Soft-brush tips optimizes Krita by taking advantage of your processor’s ability to do similar calculations really quickly, the gif above showing the speed difference for the gaussian brush tip.

The left axis on the graph is time in milliseconds. You can see the painting operations go from 1.5 seconds down to about 1 second with the lock-free hashmap. The blue line shows how Krita previously worked.

Improved Color Palette Docker

An improved color palette from one of our Google Summer of Code students for 2018 — Michael Zhou. It is more stable as well as some of the following changes:

  • Instead of an entry-based docker, a rows and column based docker.
  • It can hold empty entries, which is useful for organizing.
  • Stable drag and dropping of colors.
  • Easy adding in entries by clicking them in the docker.
  • Right-clicking removes an entry.
  • Palettes can be put into the KRA file.
  • You can press the folder icon to open a palette editing dialog where you can set a palette to be stored in the document or resource-folder.

What’s New:

Note on File Compatibility with Krita 4.x and Krita 3.x files:

  • Krita 5.0 is a major release of Krita. Krita 5.0 cannot load vector layers created before Krita 3.0 and has a completely reworked resource system.
  • Krita 5.0 has an updated brush preset file format (.kpp). Krita 4 and earlier cannot use brush presets created in Krita 5.
  • Krita 5.0 fixed an issue with text size in documents. However, opening files created with earlier versions of Krita may require changing a setting to get the originally expected text size.

Faster & More Flexible Resource System

We have fully rewritten Krita’s handling of resources like brush presets, gradients, palettes and more. Before we had a fragile system of models, where we should have been using a proper database, and thus, we are now using an SQLite database as the core of our resource handling. This fixes many bugs with tagging and loading resources as well as a handful of UI problems. It also makes our resource system faster and leaner. Because we are now not loading all resources at once, Krita will now start up quicker, and take up less working memory (from our tests, Krita 5.0 took up 200 mb less RAM!).

New bundle manager and configurable resource locations.

Krita’s resource folder used to be hardcoded. Not any more! You can now configure which folder is the resource folder and where the cache is located. Those of us who’d like to have their resource folder on a USB stick will now be able to do so.

As well, we now support more resource libraries. We already had our own resource bundle format, but now we also support photoshop layer style libraries and brush libraries. Documents can now also be seen as a place to store resources, and though we only use it for palettes right now, we hope to extend this in the future.

New Resource Manager

This new manager allows you to mass-tag brushes as well as delete and undelete resources at will (Krita will deactivate these). It comes with nice little UI features, like a tagging widget that shows all the current tags on a resource in one quick glance.

Layer styles are now resources

This allows tagging and searching amongst layer styles, as well as sharing them, or loading several layer styles at once from a downloaded ASL file.

Smoother Gradients & Improved Gradient Tools

Dithered gradients (MR 668)

Gradients are an excellent way to quickly setup the main color swatches of your image, for example, a quick linear gradient for the horizon, or several radial gradients for light sources. However, if you used subtle gradients, you would sometimes see banding, caused by there being too few colors available in 8 bit images for a smooth gradient. We have implemented dithering for gradients in 8 bit images, which involves using a blue noise pattern to create a little bit of offset in the boundary between colors. This way, even 8 bit images which don’t always have enough colors to trick the human eye that something is smooth, can have the illusion of smoothness in these gradients.

There was a Libre Graphics Meeting talk discussing the technical details.

Wide gamut and unbounded gradients (MR 668 , MR 675).

But not only the 8 bit images got love. For images in 16 and 32 bit, the gradients Krita generates will now be able to use the full scale available. Furthermore, we’ve made it possible to store wide gamut and unbounded colors using SVG 1.1 icc-color definitions, meaning that you can now have radial gradients that contain rec2020 green, or whites that would only be possible in HDR images, bringing the conveniences of the gradient tool to people who work in these higher bit depths. We hope to support CSS 4 color definitions for the stop gradients when it’s draft has been completed.

Comparison of gradients with and without dither, with an extra set of examples with increased contrast to display the difference.

Gradient Editors got an overhaul (MR 857).

They are now more cohesive, compact and convenient, with small options left and right to make creating gradients easier than before.

  • Easier option on UI to delete stops
  • New tear drop display of stops
  • New color sorting options
  • Cycle through stops with left and right arrows

Faster color management with fast float plugin (MR 726)

With the fast float plugin, the speed of color management improves drastically, especially with 32bit float. This is enabled by default. Color management via LittleCMS enables us to display colors accurately, and is also necessary for professional features like soft proofing and color model support, and is always applied to Krita’s view of the image.

Animation Overhaul

Our Timeline Docker has a new look and a variety of improvements. We’ve removed the old Animation Docker and moved its core functionality directly onto the Timeline. Also, animations can be paused at any time, pinning layers has been made easier, playback range automatically adapts as key frames are added, and a number of other changes have been made to improve visual clarity and the overall feel of navigation, transport and editing. (MR 311 MR 317)

New Storyboarding Tools and Workflow

Thanks to the help of one of our 2020 Google Summer of Code students, Saurabh “Confifu” Kumar, Krita now has a Storyboard Docker that can be used to plan the shots and storytelling of complex shorts or films. (MR 392). This docker does not just allow you to collect and annotate scenes, but also a wide variety of export options, such as PDF and SVG. There are multiple views you can switch between..

User Interface Improvements

Our icons were last refreshed for 2.9, and over the years a few hiccups had emerged. Timothée Giet was hired to give the icon set a good scrubbing, and the UI overall had all sorts of little tweaks done by Raghavendra Kamath, Pedro Reis, Scott Petrovic, Tom Tom, Simon Repp, Paul Franz, Andrei Rudenko, Daniel (Sxnic), and Alvin Wong.

New File Formats with AVIF & WebP

This avif is a frame from Cosmos Laundromat, encoded in rec 2100 pq. Krita opens files like these as 32bit float linear images, making them ready to be used with the LUT docker.

And many more.

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5 reasons you should buy a cheap phone over an expensive one



5 reasons you should buy a cheap phone over an expensive one
Moto G22 face down on top of a wall

The Moto G22 on a wall.
(Image credit: Future)

If you’re looking for a new phone, a key consideration is always budget – you want to buy the best phone you can afford. But maybe, even if you’ve got the money for a premium device, you should still opt for a cheap phone.

“Wait,” you’re probably thinking, “are you asking me to spend less than I’m able on my new phone?”  Yes, I am – you’re absolutely right.

You see, despite budget phones being weaker than premium ones in quite a few ways (obviously), there are a few departments in which they actually beat top-end models.

So we’re going to run through some different areas in which cheap phones actually trump their pricier rivals. 

1. It costs less money

Okay, we’ve got to start with the really, really obvious point. A cheap phone is – you guessed it – cheaper than an expensive one.

If you spend less on your phone, you’ve got more to spend on the best power banks, phone cases, charging cables, and so on. Plus, you’ve got extra for non-smartphone things. Y’know: bills, food, transport, and so on.

Smartphones operate on the rule of diminishing returns: a $400 smartphone is not twice as good as a $200 one, and a $1,200 phone isn’t twice as good as a $600 version or four times better in any way than a $300 one.

So if you want the best bang for your buck, a budget mobile will get you there.

Moto G9 Power

The Moto G9 Power has a massive battery. (Image credit: Future)

2. Much better battery life

Phones don’t have great battery life sometimes: when you factor in features like 5G, high refresh rates, top-end processors, and so on, a giant battery can get worn down incredibly quickly.

But you know what cheap phones don’t have? That’s right – any of those features. If a phone is 4G-only, has a low-res screen, and only runs with a middling chipset, it uses the battery at a much slower rate. All of the longest-lasting smartphones are budget ones.

That’s doubly the case when you consider that cheap phone makers like to use huge batteries in their phones – plenty have 5,000mAh power packs. Motorola has even used 6,000mAh ones in some phones, and certain Chinese rugged phone brands have gone even higher.

If you want a long-lasting phone, you’ve got to opt for a cheap handset with fewer features. It also makes such devices reliable for more extended periods.

3. Hardier designs

Glass has become one of the most commonly-used materials for smartphones – it adds to a premium-feeling build and looks good from all angles. 

But you know what glass isn’t? Durable. It can easily smash from an impact like a drop. It’s also slippery, making glass phones harder to hold. Because of this, mid-range and premium phones are more susceptible to damage, even if brands slap silly marketing terms on them like ‘Gorilla Glass Victus’ or ‘Ceramic Shield’.

Cheap phone makers generally stay away from glass. This is mainly because of cost, but it’s beneficial for affordable phone fans because plastic is hardier.

A plastic phone is much more likely to survive a drop or hard knock, letting you avoid the experience of having to get your device repaired as often (or ever, hopefully).

Realme 9 Pro Plus

The Realme 9 Pro Plus has a cool-looking, yet plastic, rear. (Image credit: Future)

4. Cooler chipsets

Cheap phones often have cooler chipsets. No, we don’t mean ‘sunglasses and Tommy Bahama shirt cool’ – we mean temperature-wise.

Premium phones get top-end chipsets, which provide loads of processing power for tasks like games. An annoying side-effect of loads of power, though, is that these chips can get incredibly hot if you use them for long periods.

Counter-intuitively, this means that mid-range chips can be better for gaming if you like playing for extended amounts of time, and don’t need the most top-end graphics available to you.

As you can imagine, budget phones often have weaker internals, so they generally don’t have overheating issues, and are fine for gaming. Plus, in this day and age, you rarely find phones that are slow, even in the lower-cost market.

5. A bigger range of fingerprint scanners

There’s a trend in the premium phone market towards in-screen fingerprint scanners, where the sensor for unlocking your phone is embedded under the display.

This is a fine way of unlocking your device for some, but if you prefer a back- or side-mounted scanner, you’re mostly out of luck at the top end of the market.

That’s not the case for cheap phones, though: you’ll find those digit sensors all over the place in the lower end of the market. Some phones have them in-screen, others have them on one or both sides of the phone, while plenty have the scanner on the back.

So if you like tapping the rear of your phone to unlock it, or caressing the side of the device, instead of just tapping the screen, budget devices are, in fact, the best phones for you.

Tom Bedford

Tom’s role in the TechRadar team is to specialize in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working in TechRadar freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. Outside of TechRadar he works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.

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We’re in love with this leaked Xbox Elite Series 2 controller design



We’re in love with this leaked Xbox Elite Series 2 controller design
An Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 in white

(Image credit: Nicholas Lugo)

The Xbox Elite Series 2 wireless controller looks like it’s getting a brand new color variant with a White Edition.

The Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 has so far only been available in its default black color scheme. But a short clip shared on Twitter (opens in new tab) by leaker Rebs Gaming shows off a new white edition in the flesh.

The clip starts by showing the premium Xbox Series X|S controller’s box. Next, we’re given a look at the controller itself, which wears a clean white-on-black coat.

All the usual Elite Controller bells and whistles are accounted for. That includes the carry case, swappable analog sticks and customizable back paddle buttons. It looks like the genuine article, though we’ve heard nothing from Microsoft to confirm if or when the pad will actually be released.

A sign of pads to come?

Leak: I think this is our first footage of the Xbox Elite Series 2 White Edition controller. A leaked image of the controller was shown by @IdleSloth84 back in March. Source: https://t.co/WfMCEk3FQv#Xbox #XboxOne #XboxSeriesX pic.twitter.com/t97qbaNPCuAugust 8, 2022

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Okay, sure, the White Edition isn’t exactly the most daring design Microsoft could’ve chosen for its Elite pad. But it’s nonetheless eye-catching. I think that keeping certain parts of the controller black – like the sticks and grips – is a smart aesthetic choice. They contrast really nicely with the white center.

The Elite Series 2 is an excellent controller. But it’s lacking the one thing that the regular Xbox Wireless Controller has in abundance: color options. We’ve seen countless bold designs for the standard Xbox controller, including an eye-popping special edition for Forza Horizon 5 and a stunning hot pink design. But the Elite hasn’t really had the same treatment yet.

I hope that this new White Edition not only comes to market, but that it’s also a gateway for more ambitious designs for Xbox’s top pad. Seriously, a purple Elite pad would be an instant buy for me, and probably for many others, too.

Rhys Wood

Rhys is Hardware Writer for TechRadar Gaming, and while relatively fresh to the role, he’s been writing in a professional capacity for years. A Media, Writing and Production graduate, Rhys has prior experience creating written content for app developers, IT firms, toy sellers and the main TechRadar site. His true passions, though, lie in video games, TV, audio and home entertainment. When Rhys isn’t on the clock, you’ll usually find him logged into Final Fantasy 14, Halo Infinite or Sea of Thieves.

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Street Fighter 6 is bringing the ‘80s (and feet) back



Street Fighter 6 is bringing the ‘80s (and feet) back

Here come some new challengers. At the end of EVO 2022’s Street Fighter V tournament, Capcom revealed two more characters coming to the roster of Street Fighter 6: Juri, the “I can fix her” returning fighter, and newcomer Kimberly, an ‘80s-obsessed teen.

Kimberly, the spunky new ninja, and Juri, the sadistic thrill-seeker, join #StreetFighter6 when it arrives in 2023! Spray cans, a portable cassette player, and motorcyles have never looked more fresh. ️ pic.twitter.com/Lnw87p27aP

— Street Fighter (@StreetFighter) August 8, 2022

Student of Guy and successor to the bushinryu tradition, Kimberly is spunky and colorful with an affinity for spray painting her enemies midmatch. Though Kimberly is a teenager and Street Fighter 6 seems to be set in the current day, she’s enamored with all things ‘80s, carrying around a cassette player that some younger players probably won’t even recognize.

It’s like Capcom is aware that, in addition to its younger audience, there’s a certain subset of older Street Fighter players rising from their creaking knees and aching back looking at the ‘80s with fondness. In that way, Kimberly is a send-up, a reminder of simpler times. In other ways, she’s a very rude reminder that those happy days are so far behind us now that current teenagers are adopting the aesthetic because it’s quaintly “retro.” Thanks, Capcom, for reminding me I’m old.

Accompanying Kimberly in the character reveal is Juri, a character first introduced in Street Fighter IV. Juri arrives in flashy style with an homage to the Akira slide that’s been having a moment lately, as it was also used to awesome effect in Jordan Peele’s Nope. Juri seems a bit edgier than Kimberly, stomping all over her enemies in bare feet emphasized in ways that would make Bob Odenkirk click “like.” It’s always neat when companies seemingly embrace the thirst players have for its characters.

We’ll get the chance to see more of Juri and Kimberly’s stories when Street Fighter 6 launches on Xbox, PC, and PlayStation in 2023.

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