As Vivien creates concept art and researches character designs for Cosmos Laundromat, she uses a mix of traditional and digital techniques. The digital painting is done using Krita.
Our goal: 3 keys, 3 tools
A core part of Vivien’s workflow consists of using the “paint”, “erase” and “smudge” tools in rapid sequence. This is possible in softwares like GIMP or other commercial software by invoking specific shortcuts. For example, pressing the W key will switch to the brush tool, the E key will toggle the eraser tool, R will toggle the smudge tool.
While Krita is a powerful digital painting application, its reliance on “Brush engines” defines a different way to perform “paint”, “erase” or “smudge”. These actions can be accessed through the brush palette or via pie menus.
Two ways to erase
For example, while we are using a brush to paint, we can press “E” to toggle “erase mode” in the brush settings and the brush will start erasing instead of painting. This will happen while maintaining the same brush radius, textures, etc.
This is not always desirable, since painting brushes often use specific settings to achieve a style and texture, while we may want a more simplified brush for erasing (usually a circular brush with a falloff). For this reason, we can just use a different brush in the palette, specifically set up for the purpose of erasing. Krita ships with a set of preset brushes that allow this.
Krita also ships with a useful script called “Ten Brushes”, which allows the association of ten custom shortcuts to ten arbitrary brushes. In our case we would need only three:
- W activates a painting brush
- E activates an eraser brush
- R activates a smudging brush
However, the Ten Brushes script has a limitation. If we want to choose a different brush from the one assigned to the “W” key, we can do so by selecting it from the brush palette, or by assigning it to another shortcut in the Ten Brushes, until we hit the brush count limit.
What we actually want is to replace the brush currently assigned to the W key, with the latest brush used. This means:
- W activates the last painting brush used
- E activates the last eraser brush used
- R activates the last smudging brush used
In order to achieve this, Sebastian Parborg has developed a simple Krita script called Three Slots, which keeps track of the last “paint”, “erase” and “smudge” brushes used after pressing a shortcut, so that they remain available after switching tool. You can download it here: threeslots-master.zip.
The plugin is freely available for download here on Blender Cloud and on Sebastian’s GitHub.
Here is a video demonstrating the shortcut-based workflow.
Let us know if you find this script useful for your own workflow or if you have any suggestions or feedback about it!