A short report on Krita Sprint 2019

This Krita Sprint was bigger than ever, or so I’ve heard, as this is only my second one, and because of the amount of things that happend deciding on what to write about was not easy. The Sprint did a lot to create stronger bonds between the different Krita actors: developers and artists. Dicussions between the groups allowed us to set effective development goals for the upcoming Krita version as well as showing there were some processes in need of polishing in order to be truly effective –quality control and testing timeframes come to mind–.

I focused mainly in knowing how other artists used Krita, which varies significantly between them. Most artists seem to work on a fixed way, but they do it in controlled environment so results are always consistent. This makes it very important to make all features discoverable in not only one way, sine once an artists find a confortable workflow they will rarely get out of it and will never get to know some tools they need but they never stumble upon. This might be the case for artists coming from other applications as tools could be placed were they do not expect them to be. For example, one artist suggested we should have a liquify tool, unknowinly that the “tool” was already there, but contrary to what they expected the tool was not a filter but rather a suboption in the transformation tool.

Above it can be seen the different stages of work, debugging, discussion, drawing. The portraits are a fraction of an idea to improve the “about us” profile page, the idea came up during the meeting.

Also I took the oportunity to get to know how other krita developers work, specially in regards on how they approach users to gain a better undertanding on how things should behave. This is specially important on bugs not caused by a function output incorrectness but bugs on usage quirks strongly related with the workflows the artists follow to complete the task and get a more optimized, less clunky, flow of actions. Developers can study how the tool should work and implement it in that direction, but the actual users will use the tool expecting it to work seamessly like the mental model they already possess –coming from traditional workflow or also another painting software desing ideas– of the action they want to perform to get a result. Of course we can’t just blindly implement any feature or change a user requests, but seeing how the discussion slowly narrows down on how to achieve a result in a sensible and/or logical workflow, was a good learning experience.

Short Chronicle of the Sprint

I arrived on August 6th, with almost all members already in the working space. I quickly found a place to start working and after greeting everyone I helped my GSoC mentoree to setup the development environment on a spare system we had as he could not travel with a system of its own. I started looking at the artists working on their illustrations and how they approached devs to discuss improvements and new ideas. In the mean time, between discussions, I did some debugging to fix a couple of bugs. This was also the first time I saw the HDR painting Krita station in action, the color selector is not only a color selector but a light selector as it shines with strenght. Artists who used it described the sensation more as painting with light instead of using pigment.

The second day, on August 7th, boud had arranged a visit to the Open Lucht Museum, an open museum full of historic buildings, preserved functinal windmills and watermills, and some other devices from other times. All houses were fitted with objects from the time the house was built, with depictions of how life in the Netherlands was troughtout history. We splitted in groups to find interesting places to draw and get inspiration for creative ideas. The museum was very productive and after visiting it we head for dinner for a long talk and good food.

On august 8th we had the big meeting, sitting all together in a discussion that lasted the entire day. We talk all topics in dept as everyone was there: from user reachout, quality control, feature request, bug report and fix rates, development priorities, possible goals for next year. For each and every important task to tackle a task in phabricator was scheduled to be created latter that sprint. The ideas were discussed and after a long day we went to have a very good dinner were talk and discussions kept going, now in a more relaxed manner.

I stayed a couple more days at the Sprint headquarters and worked on bugs on the day. At night I had good conversations with Wolthera and boud about many topics. Sadly all things come to an end but I headed back full of inspiration and work, lots of work to do for the next half year 🙂

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