Painting Study Process: Kira


For this painting I started out as usual by making small painting studies in Krita using basic brushes.

I tried a different approach than I have before for this image where I took the Initial grayscale colours and colourized them using Deoldify, an open source deep learning model to help colourize grayscale images. When I did this I used the offline version but there is an online version as well. Many similar such websites for colorizing images have emerged.

I then Up-scaled the image using a program called AI Photo and Art Enhancer before hand
painting more colours and details in Krita using the RGBA brushes. I wanted to try a painterly style with visible brush marks for this picture so I thought the DAP mode would be good.

AI Photo and Art Enhancer

If I were to do this process again I might use PhotoGlory‘s colourize instead which also has some basic colour editing and LUT presets / colour tones and effects built in to the program which
are easy and fun to use. I like that is is an offline desktop software as well. It can be useful to play with different looks in this program because of the visible preview thumbnails which save time choosing.

Edit 2023

There is another offline software for colorizing grayscale images called Interactive Photo Colorizer available on I’ve tried the demo for this and it looks quite good with options for changing colors by placing spots of color where you want. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of PhotoGlory, but if you have an image editing program that isn’t needed anyway. I think it worked better with a nicer result than PG. I think programs like Photoshop now have colorizer AI tools built into them anyway.


If doing this again I would repair missing areas before the upscale and painting stage by using the patch tool in Affinity Photo (unfortunately the patch tool in PhotoGlory was buggy and crashed the program).

Also I would play with the composition using the content re-frame tool in AI Photo and Art Enhancer (Mediachance). There may be ways to do this using liquefy and warp tools in most
good graphics editing software as well, but this tool was easy to use and I needed to upscale the image before painting more into it anyway which this software lets me do. I think there are tools in Photoshop and Gimp for doing this sort of context aware transformation but I don’t use Photoshop or Gimp. Alternatively I could have developed thumbnail sketches testing different compositions from scratch, but I thought this might save time.

Content Reframe Tool

The distortion does not matter because this is just for the under-painting. Detail can be added and fixed in the painting process.

MagicTints was useful for this quick example. I applied the colour of the second example to the final painting to see if it worked or not. Colour grading can be useful to try different visual moods / looks on an image either before you go into doing a painting or after. I did experiment with this on this painting last year. You can use LUTs in most image editing programs to alter colors as well without such a program or do manual edits. Photoshop has inbuilt color grading tools including AI based ones now.


It is also fun to try different colour adjustments after that in your editing software. This is using a subtle split toning adjustment on the shadows and highlights.


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