Color Smudge Brushes in Krita

I come from a background using a program called Corel Painter which had the ability in the last version I used (Corel Painter 2016) to work with blendy brushes on layers and still take colour information from layers below by picking up underlying colour.

This was useful for more non-destructive type working and the ability to leverage layer opacity to make glazes that still appeared to mix on the image. If you only work on one layer you can’t add more subtle blending graduations and glazes easily and it becomes a frustrating experience (at least in my opinion anyway).

I switched to using Krita though, I find Krita much nicer to work in than Corel Painter was and it comes without the ridiculous price tag and popup adverts.

The closest thing to the sort of brushes I used to use in Corel Painter in Krita are ones made with the colour smudge brush engine. The frustration I was having was I thought they only worked on one layer. When I tried them on layers above they did not mix with the image below.

Recently I was doing some searching on the internet and someone had been inquiring about this. It turns out there is a feature called overlay you can switch on in the brush settings for brushes using the color smudge engine which allows you to pick up the underlying colour from layers below. I tried it out briefly and it helps.

If you look on the documentation for this there are a few caveats however. It works by “picking up” bits of the layer underneath which may mess up the layer if you want to work on it again later. Glad I read that bit- I guess for now a good thing to do is make a duplicate back up of the layer before you use overlay mode just in case.

Another thing that helped me work with brushes that use this engine was turning down / adjusting the smudge length. Too much smudging looks really nasty. These brushes are not as good as Corel Painters brushes were but they are more usable if you adjust the settings.

Ironically after working with Krita more I have been using the old smudge technique less but this information may be useful.