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Study of Editable Strokes for Inking – Wolthera.info

Study of Editable Strokes for Inking

So, with Krita 5.0 nearing completion. There’s been some discussion about what we’ll do next.

On of the proposed topics has been to replace our calligraphy tool with something that can produce nice variable width editable lines.

There’s a number of use-cases for this:

  1. Inking is exhausting, so making it possible to edit lines after the fact can help in cleaning up a piece after doing the majority of the lines while requiring little motor-skill precision.
  2. Inking requires a lot of practice, so in a studio setting, you’ll likely have a mix of artists, most of which aren’t that skilled at drawing yet. Editable vector lines can help create some consistency in the line work produced by a variety of artists.
  3. Variable width lines have some computer uses as well. We could think of erasing lines until an intersection, but also of simplifying the search for path boundaries, for fills.
  4. Scaling and the like can be done much better with vectors than with raster images, but I personally haven’t seen this used much. Animation, similarly, seems to still per-frame line work as the interpolation tech for vector lines does not solve all use cases.

Usually beginners also really like the idea of editable vector lines because then they can ‘always fix their mistakes’, and I am wary of this as it is a perfectionism pitfall. Strokes that always taper at the beginning and end are another example of something beginners ask for (because they do not have a tablet or the motor skills to taper), but I feel equally uncomfortable about this, as inking without a tablet is a recipe for RSI.

There’s many different ways to approach such lines, and I’m writing this blog post as a study of the different types, problems and what kind of needs we’d have to fulfill if we want it to be on par with raster inking.

To do this, I have used the following sketch and inked it with Krita’s raster tools, Inkscape’s Power stroke and Blender’s Grease Pencil. I will note the good and bad qualities of each. Furthermore, I’ll talk a bit about other solutions I’ve seen as well as Krita’s existing calligraphy tool.

Time lapse of the sketch made using the recorder docker.

The sketch was made by taking the basic-opacity brush, drawing a basic pose, then using the adjustment curves to quarter the alpha, then halving the brush size and refining the sketch, rinse and repeat. This is a technique I tend to use if I am unsure about what I am drawing. The result tends towards the somewhat stiff but technically sound side of drawing things.

Krita’s raster tools

Our ‘control group’? (Though, iirc, control group is when you explicitly do nothing to the base :D, maybe not really applicable…)

I’m using my own inking brush here that I made like 5, 10 years ago. It’s nothing special. I am also avoiding the stablizer, to give an accurate representation of the kinds of strokes I am making. Stablizer does makes things easier as you grow more tired over the duration of the inking session.

There’s a number of different kinds of strokes.

Super cut of uninterrupted lines. Note how the canvas is rotate to let a left handed person make these easily.

Long uninterrupted strokes. To make these, I need to use most of my arm. I also make liberal use of the ability to rotate and zoom the canvas so that I don’t have to do strange arm movements.

Super cut of sketchier lines. These often happen at fine details that have a complex shape.

Smaller sketchier strokes. These tend to form a bigger line visually, and are made when it’s difficult to tell how the shape should go precisely. They result in messier lines than the uninterrupted ones.

Feathering allows me to suggest lines which in turn makes the objects feel more 3d.

Dotted strokes, this is when I am ‘feathering’, which looks a little like hatching, but where hatching is to shade, feathering as an inking term is to create a suggested line.

Sometimes it’s cleaner and quicker to just erase sections.

Erasing is happening in two kinds of situations: 1. Reducing a stroke. 2. removing a stroke that is otherwise overlapped.

Thickening lines strategically can help make the important contours more visible, hence doing that at the end.

To thicken a stroke, we go over it again with a brush.

Situational Use

There are certain situations in which the variable width vector stroke isn’t going to be very useful.

Quick example of a textured line art. We define the important shapes by continuously drawing over the same area over and over. This can then be used as a base for a more story-book like drawing. (Underestimated how small this was, sorry for the jpeg artifacts)

The first situation is when the stroke is textured or semi-transparent. These strokes tend to be made up from very small strokes. While you could imagine a computer doing that, it’s going to be odd.

Recorder docker time lapse showing an inking technique where we just erase whenever we want, and the result is messy, but that also adds to the charm. This is a very fast method.

Similarly, any inking technique that makes liberal use of the eraser is just doing to result in a very difficult to render stroke. Hatching too is easier to deal with in rasters than in vectors, as the number of strokes adds up very quickly.

Inkscape’s Power stroke

Inkscape’s power stroke is a live path effect, which is a feature of Inkscape’s that applies a modifier onto a given vector object. Indeed, if you have used Blender, it’s not dissimilar to it’s mesh modifier stack.

The SVG of the path effect looks as follows:

       offset_points="0.86244098,0.24492331 | 2.4187158,0.29378686"
       end_linecap_type="round" />

       d="m 141.35792,216.07057 c -0.0276,0.11281 -0.0716,0.34971 -0.12294,0.59413 -0.0292,0.13899 -0.061,0.27119 -0.1023,0.39613 -0.0148,0.045 -0.0319,0.0918 -0.0515,0.13927 -0.17908,0.45322 -0.40001,0.8479 -0.674,1.35131 -0.25497,0.46846 -0.49545,0.92864 -0.66586,1.44256 -0.0642,0.19583 -0.12884,0.42029 -0.1924,0.65448 -0.0674,0.24842 -0.13667,0.51918 -0.20297,0.78197 -0.11636,0.46121 -0.18741,0.75083 -0.29558,1.17151 -0.0498,0.19358 -0.10042,0.38704 -0.1522,0.57864 -0.1726,0.6388 -0.33964,1.18944 -0.51217,1.6492 -0.10012,0.26679 -0.19306,0.47861 -0.27912,0.64813 -0.12005,0.23648 -0.21672,0.37056 -0.28054,0.44715 a 0.29378686,0.29378686 90 0 0 0.4514,0.37614 c 0.0946,-0.11357 0.21536,-0.28464 0.35398,-0.55589 0.0985,-0.19276 0.20058,-0.42516 0.30701,-0.70769 0.18253,-0.4845 0.35573,-1.05698 0.52881,-1.70397 0.0521,-0.19477 0.10281,-0.39105 0.15221,-0.5866 0.10038,-0.3974 0.18356,-0.74376 0.28915,-1.17699 0.064,-0.26251 0.12997,-0.53067 0.19335,-0.77458 0.06,-0.23085 0.11914,-0.44579 0.17639,-0.62956 0.14323,-0.46633 0.35151,-0.8942 0.59486,-1.3678 0.25852,-0.50314 0.48454,-0.92799 0.66996,-1.41969 0.0217,-0.0596 0.0404,-0.1171 0.0565,-0.17063 0.0448,-0.14874 0.079,-0.29701 0.10986,-0.44306 0.0544,-0.25732 0.0991,-0.47638 0.12396,-0.57792 a 0.24492331,0.24492331 90 0 0 -0.47586,-0.11624 z"
       inkscape:original-d="m 141.59585,216.12869 c -0.0945,0.38686 -0.14019,0.78902 -0.28351,1.16057 -0.375,0.97221 -0.98283,1.79222 -1.30234,2.79068 -0.47491,1.48407 -1.0781,4.97731 -1.95794,6.03318"
       style="fill:#000000;fill-rule:nonzero;stroke:none;stroke-width:1.99937" />

We have a section in the defs that describe the effect, and then a path which references that. The power stroke itself consist of a base path, to which the live path effect adds nodes that represent the size at that point. There’s a number of additional options that allow controlling the behaviour at the ends of the curve, as well as the interpolation mode and other small details.

Inkscape 1.1 currently has the ability to create such strokes easily, by using the pencil tool and enabling the pressure sensitivity.

The usability is wanting, as this tool over-simplifies the input, resulting in lines that often only have one or two points to indicate the size, making many of them indistinguishable from non-power stroked paths. The bezier part of the paths is fine, but the few size-nodes per stroke is not.

When doing small strokes, this tool bugs out, creating strokes of the wrong size.

Beyond that, the pencil tool has no features to set the pressure curve, nor can the canvas be rotated with finger input (it can however be zoomed with finger input!). It also seems to be view-relative in how big the curves can be, which is really annoying when you’re the type to zoom out for larger curves.

Editing the final curves is quite easy, however. The size handles can be easily moved, and the bezier part reuses the bezier editing functionality from the rest of the program, allowing on-canvas dragging of the curves.

There are a number of editing operations which do not work. The power stroke LPE has no concept of joining paths, or having multiple sub paths in a path. The ‘tweak’ tool is also not possible on these paths, as it seems not to work on non-closed paths. This is unfortunate, as it means a whole subsection of vector editing functionality is not possible. The eraser in inkscape is also implemented using a completely different method, it just produces a variable path, then takes the existing paths, ensures the LPE’s are ‘merged’ by converting them to regular paths, and then subtracts the ‘erasing path’ (if the eraser isn’t set up to remove the whole path).

Overall, I get the impression that Inkscape over-simplifies in order to make the final stroke easy to edit. This however means that the tools cannot track my subtle motions, which makes using it rather frustrating, if not indistinguishable from drawing regular paths. Furthermore, the power stroke path effect isn’t treated as a first class citizen, and much of the vector editing functionality is something that cannot be reused. Perhaps the disconnect between the size and the nodes make it very hard to reason about what a join between two power strokes looks like.

Inkscape’s implementation seems to be inspired by that of Synfig, but I did not test it out.

A stroke made with inkscape's calligraphy tool, with all the nodes visible.
Inkscape’s calligraphy tool does give better results. But it only produces the final path, which is harder to edit.

Blender’s Grease Pencil

Blender’s grease pencil was originally designed to allow artists to leave annotations on each other’s 3d models and animations (hence ‘grease pencil’: an oily pencil that can be rubbed off a smooth surface easily). In recent years, the project has upgraded this tool to handle variable-width strokes and other functionality.

As per usual, Blender’s usability is… idiosyncratic. I used Blender a lot 8~ years ago, and can model in it decently, but this inking session took several tries to set up because I was flailing around trying to navigate it. I will try to avoid commenting too much on Blender being Blender in favour of evaluating the tool itself.

Blender’s implementation works by taking vertices, and giving them extra properties like size, opacity, color, and proly some other things. It then connects these vertices into a polyline. The polyline is then rendered in some way or another, though I don’t dare to say exactly how, the colors seem to be vertex-colors, and it’s capable of a soft edge, but no clue whether said edge is calculate over the line, or that the line is actually stroked with a soft dab.

The usability of creating the strokes is much better with Grease Pencil. The tool has the ability to set a pressure curve, as well as some smoothing options. Rotation of the view is not possible, and zooming and panning cannot be done by using finger gestures. Even worse, there’s no palm-rejection at all, leading to blotches.

Suggested lines are a lot easier to do in Blender because it picks up the details much better.

The paths produced are very dense. This is noticeable when drawing, as the lines tend to pick up the details of my strokes very nicely. However, this in turn also means they are tricky to edit. The tools given to edit are largely the same ones used to edit the vertices in meshes (like sculpt and rotate/scale/translate of selected nodes), and I suspect this is the primary reason why the grease pencil is a polyline: Blender can then reason about these vertices like it reasons about all other vertices. On top of all this, erasing seems strangely difficult.

A variety of editing operations, such as adjusting line thickness, erasing and sketchy strokes, which I would’ve avoided with inkscape’s tool.
Blender does have an interface to treat these polylines as a bezier path, but it’s only an interface, underneath is just a polyline. It has some functionality to increase the sampling and such.

Solutions in CSP and Sai

So, I didn’t make an official test of these, but here’s some things I know about the solutions of these.

Like Blender, their implementation seems to consist of nodes that have certain properties, like size, opacity. Unlike Blender, it seems these implementations use a type of curve that does not use control points, but rather goes through each node smoothly (This might be a K-curve, or something like that, see links at the end for more info). The exact nature of these curves still elude me, but the lack of control points as is usual in bspline and bezier curves must be by choice. Another difference with blender is that the size per node seems to be in percentage to a full stroke size, with tools to adjust the stroke size all together.

These implementations are most clear about using a dab-based sort of brush engine to stroke the resulting path. All vectors are treated this way, so circles and rectangles are too always ‘stroked’. Of note is that this kind of stroking does not use any canvas sampling effects like we use in our color smudge, deform and filter brushes.

That said, like Blender’s implementation, editing the vectors is hard. This is partially because of the amount of extra tools that get added (and are in CSP’s case, nearly impossible to find), but also because there’s far more nodes, and the more nodes and properties there are, the harder things become to edit.

Variable width lines are a first-class citizen in these programs, because they are the primary vector implementation, so all the editing tools can edit them, and it’s possible to split, join and use the eraser to erase only what you need.

Previous Work

So, Krita already has editable variable width curves. But they are buggy and you can only edit the positioning. I tried upgrading these curves, but failed.

These curves store size and angle information per-node, and then tries to generate a path from that information. The path generation is bugged, because it does not understand how to handle sharp angled curves.

Furthermore, the parametric path class is not sophisticated enough to edit the size and angle inside the node, as well, we do not store this kind of specialized data at all.

I tried solving the save/load problem by refactoring the whole thing to use KisPaintInformation, like our brush engine uses. This sort of worked, but the reason I had to stop is that PaintInfo and friends tends to change too much, meaning my branch bitrotted in a matter of weeks.

Similarly, getting path rendering to work was a headache as well, and I in fact, never got it to work as it should. I am just not good enough with vector paths for this.

The big problem is that everything changes when you add angle and ratio. It’s easy enough to think ‘ok, we should make this per-segment’, but then you’re stuck trying to develop a vector path that is derived from an ellipse following a path. How does one even figure out the maths for that? In cases like these specifically, a stroke-based path would be easier to reason about.

Finally, besides the saving, loading, path generation, and general inability to edit the path beyond positioning, the UX of the calligraphy tool is wanting. Most of the options are very obscure, and while I managed to make some headway in this in my branch, I suspect we might be best off to have the freehand brush tool generate these kind of paths when drawing on a vector layer (though this also has draw backs).

Some of the changes I made, in particular the sampling options based on distance and time, could be useful inspiration for a future tool.


Right now, neither of the open source solutions I checked were really comfortable to use. Studying all examples, we can tell there’s a number of core questions we need to solve:

What base path to use?

The three things I looked at, all used different methods: Bezier curves, straight lines, and some kind of auto-smoothed curves that may be something akin to ‘k-curves’ or auto-smoothed curves.

Krita can already generate bezier paths, and more importantly, we have generalized UX classes for editing these bezier paths by dragging the paths. This can be useful if we feel that showing these nodes is too complex (mesh transform for example allows turning control handles off as the direct curve editing is enough in most cases). What this means is that we do not directly need to worry about the UI becoming too complicated when choosing bezier curves.

Straight lines are easier to reason about, and the weird autosmoothed curves have less UI trouble, but our bezier curve implementation is really thorough so I am not sure why we’d try anything else. Animation, perhaps? Did not research this.

How to render the final stroke?

Here the difference between the various versions is most prominent: Either there’s a vector path being generated from the original path data, or the original path data is stroked by a sort of brush engine.

The stroked version is easier to render, but harder to store to SVG: We’d proly have to store PNG data into the SVG, and then store the path data as a sub-elements, especially if we’d like to avoid having to re-stroke all paths on load. Stroked paths can have more cool effects like color and opacity changes, but are less portable, because only Krita would know how to scale them.

The vector paths version is in contrast, easier to store, it’d be a path, with path data as sub-elements, but harder to generate. Vector paths are more portable, but have less capabilities.

Both is in theory an option, but we’d still, beyond anything, need to choose the primary method at risk of scope-creep.

What data to store?

Inkscape only stores size, and the size nodes are separate beasts from the nodes that make up the bezier paths. Blender and other solutions (as well as Krita’s current solution), store the data into the path nodes. Synfig implements both, as noted in the extra links section.

I think we should go for storing the data into the path nodes, as it makes it a lot easier to reason about when deleting nodes, adding nodes and other path operations that flow from this (I recommend looking at the advanced outline link for reasons against this).

The kind of data we store will depend on how we render the result. Stroked paths will be able to do much more than vector paths. I do not think we should store paint-information, rather we should store end-result size/rotation/opacity/whatever we choose. These will be much easier to edit by the user.

Editing itself will also require a potentially new vector object to be written, as the parametric path shapes are designed for circles and rectangles, and not for bezier paths with extra information per-node.

Trade-off between too many nodes and too few nodes?

Generate too many nodes, and the path becomes harder to edit, generate too few nodes, and the path is harder to create (because it does not sample the user-input correctly).

Generally, I feel like programs seem to go too hard into either direction, and am not sure why we cannot choose how many nodes are placed.

My instinct is that we should generate too many nodes at the start, and then try to simplify afterwards. Perhaps even use ‘stablizers’ to let the user choose the simplification method.

The creation tool and other integration.

Like I said, I believe using the freehand brush tool on a vector layer might be sufficient. We could then imagine a model where we have a class for these kinds of strokes, which stores per-node size/angle/opacity/whatever. These then get generated by the freehand path tool, using the current brush preset to process the PaintInformation into size/angle/opacity/whatever for each node.

There’s one big problem here: Not all of our brush engines are dab-based. Furthermore, we need to communicate to users that the canvas-sampling features of o.a. the Color Smudge, Deform and Filter brushes do not work for these vector objects. Another problem is that we might introduce unique features where it comes to erasing and stablizing, and we’d need to figure out where we would keep track of such options.

Then we need to wonder: are we going to allow the straight line tool and geometric tools to generate such paths? This is particularly important if we go with the stroked render method. Similarly, we should keep track whether the fill and selection tools can use this information and how.

Finally, I personally think it’d be cool if we could use some heuristics to make the tool easier to use. For example, looking at my own test, if I am using small overlapping strokes, I clearly want to have a large final line, so why not allow this kind of gesture to extend an existing line? Other examples include: increasing the size by drawing over it, decreasing the size by erasing, removing overlaps when erasing. This is of course very pie-in-the-sky, and will need a lot of testing.

Who will use it?

We will need to find people who are planning on using these features. Not all of the folks that we usually consult care about this feature, even if they do a lot of line art, because of the reasons I lined out in the ‘situational use’ section.

I don’t think I’ll work on this tool, as I have been trying in the past and failed. Furthermore, there’s a number of other post-Krita 5 projects that I would be more successful in (color management improvements, QML port). None the less, I hope anyone who wants to work on this now has a good overview of the design decisions that need to be made.

Some links on vector lines

Some of these links discuss things that I was unable to cover, such as Synfig’s implementation.

  1. Synfig Outline Layers
  2. Synfig Advanced Outline Layer
  3. SVG proposal variable width lines
  4. Ralph Leviens Spline Work, this has some background info on k-curves.
  5. OpenToonz Manual page describing the tools to edit line thickness (Thanks to Jeff for pointing this out).

By Wolthera

Artist, Krita manual writer, Color Management expert and also busy with comics creation.

10 replies on “Study of Editable Strokes for Inking”

Hi worthera! I love your work within krita. And this exploration was very good to read. I’m a user of krita, blender, Inkscape and opentoonz.
I want to highlight the opentoonz, you did not tested it, but it uses a kind of bezier and has a density of nodes setting right in the drawing tool, it has bezier controls, stores size data, direction data too, it can use textures and vectors as tips and the eraser works fine , it can erases lines and remove overflow vectors. I don’t like it for short strokes, but I think it worth a look.

Thanks! I’ve never had a reason to try opentoonz, so I kinda forgot about it 😀

But thanks for the detailed description, this way we can rack up data points.

EDIT: I’ve found a manual page and added that to the links section.

This is really interesting. If you need help with something related with inkscape ask, Jabiertxof or any other member of the team. If you need testing SAI or CSP, just let me know. I think this could be really interesting for comic artists. I have saved this to my “study” folder 😉

Hi veri interesting article, just a question seems you don’t tweack the powerpencil settings in inkscape, this allow to increase precision and nodes, I’m the dev of powerpencil, not powerstroke, I’m glad to set more accurate defaults. About using nodes to store wheight, this can be cool for complex pat’s (painting) but not for a ink of 3 or 4 nodes. The main problem for this implementations are joins, the best program I know handle it is creature house expression with his skeletal strokes. Also congrats for your text works

just a question seems you don’t tweack the powerpencil settings in inkscape, this allow to increase precision and nodes

I don’t recall, this was a year ago. As far as I can see in 1.2, there’s only a smoothing and a min-max option, so maybe powerpencil is something else entirely?

Hi, is in tool preferences (double click in tool) there is a LPE simplification number default to 25, reduce to 10 for example.

Hi Wolthera,

I had many of the same thoughts when looking at the miserable state of Krita’s calligraphy tool, and thus comparing it with Inkscape and Blender Grease Pencil too. But concerning Krita, I ultimately got stuck at the question what I’d actually want to achieve?

If we stay at the calligraphy tool for a second (since I actually tried to rebase that old branch a while ago), I can’t really tell which rendering approach is more promising, as both seem to have their pitfalls.

As you pointed out, modeling the outline of a calligraphy stroke using a tip that is not just an infinitely thin line is quite a task. Inkscape’s implementation may not be quite as buggy as Krita’s, but from what I can tell is also based on an infinitely narrow line tip, just with some optional rounded end caps to it. Anything below full angle lock wiggles rather uncontrollably too.
On the other hand, my attempts to do calligraphy with a pixel brush have not been too successful either because you need extremely low spacing to get some kind of smooth edge with a thin ellipse tip, it looked more like mice had nibbled off my edges…
so I’m sceptical a dab based solution can perform well, but it might be promising to develop a calligraphy brush engine based on the curve or particle engine’s techniques.

Anyway, calligraphy is probably not the main selling point of editable strokes, and if either way is tricky, maybe just focus on “normal” line art.
The “always fix their mistakes” aspect admittedly has some appeal to me too, but it should not compromise the results for skilled artists.

I also came to the conclusion that a “Power Stroke”-like solution is not really up to the task. While paths with just enough Bézier segments to match the shape are nice to tweak manually, the result is rather sterile, not really giving the impression of hand drawn lines. And the whole workflow ends up tweaking control points one by one, RSI aside, not really really the workflow that seem desirable for Krita. Like, why don’t you just use Inkscape then.
Also, applying these offset effects to Bézier paths is rather tricky, Inkscape still has some issues with sharp bends and corners too.

So I’m also thinking about some more or less dense polyline approach. But how exactly…
The way you want to render them has a major influence on how you want to define the stroke.

Blender’s approach with the Line type Grease Pencil materials (the Dot type basically adds a sprite to each node, effectively mimicking a dab based brush but not with constant spacing) is basically to create a textured quad between the vertices of the polyline. That means you need pretty dense nodes for a smooth curve, which makes them tedious to edit directly. Adding detail with sculpting tools work better with dense points on the other hand.
From what I understand, any kind of soft edge is actually a gradient texture mapped laterally across the the generated segments.
That approach great for an existing geometry rendering pipeline (for both interactive viewport and high quality final rendering), but that’s not something Krita currently features in that form. It’s also a bit limited in what you can achieve. While it’s better than just a plain vector shape you fill with a solid color, it’s far from stroking with our brush engines.

I agree that the obvious choices for Krita are generating some “normal” vector shapes, or render to texture with brush engines.
Although the former seems quite a bit of work to implement anything beyond solid colored strokes. Would generating mesh gradients along the path even work for opacity? I guess it would bust at self overlapping strokes already…

If you want to use the brush engines without big modifications, I guess you have save their input data (KisPaintInformation basically), and not the derived parameters like size, opacity etc.
People have also asked for a way to edit their last stroke on paint layers, although I’m not sure we should consider this the same topic.
There’s some interesting aspects though. It could help minimize the necessity of stroke editing for example. Instead of making countless test stokes after each preset tweak to get a brush you can control, just draw some outline(s) the way that feels comfortable, and tweak your preset with (almost) instant feedback to give the taper, opacity etc. you expect, and from then on it should happen much more naturally.

On the other hand, editing becomes less intuitive and more limited, because you may e.g. want to control size and opacity but have to base both on pressure, so you can’t edit them independently. And maybe for performance reasons, a more specialized brush engine would be a good idea anyway.

A general concern I have is the memory usage vs. performance tradeoff, either each stroke is effectively a separate layer that will eat RAM quickly, or tweaking a path will have to re-render all other overlapping paths, which may be very CPU heavy with full-fledged brush engines. I wonder how CSP does it…

About curve interpolation, some automatic smoothing seems like a good idea, at least as default node state. Possibly with some detection for sharp corners as you draw paths. There seem to be enough ways to define smooth curves with derived tangents that can be represented as Bézier curves for explicit tangent controls where necessary (Catmull-Rom is probably the classic). But explicit node tangents may interfere with sculpting tools à la Grease Pencil.

You also mentioned the Bézier mode for Blender’s Grease Pencil strokes. Last time I tried, it overwrote all details (e.g. width and color variations) between the nodes of the approximated curve with smoothly interpolated values, but that issue should be solvable (if they haven’t already). In general, I like the idea of an automatically simplified Bézier approximation to adjust the “macroscopic” shape more easily, as long as it doesn’t destroy detail without warning.

I haven’t really thought much about erasing or even auto-merging strokes with overlapping ends.

How can I sum it up…to me the basic editing concept of Grease Pencil is quite appealing, except that the rendering part does not quite fit into Krita, and that’s where it gets hard to weigh up the alternatives against each other.
I don’t see a clear winner yet. There is so much you could do, but plenty of tough things you’ll have to solve.

so I’m sceptical a dab based solution can perform well, but it might be promising to develop a calligraphy brush engine based on the curve or particle engine’s techniques.

A general concern I have is the memory usage vs. performance tradeoff, either each stroke is effectively a separate layer that will eat RAM quickly, or tweaking a path will have to re-render all other overlapping paths, which may be very CPU heavy with full-fledged brush engines. I wonder how CSP does it…

Well, as long as we do not have canvas-sampling features (so, no color smudge), we don’t need to calculate all of the stroke at once, or all the time, so I think we have a lot of room to reduce slowness in a dab-based stroke. We already ‘cache’ all the other vector objects, so it might be less intensive that you think 🙂

People have also asked for a way to edit their last stroke on paint layers, although I’m not sure we should consider this the same topic.

Suspecting this might be a seperate thing, yes.

I don’t see a clear winner yet. There is so much you could do, but plenty of tough things you’ll have to solve.

Yeah, it’s a way bigger topic than you’d think, so hence my comparison. I am not confident we might be able to oversee all the issues if we’d just try to get by with ‘discussing’ it…

Speaking of vectorizing these kinds of strokes always reminds me of Creature House Expression. Can’t believe it’s been 20 years already. I don’t think anything has come along yet using something similar to the “skeletal stroke” technology they created. I thought it had potential, but it got absorbed by Microsoft and seems to have disappeared.

When I need the benefits of vectors for my digital inking work, I just export a PNG file and use Inkscape’s “Trace Bitmap” feature.

Hi Wolthera
Thanks for your work on Krita (that’s a really nicely lined drawing too 😮 )
I have seen the vector lines used a lot in Webtoons – especially when it’s a series with tight deadline and budget (also used a lot for manga background, Clip studio can also turn 3d models into vector lineart layer but it’s buggy comparing to raster) – stuff gets copied around and scaled up and down. My personal experience with these vector lines in Clip studio is like this: shorter lines rarely needs editing – it might be faster to delete the whole line and redo. Vector lines shine the most with long lines – If the post-correction and stabilization setting is maxed, the line will have very few points and the smooth line is easy to achieve. The line weight is not adjustable at the points – you have to use another tool to thicken/thin it, which will add many more points on the line – after that if you try to edit the line it is not really nice anymore (I usually make a duplicate of it then adjust the line weight, or just add another line for the thick parts). Maybe it’s ok to not have the ability to adjust line weight with control points, but have some options for line styles which will cover most use? (thick start – thin end, thick – thin – thick, thin – thick – thin, with the start-middle-end being adjustable? Might this be too hard on the machine?)

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