Seemingly rising from the ashes, Krita, a part of the KDE Office suite, has become a wonderful application focused on natural painting. Using a brushes metaphor on screen, it has some innovative and quite interesting features like the ability to emulate the way watercolors dry on canvas, a filters gallery to display previews of each filter, adjustment layers, layer groups and tools to precisely manipulate brush strokes. That alone would be worth adding it to your publishing toolbox for the occasional artwork.
The bonus for Scribus users is its versatile handling of a large number of formats and color spaces. Not only RGB, but CMYK, Greyscale (up to 16 bit) and L*a*b are handled using the same littlecms color engine as Scribus. Krita fully supports RGB to CMYK conversion needs in a simple easy to use manner, but can also convert 16 bit images into 8 bit to import into Scribus. (Scribus will support 16-bit images and possibly higher in the future.)
- There is one limitation in the current 1.6.x Krita in the way resolution works when Krita writes an image to disk. Thus, Scribus will always interpret the resolution as 72 DPI, which is not usually high enough for good quality print, so rescaling may need to be done within Scribus.
- Krita is only available on BSD, Linux, MacOSX (via fink) and Unix. Krita 2 is expected to be available as a native Win32 application.
- For importing into Scribus, exporting Tiff from Krita with LZW compression should yield good results and Krita reliably embeds ICC profiles into the images to make color matching from print to screen much easier.
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