How to Enable Onion Skin in Krita: Unleash Your Creativity

A Fun and Friendly Guide to Enabling Onion Skin in Krita

Are you an aspiring artist looking to take your digital drawings to the next level? Discover the power of onion skin in Krita and bring your animations and illustrations to life! In this article, we’ll show you step-by-step how to enable onion skin in Krita, providing you with a comprehensive guide that is suitable for the whole family. Let your creativity shine with onion skin in Krita!


Before we delve into the details of enabling onion skin in Krita, let’s first understand what exactly onion skin is and how it can enhance your artistic creations. Onion skin is a technique commonly used in animation, where you can see a faint overlay of the previous and upcoming frames, allowing you to maintain consistency and fluidity in your animations. It helps you visualize the movement and make necessary adjustments, resulting in more polished and professional-looking artwork.

Onion skin is not only limited to animation but can also be utilized in illustrations and digital paintings. It allows you to see multiple layers simultaneously, making it easier to add depth and detail to your artwork. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced artist, enabling onion skin in Krita can significantly enhance your creative process.

Now that we understand the importance of onion skin, let’s jump into the step-by-step tutorial on how to enable it in Krita.

Enabling Onion Skin in Krita: Step-by-Step Tutorial

Before we begin, make sure you have the latest version of Krita installed on your computer. Once you’re ready, follow these simple steps:

Step 1: Open Krita and Create a New Document

To enable onion skin, you need to open Krita and start a new document. You can do this by clicking on “File” in the top menu bar, then selecting “New” from the dropdown menu. Choose your desired canvas size and resolution, and click “OK” to create a new document.

Step 2: Access the Animation Workspace

Next, you’ll need to access the animation workspace in Krita. This workspace provides you with all the necessary tools and features for working with animations. To switch to the animation workspace, go to the top menu bar and click on “Window.” From the dropdown menu, select “Workspace” and then choose “Animation.”

Step 3: Enable Onion Skin

Now that you’re in the animation workspace, it’s time to enable the onion skin feature. Here’s how:

  1. Locate the timeline at the bottom of the screen. It shows all the frames of your animation.
  2. Click on the frame you want to enable onion skin for.
  3. Right-click on the selected frame and choose “Onion Skins” from the context menu.
  4. A new window will appear, displaying the onion skin options.
  5. Adjust the settings according to your preferences. You can choose the number of previous and upcoming frames to display, the opacity of the onion skin, and more.
  6. Once you’re satisfied with the settings, click on “OK” to apply the changes.
  7. You will now see the onion skin overlay on the selected frame, allowing you to visualize the movement and make necessary adjustments.

Repeat these steps for each frame of your animation to enable onion skin throughout the entire sequence. Now that you know the basic steps, let’s explore onion skin in more detail.

Understanding Onion Skin: Enhancing Your Artistic Journey

Onion skin is a powerful tool that can transform your digital artistry. By enabling onion skin in Krita, you gain valuable insights into the movement and structure of your animations and illustrations. Let’s take a closer look at the key aspects of onion skin and how it can enhance your artistic journey:

The Importance of Consistency: Maintaining Smooth Animations

Consistency is crucial in creating high-quality animations. Without onion skin, it can be challenging to maintain consistent movement from one frame to another. Onion skin provides you with a visual reference of the previous and upcoming frames, allowing you to align your drawings accurately and ensure a smooth transition.

With onion skin, you can easily spot any inconsistencies or discrepancies in your animation. This gives you the opportunity to make adjustments and refine your work, resulting in a more polished final product. Consistency is key to capturing the viewer’s attention and immersing them in your animated world.

Adding Depth and Detail: Illuminating Your Illustrations

Onion skin is not only beneficial for animation but also for illustrations and digital paintings. It allows you to see multiple layers simultaneously, providing a better understanding of the composition and depth of your artwork. By enabling onion skin, you gain the ability to add intricate details and subtle shading, resulting in more visually appealing illustrations.

Whether you’re working on character designs, landscapes, or still-life compositions, onion skin can be a game-changer. It helps you visualize the relationship between different elements in your artwork and make informed decisions about lighting, perspective, and texture. With onion skin, your illustrations will come to life with stunning depth and detail.

Efficient Workflow: Saving Time and Effort

In the world of digital art, efficiency is essential. Onion skin offers numerous benefits that streamline your workflow and save you valuable time and effort. By enabling onion skin in Krita, you can:

Better Plan Your Animation: Onion skin enables you to see the entire sequence of frames at once, allowing you to plan the flow and timing of your animation more effectively. This helps you avoid unnecessary rework and ensures a more efficient creation process.

Make Quick Adjustments: With onion skin, you can easily compare adjacent frames and make quick adjustments to achieve the desired motion. It eliminates the need to switch back and forth between frames, allowing you to focus on the creative aspects of your animation.

Enhance Collaboration: If you’re working on a team project or collaborating with other artists, onion skin becomes even more valuable. It provides a visual reference that facilitates communication and ensures everyone is on the same page when it comes to the desired movement and style.

By incorporating onion skin into your workflow, you can streamline your animation and illustration process, ultimately improving productivity and quality.

Customizing Onion Skin: Tailoring It to Your Needs

One of the great features of onion skin in Krita is the ability to customize it according to your specific requirements. Let’s explore some of the key customization options available:

Adjusting the Number of Frames:

Onion skin allows you to control the number of previous and upcoming frames displayed as overlays. This flexibility gives you the power to fine-tune the level of detail you see while working on your animation or artwork. Depending on the complexity of your project, you can choose to view a few frames or a more extensive range to guide your creative process.

Tweaking the Opacity:

Opacity control is another essential aspect of onion skin customization. You can adjust the transparency of the onion skin overlay to make it more or less pronounced. This feature comes in handy when you want to focus on the immediate past and future frames while minimizing distractions from other parts of the animation. Experiment with different opacity settings to find the perfect balance for your artistic needs.

Color Options:

While onion skin overlays are typically displayed in shades of gray, Krita allows you to choose different colors for a more personalized experience. This can be especially useful if you’re working with complex animations or multiple layers, as it helps differentiate the onion skin from other elements in your artwork. Explore various color options to find the one that suits your workflow and aesthetic preferences.

Advanced Settings:

Krita offers advanced onion skin settings that allow you to fine-tune your experience even further. You can adjust parameters such as ghosting, which controls the visibility of previous and upcoming frames. Additionally, you can customize the refresh rate to optimize performance based on your hardware specifications. These advanced settings provide advanced users with greater control and flexibility in their creative process.

By experimenting with these customization options, you can tailor the onion skin feature to match your unique artistic style and workflow. Don’t be afraid to try different settings and find the combination that works best for you.

Unleashing Creativity: Explore the Possibilities

Now that you have a solid understanding of onion skin in Krita and how it can enhance your artistic journey, it’s time to unleash your creativity and explore the vast possibilities it offers. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Animating Characters:

With onion skin, you can bring your characters to life with smooth and realistic movements. Use the overlay to ensure consistent proportions and fluid motion throughout the animation. Whether you’re creating a short film, a game, or a simple GIF, onion skin will help you achieve captivating character animations.

Adding Effects:

Onion skin can also be a valuable tool when it comes to creating visually stunning effects. From magical spells to explosions, onion skin allows you to plan and execute complex sequences with ease. Visualize the progression of each frame and make adjustments to achieve the desired impact.

Refining Illustrations:

Illustrations can benefit greatly from onion skin, especially when it comes to adding intricate details and textures. By enabling onion skin, you can see how different layers interact and make adjustments accordingly. This helps create more dynamic illustrations with depth and realism.

Collaborating with Other Artists:

If you’re working on a collaborative project, onion skin becomes a valuable communication tool. As multiple artists contribute to the animation or illustration, onion skin provides a visual reference that ensures cohesion and consistency. It facilitates collaboration and sparks creativity through shared vision and understanding.

These are just a few examples of how onion skin can transform your artistic journey. Let your imagination run wild and experiment with different techniques and styles. Embrace the possibilities and watch your creations come to life!

How to Troubleshoot Onion Skin Issues

While onion skin in Krita is a powerful and versatile feature, there may be instances where you encounter issues or have questions. Here are some common problems and their possible solutions:

Onion Skin Not Appearing:

If you can’t see the onion skin overlay, ensure that you’ve enabled it for the specific frame. Right-click on the frame and select “Onion Skins” from the context menu. If the issue persists, make sure you’re in the animation workspace and that you have the latest version of Krita installed.

Performance Issues:

If enabling onion skin causes performance issues or lag, consider adjusting the number of frames displayed or reducing the opacity. These tweaks can help optimize performance and ensure a smoother experience. Additionally, make sure your hardware meets the recommended specifications for running Krita.

Artifacts or Inconsistencies:

If you notice artifacts or inconsistencies in the onion skin overlay, try adjusting the ghosting settings. Ghosting controls the visibility of previous and upcoming frames, and tweaking this parameter can help alleviate issues. Experiment with different settings until you achieve the desired result.

For more specific troubleshooting or technical inquiries, refer to the official Krita documentation or reach out to the Krita community for assistance.


Congratulations! You’ve successfully learned how to enable onion skin in Krita and discovered the immense potential it holds for your artistic journey. Onion skin allows you to maintain consistency in animations, add depth to illustrations, and streamline your creative process. By customizing its settings, you can tailor the experience to match your unique needs and preferences.

Now it’s time to unleash your creativity and explore the possibilities that onion skin offers. Bring your characters to life, refine your illustrations, and collaborate with fellow artists to create captivating animations. Don’t be afraid to experiment and push the boundaries of your imagination.

Remember, practice makes perfect. As you become more familiar with onion skin, you’ll unlock new techniques and discover innovative ways to elevate your digital artistry. Embrace the journey, stay curious, and never stop creating.

Please note: The information in this article is for educational purposes only. Always refer to the official documentation and resources provided by Krita for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

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