How to Open Reference Image in Krita: A Step-by-Step Guide

Discover the Magic of Opening Reference Images in Krita

Are you ready to dive into the fascinating world of digital art with Krita? One essential skill you need to master is opening reference images. Whether you’re an aspiring artist or a seasoned pro, having a reference image can greatly enhance your artwork and help you achieve the desired results. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the entire process of opening reference images in Krita, step by step. Get ready to unlock your creativity and take your artwork to new heights!


You might be wondering, why should I bother opening reference images in Krita? Well, the answer is simple. A reference image serves as a guide, providing you with inspiration, accurate proportions, and even color schemes. It’s like having a visual assistant right there on your screen, helping you bring your imagination to life.

Why Opening Reference Images Matters

Using reference images in your artwork can have numerous benefits:

  • Inspiration: Reference images can spark your creativity and give you ideas for poses, compositions, or subject matter.
  • Accuracy: They help you maintain proportional accuracy, especially when drawing complex objects or figures.
  • Color Guidance: Reference images can guide you in choosing appropriate color schemes and shading techniques.
  • Detail Guidance: They assist in capturing intricate details, textures, and lighting effects.
  • Consistency: When working on a series of artworks, using reference images ensures consistency across the collection.

With these advantages in mind, let’s move on to the step-by-step tutorial to open reference images in Krita.

Importing the Reference Image

Before you can start using a reference image in Krita, you need to import it into your workspace. Here’s how you can do it:

Step 1: Launch Krita and Open a New or Existing Project

To begin, open Krita on your computer. You can either create a new project or open an existing one, depending on your requirements.

Step 2: Access the File Menu

In the top menu of the Krita application window, you’ll find the “File” option. Click on it to access a drop-down menu with various file-related options.

Step 3: Select “Import” from the Menu

In the drop-down menu, locate and click on the “Import” option. This action will open a file explorer window, allowing you to browse your computer’s files and folders.

Step 4: Locate and Import the Reference Image

Using the file explorer window, navigate to the directory where your reference image is saved. Once you find it, select the image file and click the “Open” button. Krita will now import the reference image into your project.

Now that you have successfully imported the reference image, let’s move on to the next step of adjusting its position and size within Krita.

Positioning and Resizing the Reference Image

Having control over the position and size of your reference image is crucial for an effective workflow. Here’s how you can adjust it to your liking:

Step 1: Select the Reference Image Layer

In the Layers panel on the right-hand side of the Krita workspace, locate the layer containing your reference image. Click on that layer to select it.

Step 2: Access the Transformation Tool

In the toolbar on the left-hand side of the Krita window, you’ll find a variety of tools. Look for the “Transformation” tool icon, which typically resembles a rectangle with corner handles. Click on the icon to activate the transformation tool.

Step 3: Reposition the Image

Hover your cursor over the reference image on the Krita canvas. As you move the cursor, you’ll notice that it changes to a double-headed arrow. This indicates that you can click and drag to reposition the image on the canvas. Click and drag the reference image to the desired location.

Step 4: Resize the Image

To resize the reference image, you’ll need to access the corner handles. Position your cursor over one of the corner handles until it changes into a double-headed arrow. Click and drag the handle to resize the image. To maintain the original proportions of the reference image while resizing, hold down the Shift key on your keyboard as you drag the corner handle.

Step 5: Fine-Tune the Position and Size

Continue adjusting the position and size of the reference image until you’re satisfied with its placement within your artwork. Remember, you can always go back and make further adjustments later if needed.

By mastering these positioning and resizing techniques, you can ensure that your reference image perfectly aligns with your artwork.

Changing Opacity and Blending Modes

Another helpful feature of using reference images in Krita is the ability to adjust their opacity and blending modes. This allows you to create different effects and blend the reference image seamlessly with your artwork. Follow these steps to experiment with opacity and blending modes:

Step 1: Select the Reference Image Layer

In the Layers panel on the right-hand side of the Krita workspace, locate the layer containing your reference image. Click on that layer to select it.

Step 2: Adjust the Opacity

At the top of the Layers panel, you’ll find the “Opacity” slider. Drag the slider to the left to decrease the opacity of the reference image, making it more transparent. Drag it to the right to increase the opacity, making the image more visible and opaque.

Step 3: Explore Blending Modes

To access the blending modes, click on the drop-down menu located next to the “Opacity” slider in the Layers panel. This menu contains a variety of blending modes that determine how the reference image interacts with the layers below it. Experiment with different blending modes to find the one that best suits your artistic vision.

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