How To Use Onion Skin In Krita

Are you new to animation and want to learn how to use Onion Skin in Krita? Let us help you out!

To use onion skin, open up your frames for animation and go to the Properties panel on top. Here, choose Onion Skin and then “Enable Onion Skin.” Choose the frames that you wish to see here. 

For more details on how to execute onion skinning, please continue reading!

What Is Onion Skinning In Animation?

Before we begin with the process, we believe it is essential for you to understand what onion skinning is, why it is used, and what it provides to animators. 

Onion skinning is used in animation and overlays multiple sequence frames on top of each other to help animators maintain consistent movement and proportions. The name “onion skin” comes from the idea that the technique allows you to see through multiple layers, much like the layers of an onion.

When animating a sequence, an animator will draw several keyframes to establish the characters’ or objects’ main poses and movements in the scene. Once these keyframes are in place, the animator will fill in the frames between them to create a smooth animation. 

Onion skinning allows animators to see the keyframes and the frames in between simultaneously, which helps them ensure that the movement is smooth and consistent. 

The software we will discuss today is Krita, which supports the onion skinning feature. 

How To Draw Multiple Frames For Animation In Krita?

Before we can get into how to onion skin, a prerequisite is to have multiple frames of animation to work with; these frames will be used to apply the onion skin. To create these frames, follow the steps below. 

  1. Open Krita and create a new document by clicking on File > New.
  2. Go to the Animation tab on the right-hand side panel and choose New Animation.
  3. Set the number of frames you want to create and the duration of each frame in the window that pops open.
  4. Create a new layer for your first frame by clicking on Layer > New Layer. You can also hit the Ctrl + Shift + N keys on your keyboard.
  5. Draw your first frame on the canvas using your preferred drawing tool. 
  6. Duplicate the layer by clicking on Layer > Duplicate Layer. You can also use the keyboard shortcut and press Ctrl + J on your keyboard.
  7. Draw your second frame on the duplicated layer, making any necessary changes or movements to show the animation. 
  8. Repeat steps 7 and 8 for each frame of your animation.
  9. To preview your animation, use the “Animation” panel to create a timeline and play your frames.

For a tutorial on how to onion skin, watch this video as well:

Onion Skin In Krita

Let us begin with the real work now. Onion skinning may appear to be very daunting initially, but as you work your way through it and practice, it becomes a hassle-free process. Use the comprehensive guide given below to ensure you execute onion skinning perfectly. 

  1. Create a new document or open an existing one you want to work with.
  2. Make sure that you have multiple layers in your document. If not, create new layers by clicking the “+ Layer” button in the Layers docker.
  3. Select the layer that you want to work with.
  4. Go to the View menu and select Animation.
  5. In the Animation docker, click on the “Onion Skin” button. The icon looks like two circles with an arrow in between.
  6. Click on the “Configure Onion Skin” option. This icon looks like a gear icon.
  7. In the Onion Skin configuration window, set the number of previous and next frames that you want to show as Onion Skin. You can also adjust the opacity and color of the Onion Skin frames in this window.
  8. Close the Onion Skin configuration window.
  9. Use the “Previous Frame” and “Next Frame” buttons in the Animation docker to navigate through your frames.
  10. You will now see the Onion Skin frames displayed around your current frame.
  11. Use the onion skin frames as a reference to make changes to your current frame.
  12. Repeat steps 10-12 to make changes to other frames in your animation.


There you go; it was not as hard as it seemed. Krita is a powerful open-source digital painting software that supports onion skinning and is perfect for people new to animation. We suggest you expect glitches until you learn and become familiar with all the tools.