Setting up in Clip Studio Paint
Maximise your workspace with Tan Hui Tian’s advice.
Clip Studio Paint, formerly known as Manga Studio, is creative software used for producing manga and comics. It comes in three different versions: Debut, Pro and EX. The most expensive, EX, adds the capability to assembling multi-page documents, and is a worthwhile upgrade for comic artists who don’t already have desktop publishing software such as Adobe’s InDesign. You can learn more about the different versions by visiting www.clipstudio.net. Unlike Photoshop or Corel Painter, Clip Studio Paint was built with manga art in mind. While not possessing powerful scripts or realistic painting simulation, Clip Studio Paint has effective drawing tools, including custom stroke stabilisation, various ruler modes (for example, perspective and symmetrical), a built-in 3D model poser and more. Even if you’re not drawing manga scenes, Clip Studio Paint can be helpful in speeding up your workflow.
I’m going to focus on the technical skills needed for illustration specifically, and show you some productivity tips that you can use from the get-go, to help you set up your canvas and workspace.
1 Setting up your workspace
The default workspace looks like the image shown here. Those familiar with Photoshop and the like will notice some similarities. I find this setup too crowded and so I hide the rightmost tabs (everything below the Navigator and the Material tab) and drag out the Sub Tool and Color Wheel tabs on the left.
2 Creating a new document
To create a new canvas, press Ctrl+N or click File> New. You can name your file and adjust the Paper colour in the pop-up window. Instead of typing the height and width, you can choose from various presets for common international paper sizes, found under the Postcard option. In the Ex or Pro version, you can also set up pre-press guides such as bleed area. I prefer to set up my paper colour as a neutral mid-tone, so that it’s easier to block in values later.
3 Exploring the toolbar
The toolbar is divided into three sub-groups: Move & Select; Brushes & Erasers; and Paint, Line & Type. Of note are the Operation tool (transform image materials/frame borders, select layers, and operate 3D materials and rulers); the Decoration tool (stamp image patterns); and Contour Line Paint tool (for creating a smooth gradation between two coloured lines).
4 Using the Color tabs
Similar to Paint Tool SAI, Clip Studio Paint comes with a Color Wheel, which is a much faster way of choosing colours than Photoshop’s Color Picker. You can switch to HLS and HSV colour space with the coloured button on the bottom right. Something that sets Clip Studio Paint apart from its competitors is the ability to use transparency as a colour.
5 The Navigator and Information dialogs
Perhaps the most overlooked tabs in most drawing programs, the Navigator and Information dialogs are useful in certain situations. If you need to draw or select precise frames in Clip Studio Paint, the Information dialog displays pixel-precise information. Meanwhile, the Navigator dialog enables you to check your work at a distance.
Click this to show more options. Change the colour space to HSV or HLS by clicking the Color Wheel button (bottom right). Adjust your tool settings in the Tool Property panel. The shortcut to change brush size is [ and ]. Click this to hide the tool tab. Each folder indicates different types of materials.
You can resize the Tool tabs by dragging them out first.
Switch between the current colour and transparent by pressing C. You can edit and create new colour sets here. Keep the Color Wheel open for fast colour selection. You can flip canvas orientation here, instead of typing the values manually. Print resolution is at least 300dpi. Take note of the units before you create your canvas.
The preview (and actual) canvases will remain unchanged. Rotate the canvas view by increments of degrees by using the sliders.
You can change the order of the icons by dragging them. The Pen and Pencil share a shortcut (P), and the rest (apart from Eraser and Color mixing) use B. The Operation tool enables you to transform or rotate image elements, select layers and more.