Clip Studio Paint
This user-friendly software has gone through some major changes over the years, but it remains the number one choice for comic artists
Clip Studio Paint two key factors are its tools for comic artists, and its price
Previously called Manga Studio, Clip Studio Paint was rebranded by Smith Micro to give artists a better idea of what the software can do. What remains the same is a dedicated piece of kit, with hidden depths, that’s aimed at comic artists and animators.
“There are two factors that make Clip Studio Paint stand out from its competitors, especially Photoshop,” says long-time user
PJ Holden. “They are its tools for comic artists, and its price. While Photoshop has introduced Perspective Rulers, Clip Studio Paint (back when it was Manga Studio) was doing it first. It has dedicated tools to help quicken flatting, it has a dedicated tool to add tones (aka Letratone, or Benday dots) to artwork that make it simple to go in and alter the density of the dots after the fact quick and simple,” he takes a breath, “and it has a non-destructive method of converting any layer into blue line that’s as simple as a button press.”
PJ also reveals that Clip Studio Paint can differentiate between pencil layers and inked layers, and enables you to exclude pencil layers from exports or prints while they’re still visible.
While there are many cool templates and tools to start creating comics with the Pro version, PJ stresses that the more expensive EX version is the way to go, “for the simple reason that it can handle multiple page documents. Being able to set up a single page size, with bleed/trim/safe area, all within one document and then to have multiple page documents, each using the same page size, is a real boon for working in the industry.”
There’s also a wealth of hidden gems to find in the EX version of Clip Studio Paint. “I’m always surprised to find that many of the tools and hints that I post on Twitter is new information even to seasoned pros working in Clip Studio Paint every day,” he says.
“So many of its tools are hidden. One layer, for example, can be set as a Reference Layer, then you can work on another layer while using the reference layer to select colours – utterly essential to colouring in comics. Because most people come to Clip Studio Paint from using Photoshop, where these tools don’t exist, they keep working in the same inefficient way.” If you’re a comic artist, maybe it’s time for a change?
palettes Palettes are drawer-based and can be opened and closed as necessary. The UI can be customised, and artists can establish a range of settings for different workflows. comic tools Clip Studio’s core features revolve around pencilling, inking, painting and colouring. The colour mixing and blending options are great, as are the vector capable canvas and the perspective rulers. Choice of three There are three main Save settings: Illustration (a blank 800x600 canvas that’s easily customisable), Comic (includes preset or custom panels) and Animation, for frame-by-frame animations.