Clip Studio Paint Pro, aka Manga Studio, is the less expensive version of Clip Studio Paint EX. The main difference between Pro and its EX upgrade is the number of animation tools and desktop publishing tools to help you organize your comics. However, this comic book software gives you plenty of drawing and painting tools to achieve professional-looking lines and effects for your comic stories. This is the perfect software for an artist on a budget since it provides plenty of quality illustration tools at an affordable price.
Comic Book & Manga Tools
As I was experimenting with the program, I realized that some of the hotkeys are the same as Photoshop's, so if you are already familiar with Adobe's programs, it should be easy to pick up. While Clip Studio Paint Pro is a little more intense than other comic creators I reviewed, dedicated novices can get a handle on it after a few hours. If you’d prefer a simpler program that isn’t drawing-intensive, you might be interested in Pixton.
As far as drawing tools go, this program offers some of the best on the market. I was able to adjust the vector settings to create smooth, bold strokes over my sketches. You can also use the program's tools to beef up or slim down specific line areas to make your drawings look more professionally drawn. Clip Studio Paint Pro gives you access to 36 pre-designed comic panel pages, or you can use the program to design your own.
This software also gives you access to plenty of assets including characters, backgrounds, props and effects that you can quickly add to your panels. We were pleased to find that you could still access the posable 3D models in this version. You can use these posable figures to help you accurately draw complex gestures and body positions. Unfortunately, the Pro version doesn't provide extensive desktop publishing tools like EX does. This means you can’t organize, arrange or work on multiple pages within one file, which is an especially helpful feature when you want to create a digital or physical comic book.
I absolutely loved the word balloon tools. They let you choose the shape and size of the initial bubble, as well as choose where the tail comes out and points to. You have access to all the fonts previously downloaded on your computer, and you can choose the size and color of your font. However, there is no spell check, so you'll want to make sure everything is spelled correctly.
Digital Painting Tools
Since you can use raster and vector layers in Clip Studio Paint Pro, it is somewhat of a mix between Illustrator and Photoshop – minus the photo correction tools. Amazing, right? This basically means you can paint pixels as well as draw vector lines in one place instead of having to switch between two programs. There are plenty of brushes, airbrushes, markers and shading tools to help you get the perfect look for your drawings, or you can create your own brushes to suit your needs. You can also use the pen tool to create freeform shapes.
While using my Wacom tablet, this program responded beautifully to my pen's movements, making bold, thick lines when I pushed down hard and light, thin lines when I pressed softly. I was really impressed with the handling of this program as well as the ability to adjust the sensitivity of the tools within the program. Paint Pro also allowed me to import and work on common image files like JPEG, TIFF, PNG and even PSD.
Tutorials & Support
Clip Studio Paint Pro is compatible with both Mac and PC computers, so a wide range of artists can use it. Since this is a large program, you will need more than 1GB of available RAM to run it smoothly. If you'd prefer a more mobile option and are willing to pay a subscription fee, this software is also available as an app for iPad. One recommendation we have for anyone taking their comic book creation seriously is to purchase a compatible graphics pen and tablet, as well as a drawing glove, to get the most out of your drawing experience.
You can find tutorials and a FAQs page on the CELSYS website, or you can email a customer representative, but there is no live chat or phone support. Clip Studio Paint's forum is active so you can also find answers from fellow users. There are plenty of Clip Studio Paint users out there, so you can also find plenty of user-created tutorials on YouTube.
Clip Studio Paint Pro is the perfect program for artists on a budget since it doesn't cost very much but still provides plenty of vector and brush tools for you to create professional-looking comics. This program isn't the easiest to learn, but with some dedicated practice and time spent learning from tutorials, inexperienced users can become proficient. This program comes with plenty of predesigned graphics to make the creation process easy. Compared to EX, one of the biggest things it lacks is the ability to arrange and work on multiple comic book pages at once. However, this software is the best choice for most amateur comic book creators.
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