by Jen McPherson on June 6, 2006 in Software
Manga Studio is an extensive art program developed for aspiring manga artists, and has been featured by the popular J-pop magazine Tokyopop. It has an extensive selection of tools available for the manga artist to use at their disposal, which is impressive to say the least. Having all the tools you’ll need to create and publish manga from your desktop? Sounds too good to be true!
Now I start trying out panels and possible layouts, having messed with the drawing tools. Setting up panels is easy by using the ruler. Here you can open a new layer and select panel ruler layer, and ok. Here it sets up a panel right on top of your basic page frame. The panel ruler layer is placed in its own category in your layers panel, under rulers, keeping things nice and organized. Then you just select the panel ruler layer and use the panel ruler cutter from the tools pallet and use it to divide the large panel into smaller ones. Then you can either rasterize the layer to a bmp to ink.
It may seem a bit daunting to start but it wasn’t hard to get going, and soon enough you’ll be making your own panels in a flash. This is really a great feature, for traditionally I’d just use the box tool and draw in a bunch of boxes. They wouldn’t be aligned correctly and so realigning them took up more time, and then erasing anything outside the boxes as well. Here the panel cutter separates them evenly, so that was no longer a problem, and anything outside the boxes it is covered in a layer white.
What’s also great about Manga Studio is that you can use it to publish your works directly to the web, print them off yourself, or save them as digital files so you can take them to your local print shop. I haven’t tried any of these features myself since, one I don’t have a comic yet, and two… time. But I’m sure its just as easy as it would be if you were using a program like Photoshop.
You can also get additional content for Manga Studio from e frontier in packs called Power Templates, that you can purchase from their website. These templates can include poses of the human figure in still, motion and many different poses to help you draw your manga better.
After using Manga Studio I have to say I’m hooked. I could write a novel on its use and there’s still so much I haven’t gone over, but figured that if you really want a true feel for it there’s nothing like giving it a go yourself, and I guarantee its well worth it. One thing I do have to say though is that although you can use your mouse with it, you’ll never get to experience the fullness of it without a pen tablet. For all manga purposes it can’t be beat and its a cheap alternative when compared to actual ‘hand’ working your manga. The costs of tools add up and Manga Studio would more than pay for itself in the long run. Manga Studio Debut has many great features for a budding artist, and Manga Studio EX has even more to boast for the professional.
Whether your a beginner or a professional I guarantee you’ll love Manga Studio. Photoshop still can’t be beat when it comes to digital rendering, painting and photo editing in my book, but Manga Studio out shines it when it comes to creating black & white comics. If your a manga artist I say give Manga Studio a try, you’ll find its truly a great program, a complete joy to use, and will become a very important part of your art tools. I know it will be for me, and I only used the Debut version! Just thinking of all the fantastic tools to use and things you can do in the full EX version makes me tingle all over.
Thumbs up to e frontier for allowing me to test their program, its a true gem. Manga Studio Debut gets a 9 out of 10, and an Editor’s Choice Award.
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