Art Work for Anime Studio in Manga Studio - any advantages?

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exile
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Re: Art Work for Anime Studio in Manga Studio - any advantag

Post by exile » Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:20 pm

Just a little comment: after trying mightily for several days to understand Manga Studio, I just went on working on a character in Anime Studio. It seemed so easy! Adding and pulling points around, manipulating curves and line strength - I wondered why some people complain about the drawing tools in Anime Studio. Manga St. is an interesting and a powerful program, maybe it will come in handy for backgrounds in perspective, but as far as I can see all the bread and butter tools are in Anime Studio.
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Re: Art Work for Anime Studio in Manga Studio - any advantag

Post by drumlug13 » Thu Dec 12, 2013 1:39 pm

Manga Studio does have a pretty steep learning curve. (And your previous post about installation is right, it's a bear) but I'm sure you'll find a use for it. I've had it for about 6 or 7 months and still only use it as a sketch pad.

I don't get the complaints about the AS drawing tools either. "Bread & butter tools" ... I couldn't have said it better myself. The drawing tools are very user friendly.
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Re: Art Work for Anime Studio in Manga Studio - any advantag

Post by heyvern » Thu Dec 12, 2013 4:09 pm

I did some work on the Manga Studio 5 manual for Smith Micro. Nothing critical like writing (ha ha), just replacing the japanese screen captures with English versions.

Wow! This program is very cool but it does have a steep learning curve and it is definitely geared towards people with a stylus who want to "paint" or "draw" on the computer. After looking at (almost) every single page of both manuals it is clear that the program is both, off the hook amazing, and very difficult to learn and customize. With that kind of "power" there is going to be a lot to learn.

Almost every single aspect of brush behavior can be modified to the nth degree, and can simulate any type of "real world" ink, paint, or drawing look and feel. The detail of customizations can go very... very deep. You really need a good stylus with angle and pressure sensitivity and programmable buttons on the tablet surface to take full advantage of all the features.

Another big feature is that it's very geared to the entire creative process that you would use with paper. You can do rough sketching on one layer, then add details on another layer... etc etc. Very familiar stuff to those who use to do this with pencils and markers on paper.

The one thing I noticed was that vector and raster "brushes" were almost indistinguishable. You could get nearly the same sort of natural feel with vectors as with raster brushes (like photoshop). The vector brushes in MS are much better than in AI. In Adobe Illustrator it's difficult to get that natural brush look to follow along a vector path. In Manga Studio this is much easier to achieve.

Of course the vectors are "traditional" bezier like other point based vector programs so it's difficult to import and use those vectors in ASP. Same as importing EPS or AI vector files. None of the vector custom brush effects will import to ASP.

You don't need to use all of the features. I would say it's a good program to use with a stylus and draw directly to the computer in a simple way to to trace in ASP.

Manga Studio is designed to appeal to... well... Manga and comic book type artists. It has a built in panel designer, text balloons etc. It would work very well with Motion Artist to create "interactive comics", that have some motion but are not fully animated.
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Re: Art Work for Anime Studio in Manga Studio - any advantag

Post by Greenlaw » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:11 pm

Manga Studio EX is fantastic for what it was designed for: drawing comics. The bitmap drawing tools in (4.0) are pretty good--not great but better than adequate for drawing 'black and white' comics with gray tones. Version 5.0 finally adds real color painting support though I haven't used the color tools yet. The vector based brushes, on the other hand, have been very nice as far back as version 3.0 when I started using them. If anybody is curious, I have a few videos and an article on my website showing how I draw my comics. Here are the links:

Videos:
Studio Sessions 4: Drawing Brudders, Episode 51 'Confession'

Studio Sessions 1: Drawing Brudders, Episode 42 'Conscience'

Article:
Studio Sessions 2: Anatomy of a Brudders Comic

As mentioned above, a major strength of Manga Studio EX are the comics specific features like fully customizable panel and balloon tools, page and book management, and an excellent library system (if you like to reuse images or drawings like I occasionally do.) The tones systems is pretty cool, especially if you've ever used 'old school' Letraset and Zip-a-Tone type pattern sheets. A lot of the patterns are procedurally generated so it's very editable. The program also has a nice 2D renderer for 3D objects.

As for the learning curve, yes, it can be steep--I've been using the program for many years now and still haven't used every feature. But once you get your workflow in place, it's a fun and efficient program for drawing comics with.

I haven't tried using it for ASP yet but I might give it a shot on my next ASP project.

G.
Last edited by Greenlaw on Thu Dec 12, 2013 10:15 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Art Work for Anime Studio in Manga Studio - any advantag

Post by Danimal » Thu Dec 12, 2013 9:26 pm

Any kind of behind the scenes is always welcome. Interesting to see how Manga Studio pulls it all together for you. I'm positive I wouldn't have the patience (or the talent) to put all that together. It looks great and the look at your process is fascinating.
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Re: Art Work for Anime Studio in Manga Studio - any advantag

Post by jahnocli » Fri Dec 13, 2013 2:13 pm

What font did you use in "Anatomy of a Brudders Comic"?
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Re: Art Work for Anime Studio in Manga Studio - any advantag

Post by InfoCentral » Fri Dec 13, 2013 5:35 pm

exile wrote:This is getting complicated. Smith Micro only has a boxed version of Manga 5 (which means customs and delivery charges) because the makers of the program, Celsys, won't let them sell a digital version any more.
It gets worse. Celsys won't let you upgrade from Manga Studio. You have to buy in as a new user. So keeping this in consideration it might be cheaper in the long run to start out with their program now.
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Re: Art Work for Anime Studio in Manga Studio - any advantag

Post by Greenlaw » Fri Dec 13, 2013 9:01 pm

@jahnocli, it's a custom font based on my 'comics style' handwriting. I've been using it ever since I started drawing in Manga Studio. I often find I need to tweak letter/word spacing, which probably means my kearning pairs are not setup thoroughly enough. One of these days I need to fix that.

The program I used to create the font is called Font Creator. One of the nice features in Font Creator is that it can output a template for you to draw your font onto, and it can read a scanned version of that template and convert the images into a font. It actually does a surprisingly decent job defining font properties but if it's a font you intend to use frequently, you'll definitely want to cleanup and tweak things. (Like the kearning pairs issue described above.)

@InfoCentral, wow, if that's true it's not cool. Especially since Celsys refers visitors to the Smith-Micro website if they want to buy the packaged version (Manga Studio 5.0). That's just seems a little weird to me.

If anybody is curious, here's the link for the Celsys version of Manga Studio, AKA Clip Studio Paint, which has the link to Smith-Micro's website at the bottom: Clip Studio Paint

This sounds a little like the Mirage/TV Paint situation a few years ago, but at least the French company that owns TV Paint invited US users of Mirage to upgrade to TV Paint after Mirage officially went away, even if it was for a limited time.

G.
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Re: Art Work for Anime Studio in Manga Studio - any advantag

Post by exile » Sat Dec 14, 2013 8:07 pm

InfoCentral wrote:
exile wrote:This is getting complicated. Smith Micro only has a boxed version of Manga 5 (which means customs and delivery charges) because the makers of the program, Celsys, won't let them sell a digital version any more.
It gets worse. Celsys won't let you upgrade from Manga Studio. You have to buy in as a new user. So keeping this in consideration it might be cheaper in the long run to start out with their program now.
I thought about this option. At this point I'm glad I didn't invest much in this software. After seeing that Greenlaw used the option of directly drawing on a touchscreen - which makes sense for someone with his drawing ability - and checking out what it would cost me to do it that way, it doesn't add up for me. It's just too easy to do shapes in Anime Studio, even with just a mouse, with the advantage of vectors. It took all this experimentation for me to realize this obvious fact.

I'll go on playing around with Manga St., it's a powerful software, but at this point I don't see it becoming my standard tool.

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Re: Art Work for Anime Studio in Manga Studio - any advantag

Post by Greenlaw » Sun Dec 15, 2013 6:56 am

I'll have to write Celsys directly and get the full scoop. There no information at their website that either confirms or denies the 'no cross-grade' policy mentioned above, and it seems odd to me that they would turn down paying customers who might wish to upgrade their license of Manga Studio in the future. Also, if the above state was indeed their policy, it doesn't make sense that they would still be sending their website visitors to Smith-Micro's website to purchase the boxed versions.

My guess (and this is just a guess,) is that Celsys wants to take over the US distribution of their product but is committed to letting Smith-Micro sellout their physical inventory first. Once the stock is gone, the program will probably become available only through Celsys boxed or downloadable. This is just my personal speculation of course since I haven't found any official information from either Celsys or Smith-Micro on the subject.

Anyway...

Regarding MS EX vector tool vs ASP vector tools, IMO, MS EX is probably better if you seek a more 'organic' drawing process. The point distribution is more efficient in MS EX. However, I haven't tested this myself and I'm not certain the vectors will import into ASP with the same point count/distribution. My guess is: probably not; ASP will probably reinterpret the curves using it's own method. I'll give it a test to be sure.

Alternatively, ASP does have its own freehand tool. Personally, I find it doesn't draw paths as efficiently as MS EX's freehand vector tools but there is a ASP native point reduction script that can help keep the count lower. Used aggressively, it can completely alter your paths though. FWIW, I would love to see ASP's freehand tool improved in future releases.

For now, I'm pretty much doing what I think most ASP users do: plotting paths one point at a time using the Add Points tools and reshaping them with the Translate Points and Curvature tool. I have a pretty good workflow in place and will stick with it until we finish our first film. It's not the fastest way to draw but the geometry winds up very clean and efficient. I'm getting a little quicker drawing this way every day, but I think ultimately I may settle on a hybrid 'freehand/point plotting' method for most of my ASP elements--I'll explore that AFTER we finish our current project though. (We're already running late as it is.) :P

BTW, don't forget that ASP has a handy Import Tracing Image feature. I've been using this to display character sheets and storyboard panels, which speeds up the 'point plotting' drawing process a lot. (It also helps me stay 'on model'.)

Hope this helps. I'm thinking of making some workflow videos after we're done with this film. More on that later though.

G.
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Re: Art Work for Anime Studio in Manga Studio - any advantag

Post by exile » Sun Dec 15, 2013 12:56 pm

I relied on this forum (see url below) for the information about Celsys and Smith Micro. It's quite a long read, at first the forum members were incredulous and confused. I checked out the links they quoted, that seemed to confirm what they were saying. One guy said he tried to upgrade from his Smith Micro to the next highest Celsys product and was told he would have to pay the full price.

http://forum.runtimedna.com/showthread. ... al-only-..

@Greenlaw: As far as I know, MS does not export vector graphics, and even if it did, Anime Studio couldn't import them as vectors, it only has its native format. However, using the Photoshop format, you can import separate layers in that format. I was fascinated by this tutorial on Photoshop Layers in Anime Studio:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSRlsjqwDSo&noredirect=1

"Drawing" in Anime Studio with a sketch is much easier, I agree. I find it easiest to import an image layer. If the fills obstruct your view, you can turn off your vector layer - if it is selected, you still see the outlines you are creating with the add point tool and can get them to follow your drawing precisely. For a lot of shapes, an oval with points added and pulled is fast and efficient (a neophyte showing off his newly acquired knowledge). I agree that the freehand tool is not exactly where Anime Studio shines, but it's ok for smaller lines with a hand-drawn look - maybe that's the purpose of it.

I'm looking forward to your work flow videos.

Cheerio,
Steve
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Re: Art Work for Anime Studio in Manga Studio - any advantag

Post by Greenlaw » Sun Dec 15, 2013 8:36 pm

exile wrote:I relied on this forum (see url below) for the information about Celsys and Smith Micro...
Thanks for the links...I'll check this out later today. And thanks for the tracing tips!

I find the Trace Image display easier to work with because, unlike a Bitmap Image layer, Show Trace Image remains transparent while I'm drawing over it. Transparent Bitmap Layers, on the other hand, switches from transparent to opaque when I start tracing, which makes me nuts. That said, I do occasionally use Bitmap Image layer as a reference image because ASP will allow me to transform the image if needed, which I can't do with a Trace Image overlay. Both methods are useful depending on how you intend to use them.

Ideally, I'd like to see a Trace Image mode that allows me to manipulate the image being traced.
@Greenlaw: As far as I know, MS does not export vector graphics, and even if it did, Anime Studio couldn't import them as vectors, it only has its native format.
I just looked at the options and you're correct about MS vectors--even in the EX version, the only export options available are bitmap formats. My bad.

However, ASP can import vectors from some programs. At least I know it can import Adobe Illustrator vectors because I've done this a few times already. The point count and distribution gets changed in conversion though, most likely because ASP does not use bezier curves. That said, the translations is reasonably faithful to the original curves in AI. ASP can also import vectors from SVG and EPS (assuming the EPS file contains vectors and not bitmaps.)

G.
Last edited by Greenlaw on Thu Dec 19, 2013 4:51 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Art Work for Anime Studio in Manga Studio - any advantag

Post by InfoCentral » Thu Dec 19, 2013 4:15 pm

Greenlaw wrote:I just looked at the options and you're correct about MS vectors--even in the EX version, the only export options available are bitmap formats. My bad.
Really, I thought the one big advantage of upgrading to the EX version was the addition of vector graphics?

EDIT: Just found out that while you can work with vectors in MS you can only save in raster formats.
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Re: Art Work for Anime Studio in Manga Studio - any advantag

Post by uncle808us » Sun Dec 27, 2015 4:55 am

I thought I would add that Affinity Design does export (SVG) to Anime Studio Pro 11 quite nicely. Just used it tonight. for a background. I bought it from the Mac store and then you have access to the Beta if you want the latest, which is what I am using. I have Affinity Paint as well. Both are decent softwares. Affinity is Apples app of 2015 but that's not saying a lot when you consider the amount of broken misrepresented apps for sale in their store.( my opinion).
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Re: Art Work for Anime Studio in Manga Studio - any advantag

Post by PaperWaspNest » Mon Jan 04, 2016 1:16 am

I've found that Manga Studio is really nice for making little brush stroke blobs that you then export as a sequence of images, and set up in Anime Studio as a custom multi-brush. It is a great way to add texture to your character rigs.

Here's a super quick breakdown of what I mean:
STEP 1:
Image
Paint some brush blobs in Manga Studio using their awesome brushes! I have a whole bunch here.

STEP 2:
Image
Export each brush blob layer as its own image, and save them all into a folder in your "Custom Anime Studio Brushes" folder - Anime Studio has a particular way to set this up, look it up in the Help menu if you haven't set this up yet.

STEP 3:
Image
Create a new brush in Anime Studio, and look for the name of your folder from Step 2 in this brush window. Anime Studio will randomly use the different brushes from the folder here, and you can even make the brush images "cycle" through randomly, so your artwork has this wiggling hand drawn look to it.

The result can look like this: (many lines of different brushes are on this character's arms, body,head, etc.. as well as the purple-colored strokes.
Image
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