Should I look into Manga Studio?
December 14, 2012 8:49 AM   Subscribe

If I have a good comics-making workflow established with PhotoShop, is it worth my time to look into Manga Studio?

FWIW, my current process involves layouts and pencils on bristol, then scanning that in and "inking"/coloring/lettering in PhotoShop, using a Wacom Bamboo Create. Generally happy with the results, although I'm getting increasingly aware that using PS for comics is sort of like using my pocket knife as a screwdriver- it gets the jobs done just fine, but there's a more specialized tool available that was built expressly for this purpose.

Generally outputting stuff to the web, although print-bound projects aren't out of the question, if that's a concern.
posted by COBRA! to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I used to make comics with GIMP and found it clunky and then switched to Manga Studio and I just absolutely love it.

I will say this, though: I've had the most luck with MS by creating everything in the application. It's got a decent workflow layout; a tab for pencils (or sketches, or whatever you want to call it), a tab for inks, etc. Scanning in pencils might be a little more fiddly - you'll need to noodle around with the template to get the results you want.

That said, you may eventually start playing around with the Sketch tab and find that creating things entirely digitally works better for you, once you're used to it. It has a lot of useful stuff, like perspective rulers and such. It's very powerful software.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:59 AM on December 14, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks! Which version of MS are you using, by the way? I guess that should have been part of my initial question.
posted by COBRA! at 9:04 AM on December 14, 2012

It would help to have some more details about what your comics are like to really answer this question. I drew OEL manga for many years, and had a similar workflow: I pencilled and inked in analog, then scanned, cleaned up and toned in PS. The thing that was a pain in PS was getting the halftones done right in PS-- because manga is typically black and white, all grayscale needs to be turned into halftones (you may/probably know this already, COBRA!), and those have to be at the proper resolution for the print size or you end up with hideous moire patterns. I cobbled together a way of doing this in PS, but it is much easier in Manga Studio.

However, if you draw comics that are more western, where color fills (or even straight grayscale fills) are common, then Manga Studio is probably too specialized a tool. And if you're outputting stuff to the web, I don't see why you'd care at all, since you don't need to worry about halftones, muddy printing, the dreaded moire, etc. The only reason to use Manga Studio in that case is if you really want the look of traditional manga, with the kinds of patterned tones that are common in shoujo, for example.
posted by shaka_lulu at 9:05 AM on December 14, 2012

Response by poster: Interesting... halftones aren't really a concern for me at all. I definitely swing more Western. I see a lot of cartoonists whose work is vaguely similar to mine talking about using MS, and I guess picked up the impression that it was a better all-purpose cartooning tool. But I might be totally wrong.
posted by COBRA! at 12:28 PM on December 14, 2012

When I was using MangaStudio to put out a comic, I liked it better than Photoshop, not for any of the comics-specific stuff, but for the quality of the lines I could get using it, which were much more smooth than Photoshop.

I switched OSes a few months back, and am considering picking MS up for the new system for the same reason.
posted by telophase at 12:39 PM on December 14, 2012

Manga Studio has a lot of tools that are very useful for comics, like panel layers and perspective rulers. But the thing I find most valuable about it is the line quality. As telophase says, MS's lines are much smoother and the line variation is far better than anything possible in Photoshop. Compared to MS, drawing lineart in Photoshop is like drawing with a blunt stick. I highly recommend at least trying it out if they still offer a free trial.
posted by Nedroid at 10:21 AM on December 15, 2012

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