Why is this man smiling? Well, besides a night on the town with good company and alcohol, it’s because he impulsively bought a really cool piece of software. In fact, it’s so obscure, there’s not even an official English version at the moment.
Clip Studio Paint Pro comes from Celsys, a Japanese company that also produces a piece of software called Comic Studio, which is marketed in the U.S. by Smith Micro as Manga Studio. That’s the software I’ve used for my fleeting attempts at comic strips.
Honestly, I probably could have stuck with Manga Studio for the type of stuff I want to do, but it hasn’t had a major update in years, and in a way Clip Studio seems like a natural successor. It doesn’t have every feature of Manga Studio, especially the Pagemaker-type stuff that print-based cartoonists require, but it has everything necessary for a web comic, including the ability to make adjustable panels and perspective rulers. Beyond that, the interface is a little more intuitive and broader in scope, especially if you’re used to painting in Photoshop. The pen tool is great as always, and the brush tool is more sophisticated. Graphics performance is also improved; for instance, lines look smooth at any zoom level, whereas Manga Studio looks best in zoom increments of 25%.
The only gotcha is that the interface is entirely in Japanese; luckily some enterprising folks have come up with a patch that changes 90% of the menus to English. But I hope there’s enough interest to get Celsys or Smith Micro to offer an English-language version soon.