Welcome to Mastering Manga Studio 5! You're probably wondering just what this book is going to be about, and what we mean when we say that this will help you master Manga Studio 5. Dictionary.com defines a master as "a person with the ability or power to use, control, or dispose of something". Well, by the end of this book, you are going to be able to use the features of Manga Studio 5. You're going to be able to take control of your workflow and your productivity so that you can make your comics and illustrations even faster than before. And you're going to be able to dispose of the features in the program that don't suit your needs so that they're no longer in your way.
It's my job to show you the best time-saving features of the best program that I have ever used for art. That is exactly how I feel about this software, by the way! I've used lots of drawing software in my life, and Manga Studio is, far and away, my favorite one. Especially Manga Studio 5, which has even made me like coloring my comics because of its easy to use brushes that mimic natural media.
If you illustrate, draw comics, or just like to draw in general, I think that you'll love Manga Studio just as much as I do. Especially once you see all the cool things that it can do. It's more intuitive than most graphics software out there, and is infinitely customizable for the way that you want to work. As you're going to discover in the chapters of this book, you can customize all of your drawing and painting tools, rearrange the workspace to fit the way that you draw, create and save custom page sizes and layouts for comic frames, make word balloons with ease, and run actions that will do multi-step, tedious processes for you at the touch of a button.
So if any of this sounds exciting and just what you need to get the most out of your drawing time, you're probably going to love this software. I can't stop singing its praises quite enough, and it was my passion for this software that brought you the book you are currently reading.
Chapter 1, Getting Familiar with the Story Features, deals with using the story editor to set up custom page sizes, multi-page setups, and two-page spreads.
Chapter 2, The Right Tools for the Job, deals with making custom pencils, inking pens, paint brushes, and importing and exporting tools.
Chapter 3, Palettes of a Different Color, deals with using color palettes and making your own palettes.
Chapter 4, Setting up Your Space, deals with setting up custom workspaces, saving those spaces, and switching between different setups for different tasks.
Chapter 5, Living in a Material World, deals with navigating and searching materials, editing and using existing materials, and making custom materials.
Chapter 6, It's Only a (3D) Model, deals with using the 3D options of Manga Studio, including pre-set poses, characters, creating custom poses, and importing models.
Chapter 7, Ready! Set! Action!, deals with playing and recording actions to speed up repetitive processes in your project, such as resizing batches of pages or setting up layers.
Chapter 8, Rulers and Speech Balloons, deals with using the ruler and speech balloon tools of Manga Studio. It includes the special rulers, such as perspective and concentric circles, as well as how to use the speech balloon tools to make custom balloons.
Chapter 9, Putting It All Together! Drawing and Inking, deals with making a multi-page comic file and making a custom material for the panel layouts. Then we'll be drawing using custom tools, and using 3D models to help with character poses.
Chapter 10, Finishing Touches, deals with using screentones and doing comic book style coloring using blending modes, the lasso selection tool, and the gradient tools. We will also explore a few special effects techniques, such as reflections and using patterns.
Appendix, Recommended Reading, provides a list of further references.
In order to complete the exercises in this book, you will need:
Manga Studio 5 (EX Recommended to complete all exercises)
A computer capable of running Manga Studio 5
Also recommended is a graphics tablet, such as a Wacom brand tablet.
Since this book is for intermediate Manga users, much of it assumes that you already have a graphics tablet. If you haven't heard of a graphics tablet before, I recommend that you pick one up! A tablet is an input device usually consisting of a board and a pen, called a stylus, which allows you to draw directly on the computer with a more natural feel. Wacom is the most popular brand, but there are many other brands out there. Most tablets do not have a screen in them so you do have to get used to some disconnect as you are not looking directly at your hand while drawing. However there are options out in the market today that do incorporate a screen, so that you can draw while looking directly at the tablet.
There are also some older tablet PC laptops that allow you to draw and have pressure sensitivity right on the laptop screen. Most of this book was written on one of those, actually. I currently use a Gateway C-141X Convertible Tablet PC that I purchased.
This is not a book for beginning Manga Studio users. I'm going to show you some of the basic features and how to use them, but I'm going to assume that you have some familiarity with the program, especially where to find the basic features. If you have never ever opened a digital art program before, this book is going to be a great help to you once you get the basics down. It might even help you figure the basics out if you're one of those people who like to learn software by pressing the buttons and seeing what they do. (This is how I like to learn programs, for the most part.) But this book won't explain what a layer is, or what the pencil tool is.
This is also not a book about how to draw comics. There are a lot of those out there, and I'll recommend some of my favorite ones in Chapter 10, Finishing Touches. But this is not going to be a drawing instruction book itself. In Chapter 9, Putting It All Together! Drawing and Inking, and Chapter 10, Finishing Touches, I do give some general drawing and coloring insights that I've gathered over the years, as they pertain to the information being covered in that section. But this won't show you how to draw your favorite Manga character or teach you perspective drawing. Maybe one day I can write a book like that, but this one concentrates on the software and how it can help you save time on the illustrations you're currently doing. (Thus, giving you more time to further your skills by getting more practice in!)
In this book, you will find a number of styles of text that distinguish between different kinds of information. Here are some examples of these styles, and an explanation of their meaning.
Code words in text, database table names, folder names, filenames, file extensions, pathnames, dummy URLs, user input, and Twitter handles are shown as follows: "A save dialog box will come up, and by default our file name will be
New terms and important words are shown in bold. Words that you see on the screen, in menus or dialog boxes for example, appear in the text like this: "Click on the Add new settings button and a new entry will be created in our list of settings."
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