Clip Studio Paint is the digital drawing program that’s used by, according to its maker, 1.5 million people in the world. It’s an amazing program for creating digital art, particularly comic-related art. The higher end version of the program comes complete with all sorts of functionality for creating comics, from projects with pages to export to EPUB capabilities.
A new update just hit this week, and the program’s makers are celebrating with a big sale through this weekend. CSP is as low as $20 for the next couple of days. If ever you wanted to jump in, this is your change.
Wait, What About Manga Studio?
This is Manga Studio. I’m not entirely sure I understand the whole story, but “Clip Studio Paint” is the name the developers in Japan gave it. SmithMicro renamed it “Manga Studio” when it began distributing it in North America. Now, they’re going back to the original name.
“Manga Studio” wasn’t a great name, but it worked well enough. “Clip Studio Paint” is a mouthful that is almost meaningless in the English language. But it’s just name, and so we move on. I’ll refer to it as “CSP” from here on out.
There Are Two Versions?
Yes, and here’s where the naming gets worse. The base model is named “Pro”, while the model aimed at comic book professionals is named “EX.”
No, I don’t have that backwards. Yes, really. That’s what it is.
What Do They Cost?
Here, take a look:
That’s $20 for the low end and $87 for the high end this week, where they’re normally $48 and $210. It’s a great deal. SmithMicro runs deals on the software occasionally throughout the year, but this is as low as it usually gets.
What is the Difference?
Like I said before, it’s mostly that the high end version (“EX”) comes with the functionality to make comic books. The lower end (“Pro”) just lets you do images. You can assemble them yourself later.
Also, there’s some 2D and 3D modeling techniques that you’ll need to buy EX to get.
The top of the SmithMicro comparison chart summarizes most of the differences:
This new upgrade features the ability to do animation. Not 3D puppetry animation. (SmithMicro has another program for that.) No, this is old school, onion-skin animation. Make a drawing, flip back and forth, make the next one on top, watch it ‘move.’ I was looking for a “cheap” program to do something like this with last year and couldn’t find anything. Now, it’s built into CSP. That’s a good deal.
While this animation functionality is available in both versions, the Pro edition limits you to 24 frames, or what they assume will be 3 seconds.
Wait, What New File Format?
I didn’t mention it yet. You must be reading my mind.
Doug Hills points out the updated file format.
The long and short of it is that the new CSP uses an updated file format. It can read the old file format just fine, but previous versions of Manga Studio won’t be able to read these new CSP files. The .lip file is now going to be a .clip file. That kinda makes sense, actually. It might be the first good renaming strategy I’ve mentioned in this post.
Can My Mac Handle CSP?
Most likely. It’s guaranteed to work with the last three generations of Mac OS X. You can also download an older version if you have an older Mac OS, if you really want.
Officially, the line is 2 GB of Ram and an Intel Code Duo chip. I think your computer can handle that, if it’s less than five to seven years old.
Can My Windows PC Handle CSP?
Most likely. Windows 7 or better, 2 GB of RAM, and off you go. See all the specs here.
How Much Fun Is Drawing With A Mouse?
Very little. It can be done, but — no, just don’t. CSP supports a bunch of tablets, including all of the Wacom ones. It also works on other pen displays, like the Yiynova one I use relentlessly.
What Other Resources Do You Have?
How Do I Get Started?
Watch Doug Hills’ YouTube videos. Here’s the introductory channel, and his most recent Patreon-funded one, Manga Studio Guide.
If you do have a pen display kind of thing, be sure to bookmark this explanation for how to move CSP to your second screen.
And, of course, you can buy the software at the SmithMicro site always. But order it this weekend to get the sale price!