I have been using Manga Studio for more than 6 years, if you count the original Japanese version (Comic Studio). I currently use the latest version of MS4. I first got involved through e-frontier, the former publisher of Manga Studio. I was as a guest artist doing a demo of Manga Studio 3 at WonderCon 2006. I remembered at the time that I was using the beta version for the demo.
In the last few years I've traveled around with the e-frontier/Smith Micro team to different conventions to demo Manga Studio across the country. It was a fun and valuable experience to communicate with other artists about art techniques and software use.
I first heard about Manga Studio when I did the portfolio review back at AnimeExpo 2004. Jeremy Ross, my interviewer from Tokyopop, recommended Manga Studio to me. I couldn't wait to try it out before the stateside release so I downloaded a free trial of the Japanese version (ComicStudio) and ended up buying a copy from a Japanese vendor.
Before Manga Studio, I used Photoshop and Painter. I used Painter for the inking but I couldn't get the brush control to my liking. On the other hand, when I first used Manga Studio, the pen control totally blew me away. My Wacom pen pressure sensitivity and tilt function work well with Manga Studio and it feels like traditional inking. I still use Photoshop with Manga Studio a lot and the combination of both programs works out great.
Here is my usual workflow in Manga Studio:
1. Thumbnail/Pencil according to the script.
2. Import pencil drafts into Manga Studio.
3. Cut panel using panel ruler layer.
4. Ink the outlines using Wacom Cintiq.
5. Apply tones and speed lines and action lines.
6. In the end, add word balloons, SFX, and dialog.
7. Export to Photoshop for coloring if needed, or save the pages as PSD files and send to my clients.
What was your first impression of Manga Studio?
It didn't seem very intuitive, at least when it came to page layout. Then I started using the inks, and fell in love with them.
The learning curve was a bit steep on the first use and it took me a while to understand how to make a page from start to finish. But with some practice, I was amazed at the time I could save in finishing one page. I was very impressed with Manga Studio when I first started. The line quality and control just works like traditional inking. The pen nib mimics a real pen really well. My first published work, RHYSMYTH, was completely drawn in Manga Studio 3EX. I don't think I could have finished it on such a tight schedule without this software.
My favorite feature is the perspective ruler. This is the main function you can't find in other software. And now, I can draw prefect perspective backgrounds with this handy function. Of course the speed lines filter is also one of my favorites, but the list may go too long if I keep going! You can view my website, and for more updated stuff you can also go to my DeviantART gallery.
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