(Byron’s note: I’ve also created this tutorial in PDF form
which will read a bit easier on most screens. Download that PDF HERE.)
I thought by sharing my workflow in the new Manga Studio 5, it would illustrate how the updated software works plus demonstrate the basic tools and operations of the software. This is the first of three introductory tutorials for Manga Studio 5. As a note, I do all my work in Raster mode.
First, I open a new file and name it. I use the Year/Month/Day of the comic’s publish date; i.e. 2013-01-07. I use dimensions close to a standard newspaper strip style of 13.5” x 5.5” and then set the Registration Marks and Frame to 13” x 5” giving me a .25” border all around the comic. I draw at 600DPI as I find it works better with the anti-aliasing settings in MS5.
I then do a rough sketch of the comic using a medium gray pencil set at a brush size of 20. I rough in the comic bubbles for spacing of the characters and frames. I will be doing a detailed article on the Pencil and Ink Tools next, so for now I’m assuming you already know how to use these tools.
I then create the frames for the comic by selecting the Figure Tool (1) and then click on the Frame tab (2).
Be sure the “Draw frame borders” option is checked, which it should be by default. I next use the square Figure and set the Brush Size to 25. Finally, I turn off the Anti-aliasing, set the Brush Shape to Pen and choose black as the color for my Frames.
Once those options are chosen, you are ready to create some Frames. Simply place your cursor where you want to start a Frame, left-click and hold down the button and drag out your Frame to the size you want.
Next, we’ll cut a Frame to size!
Once you have created a Frame, you may want to cut it into smaller Frames. I start with one large Frame and then cut it to size as needed by my sketch. Here’s how to cut a Frame once it has been created.
Click on the Correct Line Tool (1) and select the Cut Frame Border (2).
Then place your cursor where you want to make the cut and simply drag in the direction you want the cut to go. Most likely this will be straight up and down. To make a straight cut faster, hold down the shift key before dragging your cursor. By doing that, MS5 will automatically create a straight cut. You can also use all types of angles or round Frames if you want. Experiment and see what fits your style.
The next three images show the process I use:
- The first shows how I create the large Frame.
- The second shows the first Frame selected to show you the Layer Mask for the Frame.
- The third shows how I cut the frame to the sizes I need according to my rough sketch.
Image 1: Create initial Frame. To make your Frames consistent in height, first create one large Frame using the .25” Registration Marks as your guide
Image 2: Layer Mask. When you select one Frame, the Layer Mask shows up to single out the Frame you’ve chosen. This option may be turned on and off.
Image 3: Frames cut to the sizes needed according to rough sketch.
Now that I have the Frames created, I like to enter in my dialog. This helps with positioning the characters when I do the final sketches and inks. Also, if you stare at the dialog long enough you eventually will make tweaks in the grammar and/or spelling. To insert a word bubble, go to WINDOW -> MATERIAL ->Material [Dialog] and you’ll see the various bubble types available. Click on and drag one onto your page.
I now drag a word bubble out and do a rough fit of its position and size. Then I add the text and finally I add a tail.
To edit a word bubble or tail in MS5, first select the word bubble layer, and then simply hold down the Control key and left-click on the bubble or tail to edit its size and/or shape. Look for the tiny dots to adjust the item you’re editing. Don’t let go of the Control key until you’re done editing!
I then do another layer of finished pencils based on the loose quick sketch layer. From there, I’m ready to start inking and coloring the comic.
I select my sketch layer and in the Layer Property box select Layer Color which turns on the layer’s base color, which by default is blue, like a blue pencil. I reduce the transparency from 100% to 50% and then use that as my inking reference. (Look for the yellow arrows in the image below)
For this comic, I’m using a background in the first frame to establish they are in a bar. In the image below, you can see the inked background, on its own layer, and the sketch layer of the foreground characters. Note I did not have to ink in all the lines on the front of the bar because Lorraine’s body covers that portion up.
Here are the finished inks for the first Frame. Note: I have turned down the transparency of the background frame for illustrative purposes only.
I duplicate the completed Ink layer and use this duplicate layer for coloring. I use the bucket fill tool to color. You will always want to color on a copy of your ink layer in case you need to start over or if you ever just want the inks alone.
For shading, I create a separate Raster layer, choose full black as my color, and then turn the layer transparency down to 40%. I use the Marker Tool to draw in the shading as needed. I pick a “light source” in the frame and shade in the area opposite of that imaginary light source.
For highlights, the process is the same except I use pure White as the base color and once again turn the transparency for the highlights layer to 40%.
And that’s it! That’s my workflow for Manga Studio 5 at the moment. It works for me and hopefully will give you a good idea of how things work in the new Manga Studio 5. Experiment with the settings I’ve shown you and you’ll eventually come up with a workflow of your own. In my next tutorial, I will go over the basic pencil and ink tools in detail.