Panel Borders in Manga Studio part 2

Part 1 is here. Briefly: Manga Studio IS Clip Paint Studio – so the same things will work in both, and the rest you can read in yesterday’s post.


A little addendum to yesterday’s post, when you’re cutting across panels using the “Divide Frame Folder”/”Divide Frame Border” if you drag the cutting tool across multiple panels (and you have to drag all the way across – you’ll see the preview of the cut appear as you do) you end up cutting multiple panels. This is a good way to ensure those cuts line up.

Ok, today we’ll talk about breaking the border – you might do this if you want, here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 09.04.47

Here Harry (the giant robot dude) has his foot breaking the border and into the next panel. I don’t do this a lot, more often I do this sort of thing:

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 09.06.12

Where I chop away a chunk of the panel border to leave the panel open. There’s a few ways to do this, the old way I did this (where I “render” the panel frame and then erase the border) worked but was pretty inflexible, the right way (or at least the right-now way) keeps the border’s highly editable but requires a little more thought.

This method relies on the fact that panels can overlap and can have an invisible border, and in order to help, I created a special sub tool – called “Remove Panel Border” – to create this, I copied the “Polyline Frame” Subtool, and edit the settings as follows, then store this as its new default:

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 09.14.24

(Actually, I’ve exported it, and you can import it into Manga Studio for your own use – to import firs download and unzip the file “Remove Panel” then drag the “.sut” file on to the toolset you want or on the subtool menu select import and import from there)

Sub tool menu:

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 09.16.44

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 09.16.25

Now, to use it, simply select the “Remove Panel Border” subtool and then draw around the  parts of the panel border you want to exclude…

Drawing the area to exclude:

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 09.20.24

Area has been excluded:

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 09.20.36

And if you want, you can go back in and edit the shape to get it more accurate:

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 09.20.49

And the new finished panel borders on the page look like this:

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 09.23.15

Note, the blue area is the masked area of the panel border, artwork held in the “frame folder” will not show through this masked area.

So above, the artwork was on a layer BELOW the frame folder but not IN the frame folder. My layer’s looked like this:

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 09.25.56

This means that while the blue mask, while it displays as a mask when I’m working on the frame folder it’s not actually doing anything – nothing is masked off. That’s how I like to work. If you prefer to actually use the mask, then dragging the pencilled art INTO the frame folder like so:

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 09.25.08

Yeah, the difference is a little subtle, but you can see the pencil layer is indented a little more, and it’s fate is now linked to the frame folder fate – so if I turn off visibility on the frame folder – by clicking the eye where the “Frame 1” folder layer is, then the frame will become invisible as well ANYTHING inside the frame folder (ie our pencils).

The final art then looks like this:

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 09.29.14

The lighter blue here indicates that I’ve selected the pencil layer but there’s a MASK on the folder that’s in effect. If you look in the gutter (that bit between panel borders) you’ll see that nothing is visible (there’s a lot of scribbles in my gutters, but this keeps it out of view).

Next: overlapping panel borders and how to figure out what order the panels are actually drawn in (it’s a pain…)


Author: PJ

PJ is a Belfast based comic artist, and has been for some time.

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