Clip Studio Paint: Transform and Keep Original

This is something I’ve wanted for a while, the ability to select something (say, a wheel) and then move it somewhere else while leaving the original. Again no way to do this in Clip Studio Paint, but again you can build one.

As with the previous tool, I created and auto action – this one named Transform and Keep Original, in it I created the following actions (see previous post for how to do this)

I draw a marquee around the object to be duplicated, and then created the action with the following steps:

Step 1: Copy (CTRL+C) (makes a copy of the currently selected marqueed drawing)
Step 2: Paste (CTL+V) (creates a new layer with the selected artwork in it)
Step 3: Transform (CTRL+T) (I did this here just to record the action, really doesn’t matter too much what you do with the transformed drawing) once I’d transformed the selection, I confirmed the transformation – by hitting return.
Step 4: Layer->Merge with Layer Below.

And that’s the entirety of the action. The next step though is to slightly alter the action, by taking Step 4 – TRANSFORM – and making sure that the action requires user input (and doesn’t just perform exactly the same transform every time). You do this by clicking a little check box that is on the action’s description, like so:

When you click here (as I’ve scrawled poorly on the image above) it will add a little mini dialogue in place of the check box – and it will add a mini dialogue to the title of the action too.

Now, all that’s left is to map this keyboard action, I went with CTRL+ALT+T (check my previous post for details) and that’s it!

(One point, it’s not perfect, and you’re essentially copying/pasting every time. An minor edit might be to remove the copy stage for the user to do, so that it’s the exact same thing is pasted every time rather than a brand new thing).

Clip Studio Paint: Paste Into Layer

There’s lots of things I love about Clip Studio Paint, and a few things that annoy the heck out of me. Luckily, I can often fix the latter with the former.

One feature I miss from Photoshop is “Paste Into Layer” this takes something from the clipboard and then pastes it -INTO-the layer.

Clip Studio Paint, no doubt because of the complexities it adds by having different layer types lacks this feature. But we can easily add it using Auto Actions AND Shortcut settings.

Step one: create  a new Clip Studio Paint document. This is purely so we can create the actions, so don’t worry too much about any of the specifics of the file – anything here will do.

Step two: put something on the clip board. Select some art, or copy an image from somewhere. Again, largely unimportant what – just make sure you have something.

Step three: Make sure Window->Auto Action is displayed then create a new Auto Action – call it “Paste Into Layer”

Step four: Press the record button to record the steps.

Step five (record these steps!):

Step 5.1 : Paste the clip board into the document (CTRL+V on PC, CMD+V on mac)

Step 5.2: Merge the layer with the layer below (Layer->Merge With Layer Below, you can also press CTRL+E on the PC, CMD+E on the mac)

Step 5.3 press stop on the auto action record. That’s it. Action is recorded.

Step 6: Select File->Shortcut Settings. From the “Setting Area” drop down select “Auto Action”. Find the action you just recorded. Select Add Shortcut and then press “CTRL+SHIFT+V” – or, on a mac “CMD+SHIFT+V”

And that’s it! Hit ok!

Now if you press CTRL+SHIFT+V anything in the clipboard gets pasted IN to the current layer. Couple of caveats: the layer then becomes the same type of layer as whatever was in the pasteboard. Ie if you are pasting full colour art into a line art layer then the resulting merged image will be full colour. It’s not a big deal, but worth knowing. (If you cut from a CSP line art layer and paste into another line at

Mask of the Red Death

Photoshop and Clip Studio Paint (and Manga Studio – since it’s the same software) share a number of features, one of them – the one we’ll talk about today is called “Quick Mask”

I’m sure you’ve used the Rectangular Marquee tool (a square tool that lets you select an area, with “marching ants” you can then resize, move or cut/copy from), the Lasso tool (to select an area you draw around) or some of the other selection tools.


Selection using Lasso Marquee

One difficulty is refining the selection, and that’s where Quick Mask comes in.


Quick Mask (Menu option: Selection->Quick Mask) turns your selection into a mask over the artwork – usually a red colour (now the blog post makes sense, right? RIGHT?)


This selection can then be refined with all of the standard drawing tools – you use the pen to draw red over the artwork and you use an erase to remove some of the red mask. And, get this, you can even use the selection tools to select bits of the mask to delete/fill/etc.

Refining the selection

Once you’ve finished you then hit the quick mask button again and your red mask is turned into a selection area, which is now yours to cut,copy,resize,rotate or otherwise futz around with.


Marching ants! (ants not pictured marching)

That’s it!

Go now and use this new found power wisely.

Super quick HINT!

Oh I find it best to add the quick mask option to the Command Bar settings – go to Preference->Command Bar, and then find the Selection->Quick Mask in the list of menu options displayed and click “Add” to add it, you’ll end up with a nifty little red dollar bill (Like this:Quick Mask Icon - looks like a red dollar bill ) looking icon that you can now click when you need to turn it off and on…

Customise your command bar!





Panel Borders in Manga Studio part 4

Hey! A quick and easy one today, I promise.

Let’s say you want to try drawing one of those fancy 9 panel grid comic panels. Here’s how Manga Studio (or Clip Studio Paint, since they’re the same thing) can help!

Step 1: Create a new frame folder (you can see how in part one)

Step 2: Select the object selection tool (you can also brush on that in part one) and click on the full frame of the page..


Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 14.40.50

Step 3: Select from the Layer Menu : Layer->Ruler Frame->Divide Frame Border Equally

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 14.41.17

Step 4: You’ll get a new window asking how you want to divide the panel up and for a neat nine panel grid, you should have something like this:

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 14.42.40

The little graphic is just a demonstration of how the divisions will work – IT IS NOT a preview of what will happen. “Fit to side Direction of Frame” allows you to play with how the divisions will happen on panel shapes that are slightly skewed, for example, ticking it here you the preview looks like this:

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 14.45.25

But, again, this is a graphic to help explain what might happen, it’s not a preview. If you’re splitting a perfectly rectangular frame both options will actually net the same result.

Which is this:


Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 14.47.39

As ever, I like to keep my frame folder/panel borders all on a single folder, so I select “divide folder: Not change”. You can split this as you see fit.

This tool is actually pretty useful for, for example, splitting a single tier into three/four (or whatever) perfectly even sized panels. A trick I use a lot.

Planning tomorrow or Friday to try and get a quick youtube video together of some of this stuff, so if you have any questions you’d like me to answer on panel borders that are either unclear or I haven’t covered, please add a comment below!

And that should wrap up a week of manga studio Panel Borders. Next week? Let’s see if we can look at flatting in Manga Studio…


Panel Borders in Manga Studio Part 3

So far, if you’re joining late, we’ve covered Creating Panel Borders and breaking out of the panel borders.

Today we’re going to cover overlapping panel borders, when you might want to do stuff like this:

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 09.44.07 Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 09.44.50 Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 09.45.33

All the artwork is taken from the Dept of Monsterology, book 2: Sabbaticals (available to buy online from comixology UK or US (or any other region in fact) or you may be able to pick up book 1 and book 2 from your local comic shop, amazon or from the publisher.  (or from me if you spot me at a comic convention).

Ok, enough plugging, let’s talk some basics…

When you create panel borders, Manga Studio (or Clip Studio Paint – both software are identical) is trying to do two things: create a mask to hide anything in the gutter (that bit between the panels) and draw a border on top of the panels. Overlapping panel borders introduce a touch of complexity to this, and so in order to deal with it, MS – unbeknownst to the user- keeps a special secret log of which panel border is to be drawn first. This isn’t the same as reading order, so, for example, depending on how you draw the panel borders Manga Studio may internalise them in the following order:

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 09.57.08

I know what you’re thinking… you’re thinking “WTF PJ???”. Ok, so here’s what’s going on: Manga Studio’s order reflects the order the panels where created in. Using the “Divide Frame Folder”/”Divide Frame Bolder” tools split a single panel into two (or in fact, multiple panels can be split) and this causes a numbering that makes sense to the computer but doesn’t make much sense to you as a reader.

The order is important though, because it dicatates how panels will be drawn when they overlap.

The higher the number in this diagram represents the closes to the top. So, dragging Panel 6 (as I’ve numbered it, rather than the panel six you’d expect being a human) over the other panels results in Panel 6 sitting on top, like so..

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 10.02.00

This is exactly the sort of thing you want and expect…

But, say, I want PANEL 5 to be on top of Panel six, simply dragging the bounds of panel five does this:

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 10.03.37

Now, as an artist this isn’t what I wanted, I wanted panel 5 to be on top of panel six, and actually, I wanted panels 3 and 4 to sit on top of panel 5 to, but as a computer, panel 5 doesn’t represent the order it’s read in, rather it represents the order it draws the panel in, so panel 5 is sitting EXACTLY where a computer would expect it to be.

So, how do we fix this. Well, easy, we simply go to “LAYER->Panel Order->Move Panel Back” .. HAH! April fools! Nope, there is no easy way. Unlike other apps that have faced similar problems (for example, Powerpoint) there’s no apparent way to reorder the panel order. You’re faced with a few, slightly unsatisfying options…

  1. Redraw the panels, remembering to draw them in the order YOU want them.. (so in this instance, I’d want panel 5 to be drawn …uhm… no wait, I’d have to redraw panel 6 as the second panel, then uhm… panel 5 could become the third panel? oh hell, this is too complicated…)
  2. Give up trying to do something that manga studio doesn’t play nice with and just rejig your panels in such a way that this isn’t a pain (an option I’ve done more than once…)
  3. Slightly easier… you can use a trick.

The trick..


(UPDATED! 14 Oct 2016 – the new trick, below, is so much easier than the old trick – which I’ve since deleted…)

Select the panel you want to move to the TOP, then CUT the panel (using the usual CMD+X shortcut) then paste the panel back in (CMD+V) and voila! You’ve moved that panel to the front…

Performing the same trick on panels 3 & 4 (which I’ll not bother doing step by step because it’s basically the same trick as above…)

Until you end up with:

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 10.20.01

Now I’ve kept those panel numbers to keep this as simple as possible (and I apologise profusely because it’s probably confusing as all get out as it is!) but MS is probably redrawing these in this order now:

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 10.21.51

This little trick for jumping a panel border to the front really only works well on rectangular panels that can be joined together easily, odd shapes will do odd things, and there’s no easy way to send a panel to the back (except, perhaps, by moving every other panel to the front). And even if you don’t end up using the tricks I’ve shown here, hopefully why Manga Studio draws overlapping panels in the way it does should make more sense.

Obviously, If I wanted now to draw a nice circular panel, it would become panel 7 and sit on top of everything… like so…

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 10.25.11

Tomorrow I slow it down a little and show you how to split a single panel into several equal sized panels (NINE PANEL GRID EVERYONE! YEEHA!)


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…)