Hey chums, I am often asked about Manga Studio, probably cus I come across as a know-it -all. So here’s some thoughts on it:
As of right now (Sunday 30th December 2012) Manga Studio 5 is available to buy as a physical copy only – no digital downloads. It was made available exclusively to people who subscribe to Smith Micro’s email newsletter (the US/UK distributor). Some lucky people (myself included) where sent a digital copy a week or two before this, so we could knock it about a bit and give some early feedback and help anyone else who would want to be an early adaptor.
As it happens – the exclusivity – is fairly open, and if you’re bursting with anticipation to see what MS5 does you can buy it at this link. Couple of caveats: postage and import duty will strike you hard. I’ve been told by those that have bought it, it practically doubles the price of software, also just remember that this isn’t an official Release just yet, so, if you’re gonna gripe – keep that in mind!
So, to round up some questions I’m asked:
Is MS5 the equivalent of MS4 Debut or MS4EX?
There’s no straight ahead answer here. MS5 includes some features of MS4EX and many features that don’t exist in either. Smith Micro are placing it as an upgrade from MS4EX (and it almost certainly is) but it’s missing a couple of the key MS4EX features that power users will want. MS5EX will be out in the summer (when they will also be making it available to download for digital purchase). The headline missing feature is Story Mode – the ability to have more than one page in a document. (The minor missing features are symmetry rulers, and a number of filters – most noticeable, for me, is the lack of a “Dust Filter” feature – a brilliant way to clean up digital scans).
Where MS5 is leaps and bounds ahead of MS4EX is in the colouring. It seriously out clasess MS4EX/Debut and is, as far as I’m concerned, a solid replacement in my workflow for Adobe Photoshop.
Where’s the Import->SCAN?
There is NO File->Import->Scan in MS5. I’m not sure why this is. My suspicion is that, in line with Adobe Photoshop, when it went from 32bit to 64bit, twain support (Twain is a universal standard for scanning, but requires hardware manufacturers to create twain drivers, most of which are only 32bit) was dropped leading to a lack of direct import for scans. It’s not a great loss for me, though it does add to the inconvenience factor a little bit. My scanning software includes the ability to scan and send images to software (though, your milage may vary). This is true on the Mac, and is almost certainly true for windows pc (though I can’t verify that).
Can you run MS4 and MS5 at the same time?
Yes! In fact, I’m doing that right now. I’m actually running MS4Ex, which I still use, the multi page support is essential to my workflow. MS5 though, has totally knocked photoshop out of my workflow. Any colouring/image editing/ etc happens in MS5. As of this writing, the files between MS4 and MS5 are NOT compatible. But you can use a file format like PSD as a bridge between the two.
Wait, the files aren’t compatible?
Nope. Interesting fact: MS5 ISN’T an update of existing software MS4, it is in fact, a completely NEW bit of software that’s been renamed and had features of MS4 added to be the new MS5 (Manga Studio 4 was actually called Comic Studio in Japan, and Manga Studio 5 was actually a bit of software called Clip Studio, and, as near as I can tell, Comic Studio was designed for B&W and toned comic work, while Clip Studio was geared towards fully painted comics – or rather, painting work drawn in Comic Studio. Manga Studio 5, scoops up features of Comic Studio, but is built on Clip Studio).
All of that said, they’re addressing the issue, and I’d be very surprised if it wasn’t part of a .1 release either before or during the summer when it’s officially available for sale.
Should I buy this now or wait for the summer (when MS5EX /Digital downloads are available?)
Down to you, personally, I’d wait. The money you save on being able to buy a digital version as opposed to buying the physical version can be poured into buying the EX version (remember, right now, you can ONLY buy MS5 and NOT MS5EX).
That said, if you’re the sort of idiot that gets overly excited about new software and digital drawing and colouring on the computer, then go ahead. I’m just glad they sent me a freebie otherwise that’s exactly what I would have done.
And that’s it. If you’ve anything to add, or what to ask anything, then please ask away.