Clip Studio Paint Web Site:

Lately I've been trying to stretch my wings a bit when it comes to creative software. The more I look, the more I realise that there are software packages out there that focus on one aspect of digital art and attempt to provide everything needed for that specific task.

Clip Studio Paint is a newer version of what used to be Manga Studio; a drawing package direct from Japan that focuses on Manga illustration and authouring. I'm not sure why they decided to change their name, but if I had to guess it would be to market themselves as more than just a Manga creator, but it's basically the same program it always was.

Personally I have very little interest in creating my own Manga, but I watched a stream of someone using Clip Studio Paint and was sold as soon as I saw the 3D posing feature. There are prefab Manga characters that you can edit with presets and pre-made assets, but I really wanted to try out the wire-frame posing tool to try and practice drawing different poses and human forms.

Like a lot of people, I find proportions and weird positions a bit daunting as it takes years of practice to really master life drawing techniques that can then be translated to figures in any context. Of course, tracing a wire framed pose is no substitute, but I have always maintained that copying and repetition are a great way to learn how lines and forms work together to create an image.

So I jumped in on Clip Studio Paint and made a bit of an odd pose (see below) to trace and play with. The pencil tool I used felt decent and responsive and I didn't have to tweak it all that much to get the effect I wanted. Same for the colouring part of the picture - most of the tools worked how I expected them to work straight out of the box, which was a nice feeling as I struggle to get used to the horrible UI.

My first goofy attempt at building on a pose...

I might continue this practice a little further as I can see a swirling mist around the character to highlight the fact that she's floating in the air and sort of holding herself up Iron Man style with magic flowing from her hands. Drawing in this ethereal smoky effect will give me an excuse to play with some of the other tools Clip Studio Paint has in its box, so expect an update on that in the future.

On first impressions though, I'm enjoying the 3D pose feature a lot and I can see myself using it repeatedly in the future to practice and play around with different human forms. It's like having a digital artist's mannequin on hand at all times, which isn't something I've seen in other programs intended for 2D digital painting.

The application itself runs fairly well, but chugged a bit when 3D elements were introduced to the canvas. I found a lot of lag happening when trying to place a second 3D element, but once they are placed and positioned, performance didn't seem to be hindered. 

I still need to try some 3D modeling software (Blender comes to mind) to see if it's worth using a full featured modeling program instead. For now though, Clip Studio Paint will be my go to software for practicing human poses and quick comic style drawings.