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Product Review - Manga Studio

What is Manga? Just ask any school aged person and chances are he or she will be a fan or a budding Manga artist. To put it simply, Manga is a Japanese-style comic that has been around for some time and has become one of the most popular comic or tone styles adopted by many artists. Proof of its popularity can be found in print and on the web. There are numerous sites dedicated to Manga from sites teaching Manga drawing to artists publishing their own Manga comics. Manga Studio is a software for Manga artists and hobbyists. It has many features you would expect to find in any graphics software as well as many features specific to Manga.

Starting a new comic in Manga Studio is easy. The program has many page layout templates that you can use as is or customize as needed. You can start with a one page comic or a multi-page comic in the New Story dialog box. You have the option to create your comic entirely in Manga Studio or scan a previous comic into the workspace for digital enhancement. Digital artists who have used other graphics and illustration programs such as AdobeR PhotoshopR or IllustratorR, will recognize the same tool and palette system in Manga Studio with a few additional tools and palettes specific to Manga.

You will find several freehand drawing tools including the Pen, Pencil, Airbrush, Magic Marker, Pattern Brush, Shape Tools, Eraser and Fill tool. Manga Studio has some very nice features to help you draw your comics. You can use your mouse or a pen tablet and each tool has preset properties that simulate traditional drawing tools. For example, the Pen tool has several presets that vary in the type of lines they produce (G, Maru, Kabura, School, Brush, Gray Use). You can customize each tool to control the thickness, opacity, degree of flow and smoothness. One nice feature is the Correction setting which controls the smoothness of the line for those artists with shaky hands. The Text tool works much the same as in other programs. You can choose from any font installed on your computer and customize the size, formatting and alignment. You can even create vertical text and use word balloons.

There are several features specific to Manga art. You can paint with the many built-in shading and texture patterns, called Tones, specific to the Manga style. The Draw panel and Panel Ruler allow the artist to divide the page into comic style panels as easily as drawing a line with the mouse. Another feature is the Effect Lines such as the Speed and Focus lines for creating story emphasis and character expression distinctive to the Manga style.

Like other graphics programs, Manga Studio has both vector and raster layers for organizing separate parts of the design. However, Manga Studio also has a nice feature for controlling which layers are part of the final design. During the final printing or exporting, the Output Attribute setting for each layer determines whether the contents of that layer is printed or included in the image file. Many Manga artists begin their comics with an initial rough sketch which they use as a guide for the pen work. This layer feature allows the artists to retain the initial rough sketch for future use and only print/output the final artwork. Also, the art can be saved in the Photoshop file format which retains the layers for post production work.

At the e frontier website, you will find a gallery of Manga art, a forum, templates, 2D and 3D content, contests and a newsletter. Manga Studio comes in two versions, Manga Studio Debut 3.0 and Manga Studio EX Professional.

e frontier screen shots used by permission of e frontier America, Inc. and e frontier, Inc. Poser, Shade, Manga Studio, MotionArtist are trademarks or registered trademarks of e frontier America, Inc. and e frontier, Inc.

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Content copyright © 2015 by Diane Cipollo. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Diane Cipollo. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Diane Cipollo for details.


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