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4 insanely useful features in Clip Studio Paint
Some of the ways I use the popular drawing software to save time and work smarter.
While Photoshop is more robust and has way better color management and tons of features and precise adjustments for photographers and nitpickers (that I never, ever used) it lacks lots of the useful tools illustrators and comic book artists need and Clip Studio Paint offers straight out of the box, for a fraction of the price, too.
Key takeaways 🎯
Vector layers can be used to save time in the sketching and linework phases. Clip Studio offers additional tools to manipulate vectors and work smarter, too
In Clip studio, you can use the lasso fill tool to select an area and have it automatically filled with the foreground color. It works in subtract mode, too
Clip Studio rulers can guide your hand while preserving your pen pressure and tilt to produce precise resulsts such as complex perspectives
The Quick Access toolbar can host shortcuts to ANY function in Clip Studio right in your sidebars
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Vector layers ✒️
You can draw your lineart using vectors and enlarge it later.
I usually start my drawings at 50% of the size I need them to be and do the sketching and linworks using vector layers. They work with most of the brushes - contrary to Illustrator - and I can later enlarge the drawing without sacrificing its quality. Lines will be as sharp as if I just drew them at the correct size.
You can edit your lines AFTER you draw them.
Especially after enlarging the vector layers, it can happen to spot mistakes in your linework. Clip Studio offers a variety of tools to thicken, narrow, and transform - using control points - all of your strokes.
The vector eraser can help you trim lines with zero effort.
The vector eraser is a powerful tool in Clip Studio. As you can see in this tutorial, you can use it to erase your lines up to where they intersect with another vector. This will allow you to avoid redraws or to painstakingly erase up to the intersection, manually.
The lasso fill tool 🪣
Select, expand, fill and clear selection in just one tool.
To get the equivalent to the lasso fill tool in Photoshop, you need to set up an Action and bind a key to it, and still need three additional clicks to get the same result. In Clip Studio there’s a specific and intuitive tool just for that
Rulers for everything 📐
Parallel lines, concentric circles, and perspective guides.
Clip studio offers a lot of ‘rulers’, guides you can add to your layers and guide your hand to produce parallel lines, curves, or to help with perspective.
For perspective, you can add as many vanishing points as you need.
I never tried to have more than four, as it gets complicated pretty quickly after three. You just block out your shapes on a layer or import a picture with the perspective you need, and draw the guides over it. You can then move the guides to another layer and start drawing with perfect perspective.
Additional tools to fix your perspectives are provided.
On top of the already powerful perspective features, Clip Studio offers some ways to help you out with the most tiring aspects of perspective, such as fixing too distant vanishing points OR adding an infinite one without zooming out to the atmosphere.
The Quick Access toolbar ⚡
The toolbar can hold shortcuts to ANY function inside Clip Studio.
And when I say any, I mean it. When you go to add and configure the Quick Access toolbar, you’ll be served with a menu containing all the menus, submenus, tools, and tools options in the software. You just need to drag and drop them in the toolbar and you’ll have them just one click away.
You can configure multiple toolbars to switch between workflows.
I use just one because I’m lazy, but you can have as many sets of shortcuts as you need and they all live separately from each other, avoiding clutter in the toolbar.
You can display the toolbar any way you want it.
Apart from its position and alignment (horizontal or vertical), you can also choose how shortcuts are displayed in the toolbar. You can go from small icons to a full list with the tool names, with icons of any size you need. Or you can have the shortcuts on a grid, instead. Lastly, you can also add separators to have subsections in the toolbar, too.
Inspiring links 💡
Work Smarter with Clip Studio supertools is a 10m long recap of some other smart tools CSP offers to artists
The colorize filter in Clip Studio is crazy. I never used it because it’s incompatible with my workflow, but just look at linearts getting colored by a smart filter. It’s amazing