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Getting Started With Manga Studio – Adding Colors

Manga Studio can be used to create many styles of comic expression. This tutorial covers one of its most interesting features - color! Learn about the fill tool and regular use of colors, the gradient tool and colored gradients, colored text, colored strokes and finally colored tones.Author: Olivier Vinet

By default, Manga Studio is a 2D software dedicated to black and white comic creations, such as manga (traditional Japanese comics). But it is far from being limited to this very particular style of comic expression.

Within this tutorial, we will cover one of its most interesting features: the fill tool and regular use of colors, the gradient tool and colored gradients, colored text, colored strokes and finally colored tones.

First of all, let's open up a new page. Please select File > New > Page. To activate the colors, we must access the "Layer Properties" palette. This can be done via the menu or simply by double-clicking on the layer icon from the "Layers" palette. Make sure to click on "Advanced View" within the Layer Properties.

The select the "Color" radio button, the color mode is activated and you can now customize your colors.

Click on the icon beside "Alternate Color to ...". This will open the "Color Settings" window. Here you can define whatever color you wish to use.

Note that you can create your own color sets with Manga Studio EX. This feature can be very useful, for example to get a collection of skin colors...

When you've selected your color for the active layer, click OK. You can then fill the layer (which is white by default) using the Fill tool with your color. Select the Fill tool from the Tools Palette and then click your white canvas.

Notice that the new color of the layer is featured in the "Layers" palette. This is very useful when you have many layers.

You can also rename layers. It is a simple operation: just type the name in the "Layer Name" field in the "Layer Properties" palette.

You can also reorganize your layers at will, modify their order, create groups similar to Adobe Photoshop.

To make things short, you have all the classic tools to work with layers in Manga Studio.

About the layout, I highly recommend to have the "Tool Options" palette visible. This palette features all the interesting options for the active tool. Its content depends on the tool that is in use. It is important, for your workflow, to have access to these on a real time basis. The same principle applies for the "Tools", "Layers", "Layer Properties", "History" and "Navigator" palettes.

Let's draw some rectangles on a new layer. Here I've opted for the color purple.

From the top menu select Layer > New Layer > OK. Select a color as previously explained.

Select the Rectangle tool from the Tools palette. Draw your rectangles. On the "Layer" panel, you can see that the new layer has a purple icon.

You may also note that the "Tool Options" palette is completely different from the previous screenshot.

Let's fill some zones.

Firstly, create a new layer. From the top menu select Layer > New Layer > OK. This allows us to fill independently of the rectangles.

Generally speaking, I recommend you to always use separate layers for outlines and fills.

I used the fill tool here and selected the option: "All Layers" in the tools option palette. This means that the fill tool will fill the active layer but accounts for all the other layer paths. If you do not select the "All Layers" option, then the whole layer would have been filled with the fill color. Now fill the areas you wish to add color to.

The other option, "Close Path", is another excellent Manga Studio feature. It allows you to fill areas even if they're not completely closed. The number aside this option sets the tolerance for this auto-enclosure effect.

I repeated the same steps as before except that I created another layer and filled it with a darker color.

One layer, one color. Effectively you can have more than one layer sharing the same color.

Here, let's have a look on the "Gradation" tool. This is only available in Manga Studio EX.

I've drawn a gradient fill on a new layer, using a darker color. The gradation tool is very particular tool in Manga Studio. In Photoshop, the gradient tool operates as a sort of fade between 2 colors. This is not the case in Manga Studio. Here a layer only deals with one color. The gradation doesn't operate on the color itself. It sets a gradient variation on the opacity of the color.

Here, at the top of the layer, the red color is completely opaque and thus appears completely red. And at the bottom of the layer (which is where I stopped the gradation), the ink is transparent and allows the layers beneath it appear.

To use the Gradation Tool, Select it from the Tools Palette. Click wherever you'd like your gradient to appear on your canvas and drag your cursor and let go wherever you'd like the gradient to end.

If you want to get a gradation that goes from green to blue, for example, create a layer and fill it with a blue color then create another layer, green color, and use the gradation tool on it.

You can fill anything with the Gradation Tool, exactly like the fill tool. For example you can fill a selection. This way, the possibilities are simply endless.

Here I've moved the gradation layer in the Layers Palette. As you can see, the colored rectangle layers are now fully visible.

I added a text layer. (Select Layer > New Layer > Choose Layer > Text Layer) Like any other layer, you can set its color in the "Layer Properties" panel.

The "alternate Color to White" option is useful when you use the outline on your text.

In Manga Studio EX, you can also customize the fill color of your word balloon, or the outline color. You can even set the transparency of the word balloon as well.

Here I wanted to show you the tone layers in action.

As per the previous Tutorial "Getting Started with Manga Studio – Using Tones", once you've selected an area and you've added your tone. You can set the tone color, as previously explained by selecting the "Display Color" radio buttons – Select Color > Choose your color – within the Layer Properties Palette. And you can also define an overlay color as well by selecting the "Tone Area" check mark within the Layer Properties Palette. This allows you to tint the whole layer, producing a very cool effect.

In conclusion, it is true that Manga Studio is, at first sight, a complete solution for black and white comics. But it also offers a whole range of coloring solutions.

The procedure is very quick, simple and always occurs in the "Layer Properties" palette.

I wish you all a lot of fun and colorful experiences in Manga Studio!

Olivier Vinet