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Creating Color Logos in Manga Studio

This tutorial will step you though the process of altering an existing logo design in order to make it Manga Studio 3.0 color friendly.

Getting Started with Manga Studio 3.0

What software is needed for this tutorial?

A vector drawing program, such as Adobe Illustrator, Coel Draw and a bitmap (raster) painting program that exports as a PSD (Photoshop program) such as Photoshop or Corel Painter.

Manga Studio EX (for the material portion of this tutorial).

What knowledge do you need to know?

  • Opening and closing files, setting Color, how to obtain and set the RGB values of a color (Decimal, not Hexadecimal)

  • Basic knowledge of Manga Studio and the Drawing and Painting program of your choice.

Level of Difficulty:

  • Intermediate – lots of intricate steps.

Purpose of this Tutorial

This tutorial will step you though the process of altering an existing logo design in order to make it "Manga Studio 3.0 color friendly." This includes:

  • Shortcuts

  • Procedural steps for flexibility

  • Making the most of layers and layersets in all programs

  • Setting up and using the Material Bin (Manga Studio EX only).

By the end of this tutorial you will be able to create your own text-based- or pixel-based logos or drawings that can be imported and colored easily within Manga Studio. You will also, if you own a licence to Manga Studio EX, know how to use the Material Bin for storing things that will be reused.

Starting with an Illustrator file

Below is the original Logo design I did in Illustrator. You can create your logo/art work in practically any program that [1] can create layers with alpha channels (transparency) and [2] export as a Photoshop (PSD) file. Although this example uses solid colors and no effects, You can add glows and dropshadows with this process, it'll be covered in a follow-up tutorial.

One thing to think about is how are the colors layered. In this example, I decided that the blue color (behind the red CCO) was the far background color. The Red and Black was the background colors. Then, for the text, look at what colors goes with which text. There's red text (the CCO), Yellow text (Ampersand, Steamier and m!ke r.)blue text and black text.

The reason why all this thought is necessary is because although Manga Studio can show colors, it is, at its heart, a Black and White bitmap program. Each layer, in Manga Studio, can show a maximum of 2 colors - a substitute for Black and White.

So to work within these limits of MS, we need to be clever about how we layer our artwork.

Below is the layers palette for Illustrator. There's a big layer folder for the text. The ampersand is a group, and so on. At this point, this Illustrator file is RGB and not CYMK. For best results don't use CYMK for your "original" file, you'll end up with muddied colors.

On a notepad(a physcial one, not the program that comes with windows :) ), write down the colors you used in your art. Mine was Red, Black, Blue and Yellow. If you know how to get the Decimal values of the Red, Green and Blue, write them down. Usually most graphic programs allow you access to some form of Color Picker.

While we're writing things down, there's one bit of text that I'll want to update with each issue of Cape and Cowl Opera and that's the date text, in the blue background on the same line as "by m!ke r." I went to the layer and wrote down the font name, the font size and how much the font was stretched or squeezed to fit in the space. With this info, when this logo is eventually imported into Manga Studio, the date will be "live" text, that it, we'll be able to update it.

The graphic above shows an important concept in what we're trying to do, having some overlap. The red and black background is given some transparency so we can see the decender of the P in Opera. Because each text color will be on its own layer and each background color will be on its own layer also, this overlap will prevent little imperfections from showing, especially when we do crazy stuff like shrinking the logo once we're in Manga Studio.

Above are the settings I used to export my Illustrator file to Photoshop. The most important thing to get from this is that 'Anti-alias' is NOT checked. Because we're exporting this bad boy at 300 ppi (pixels per inch), we don't need no stinkin' anti-aliasing. We do want Photoshop layers, though. Try to get something close to these settings in your program of choice. If your Illusration program doesn't support exporting of layered PSD files, You will want to export a separate file for each layer or as a single "flat" image and make sure that anti-aliasing is off.

Once the file is a Photoshop file, let's say good-bye to Illustrator and save our file and quit.

Now open up Photoshop and roll up your sleeves. It's gonna get messy.

Prepping the Photoshop file

One thing that we need to keep in mind, is that we'll need a separate layer for each text color and background color. And those layers need to have the colored area be black. Didn't see that coming, did you? See, if we just import the PSD into MS now, each color will be a different shade of grey. The blue will be a very light grey, as will the yellow. Red will be near black. What we want are manual color separations, so we'll have more flexibility when we color the logo in Manga Studio. The picture below is what we have to work with right now.

This is where all that thinking about background colors comes into play. As shown below, is the dialog box for creating a new layer.

As the graphic shows, the name of thelayer is "far bg blue 0-160-198" -- those numbers are the RGB code for the specific blue we want. Those numbers will come in handy in Manga Studio. For now, after creating the new layer, move it so it's the bottom-most layer as shown below.

Next, go to the back ground layer and with the magic wand, select only the blue areas of the background. Cut the selection and then go to the far bg blue layer and fill it in with black. Now go to the previous bg layer, change its name to "bg red 255-0-0 black" and using the bucket tool change the red color to White.

On the right is a graphic of how your layers should look now. Below is the before (top) and after (botom) of the background layer. The grey vertical stripe is where the blue far bg is (that layer is hidden for this example).Because the graphic wasn't anti-aliased when exported from Illustrator, the selection is clean and crisp.

There's many different ways this background could've been done. The Red color could be the far background, the black could be the bg and the blue could be a mid-ground. That could've been better if I wanted to make a copy of the blue layer (which would've been just a vertical bar in this for instance) and then put a Gaussian blur on it for a drop shadow effect. For this logo, I didn't want to use any drop shadows. I wanted just a pure graphic of solid color butting up against other solid colors.

On to the Text!

Like with most things, most of the work is in the set-up and doing the text is no different. With Photoshop, if a layer is not visible, then it can't be selected. I made the bottom bg layers hidden (click on the eye-con in the layers palette) and ended up with this:

Now I selected the Magic Wand tool and set it like so:

There's a few things to keep in mind with the magic wand settings. First off, we don't care about the words, so much as the color they are. That's why "use all layers" is selected and the other two (anti-aliased and contiguous aren't). The tolerance is happy at 128. Those who aren't totally lost probably realize that the date text isn't visible. That's because we are interested in that text as text.

Use the magic wand tool and select anything that's yellow. You should end up with something like the graphic on below:

Now create a new layer with the info as the dialog box here.(Option/Alt - clicking on the new layer icon will bring up this dialog automatically).

Now hide all the other layers except for the Yellow text layer and fill the selection with black. You should get something like the graphic below:

The rest of the text is done this way. Select the color, make a layer named for that color, hide the other layers, fill the selection on the newly created layer. Make the color text layers visible. Repeat until you get something like the graphic below.

Notice that the text for the date is there. All that was done was the date layers renamed "black guide text".

Below is a graphic of what the layers are named and thumbs of them.

Notice that in the graphic above, all the pretty color layers are gone, baby, gone. Yup, delete all the color layers that have serves us so well.. What I do, because I get confused so easily, is save a copy the file with a "MS" at the end, but before the extension. So this file becomes "CACO logo color MS.psd"

There's a few subtle things that should be pointed out. First off, notice the layer "Line for date" (below the purple selected layer). That layer is black and just has a horizontal black line. It doesn't need to be adjusted or changed, so there's no RGB code for it or a "guide" in the name. Which isn't the case for the "black text guide 06" layer (the one that's selected). In this example, the '06' is the year and it uses the Eurostyle b condensed font, 40 pt with a horizontal scale of 50%, according to the notes I took way back from page 2. The layer named "black text guide" is for the Month and Day and I know that it's Eurostyle condensed, 14 pt and horizontally scaled at 125%. Although Manga Studio doesn't allow scaling of text, it's critical that we know the values of the horizontal and vertical scaling, for later on,

Make sure the file is saved and quit Photoshop and move on to page 6 where we have fun without end in Manga Studio!

Finally – Colors in Manga Studio!

Now fire up Manga Studio and create a new page document (or story, whatever you want). Go to the File menu and select the "Import–> Photoshop File" menu item. You'll be presented with a dialog like the one below,:

There's a few things to cover in this dialog. First thing, the Resolution needs to be changed to "300 dpi" to match the page we're importing it to. Next, all the layers you want to import should be checked (right side of dialog box). Now the layer type is okay with Raster layer. However the "Expression Mode" should be changed to "Black and White (2-bit)" -- this way we'll be able to have 2 colors per layer. And because we haven't anti-aliased anything, there's no greyscale stuff to worry about. "Output Attribute" should be set to "Finish" -- changing it to "Sketch" will prevent that layer from being printed out. It's a good setting to have on rough sketch layers, but not for fine logo layers. Again, if we did have greys in this file, then the convert to tone would be good to use. But change it to "doesn't subtract colors" for our example.

Finally click on "Share Parameters and then the OK button and you'll see this on your document window:

And the layer list below should be in the Layer palette. This tells us all is well. Now we move on to adjusting the color.

What we want to do now is to select the layer named "bg red 255-0-0" and open up the properties palette by double clicking on the layer name, by clicking on the Properties button on the toolbar or by pressing the "F7" key.

You should see something like the picture below.

Make note of the settings for Expression Mode (Black and White (2-bit)), resolution and Opacity.

By clicking on the radio button for "Color" and then clicking on the color chip for the "alternative color to white."

You should have the color picker for your OS show up at this time. Set the color to the Red values as in the name of the layer. See, it's all starting to make sense. Just repeat this process for all the layers.

So when you're all done with the color changing, create a layer folder and move all the layers into it, be sure to maintain the order of the layers. I find that by dragging and dropping the bottommost layer into the layer folder first and working my way upwards though the layers saves a bit of rearranging. Here's what it looks like:

Notice that there's a Text folder named "Year Month Date text" --

The "06" text layer has been rasterized and the original layer saved. The text layer is hidden (no eye-con on its row). It's kept so that next year, "07" can be made easily, as we have to do some scaling that can't be done to text, only raster (bitmapped) images can be scaled. Below is the Move and Transform dialog. This is where is so very handy to have the "Guide Text" and our notes we took to aid with the amount of scaling and such.

Now you can see why it was important to save the original text layers as well as jot down the info on the values of the transformations -- they were used in the "Abosulte" column in the dialog above.

The O708 text was done the same way (had to insert a return between the 07 and 08).

You can now delete the text guide layers.

Collapse the layer folder and hide it to make sure that all the logo "pieces" are within it. Open your Materials palette (f10 or the Materials button on the tool bar). Click on the disclosure triangle for "Local" and then on the folder named "User."

In the picture below I have a number of folders already created in the Palette. With the Materials Palette, the folder where you want to drag the Layer Folder (from your Layers palette) has to be selected. Drag the closed layer folder from the layer palette to the right side of the Materials. Because the preview may be wonky, be sure to name the layer folder with a meaningful name.

Now when ever you want, in any document, to use that logo, just drag and drop it onto your page. The logo will be put in the same relative place it was in the original.

The Material Palette, for those of us who have Manga Studio EX, can hold many different kinds of layers and layer groups. In text samples, I have a number of text folders with placeholder (dummy) text with specific fonts, sizes and colors. It helps me to maintain consistency with my digital lettering in MS.

Below is a logo for my webcomic, the upper one is the MS colored version and below it is a variation on it by altering the colors, transparency and visibility of the three layers that make up the logo.

That's all for now, hope this was of some use, if there's any questions, you can message me from the Content Paradise forums or post a question there.

I'm outa here...