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Creator Tips and Tricks #1 : Clip Studio Story Feature

AhkwardKat Community • Nov 2, 2021


Welcome to our new Community Series: Creator Tips and Tricks!!

AhkwardKat here! I've got a great new series for you!

In this series we'll provide you with advice on how to grow, level up, and get new skills as a creator. These tips and tricks don't just apply to GlobalComix, these are the nitty gritty, the real work, the meat of what we do. We create and any way that we can improve that process is going to be a game changer!

Think you can't improve? You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great!

In our first installment of the Creator Tips series, we are going to cover the Story feature in Clip Studio. I have spent time talking and observing creators and I wanted to cover this since it seems that many of our creators do use the software. What is Clip Studio and how does it apply to comics and manga? It is a wonderful software created with the primary purpose of creating comics and manga. If you'd like to check it out, you can find it here.

However before I start, I feel it is fair to disclose that I am a partner of Graphixly, a Distributor for Clip Studio in the Americas and Europe. Neither I nor GlobalComix were paid or sponsored to post these tutorials, and I have done this of my own volition believing in the greatness that this software has to offer.

With that out of the way, let’s dig in! 



With the EX version of Clip Studio (Formerly Manga Studio), there is a “Story” feature. This feature allows you to create a sort of “master file” for all of the pages in your manga! Usually I find it best practice to have one “story” to be one chapter. Let’s get started with a step by step of how this feature works in terms of set up.

When you create a new file and select the comic option (3rd from the left), this is the dialogue box that you are greeted with. It looks a little overwhelming, and since everyone does their comics differently, let's break it apart!

 


Take a look at the next image to start our first section of this box:

Continuing at the very top of the dialogue box, you’ll notice a “File name” and a “Save to (F)” dialogue. The “File name” will be the name of the Folder made to manage the file. In the “Save To F” line, you’ll see an open folder icon on the right hand side of the bar. You can click this and pick the location you want for the story’s folder and files.

 


Our next section covers any presets and the actual size, dimensions, resolution and more:

Because Clip Studio focuses on Manga, these are the presets and defaults, A and B sizes. However, you can still make comics for it if you know your specific measurements. You can even save presets to use in the future! On the right hand side of the present box are your units. You can change this if you don’t use the metric system. From there you can pick a manga size or set your own custom size for your comic. You can also custom set your bleed width.

About DPI: 

This stands for Dots per inch. The short of this is that the higher the number, the higher the resolution, think of the difference between HD and not-HD television, a higher DPI allows you to add more details. Why does this matter?

If you plan to print your comic or manga, you need to use NO LESS than 300dpi. Printers work in 300dpi or higher, 300 is the bare minimum required for a good quality print. Ideally, 450dpi or 600dpi are used, with 600dpi being standard, thus it being used in the preset settings. 

Now what if you already made your artwork and it is less than 300dpi?

Well, the truth of the matter is that it will be hard to get a good print from such a small image. If you import your artwork (say 72 dpi) into a 600dpi page, it will be very very small. If you try to transform it to be the same size as the 600dpi page, it will become blurry. When you increase the size of a flat image made from pixels, the computer has to guess what colors to make the pixels, the bigger you make it, the worse it is at guessing. This is why it blurs.

However if you SCALE DOWN your manga, say it is larger than the 600DPI pages, the opposite will happen and it will actually sharpen your image as you scale it down to be smaller. You will have to shrink your pages to print them, and the sharper the better for printing! So in terms of printing it is WAY BETTER to use a page that is too large to draw on than a page that is too small. So when in doubt, make it large!

What if you have a traditional Comic or manga? Can I scan in at a higher resolution?

Yes, you can, and should! If you look into your scanner’s settings, either in the scan manager software or the scanner itself via its buttons or control panel, there is usually a setting for DPI (sometimes PPI, same thing). I would recommend 600dpi or 1200dpi for scans, this way you get VERY sharp images as scans can sometimes get weird or lose quality. It’s never as good as the real thing, is it?

About Color:

If you make a black and white manga, pick monochrome. If you make a color comic, pick color. Most manga is made in monochrome, Screentones are NOT grey, they are actually small black dots arranged to look like greys. The only time your manga should be in greyscale is if you plan to keep your manga digital only. The reason is that when it comes to digital formats, due to the lower resolution and compression on websites (usually 72dpi), screentones don’t usually do very well. Strange patterns called Moire can appear and ruin the artwork. Screentones are more suitable for printing manga and comics. Flat colors are better for any sort of digital comics or manga. The good news is that once the comic is made, the color mode can be changed and ANY flat color (and ANY LAYER) can be turned into a screentone, so if you change your mind later, it’s ok! 

About Template:

This is great if you have a comic strip or use a yonkoma format for your manga. Clicking this will bring up another dialogue box to allow you to pick a panel template to import into all your pages for you!

About Align Crop mark:

Align crop mark removes any space between your bleeds. In manga this area is called “Nodo” and is used to separate the pages and give space for notes and trimming inbetween pages. I PERSONALLY, keep this UNCHECKED and want the space between my pages.

Ok, that was a lot already, our next section is also very important depending on what type of comic or manga you want to make. Without it, your pages may travel in the wrong direction! 
 


About Setting for fanzine:

This section, honestly is not valid at the moment in this tutorial (it could easy have its own), so let’s leave that for another day.

About Multiple Pages:

The page count here will be your interior page count. There is a separate section for covers, we’ll get to that later. When it comes to how many pages to choose, well it is up to what sort of files you want to make. The maximum number of pages allowed is 80. For manga, the best way, personally, would be to do one chapter at a time, so you would choose the length of your chapter here. Most manga chapters are 20 to 30 pages. If you work in comics, the average floppy is about 32 pages, so you could fit a whole issue in one story, easily, maybe even a whole graphic novel depending on the length.

The little box under the page count says “Combine into two-page spreads”.

I ALWAYS encourage people to work in two page spreads versus one page at a time, why? The layouts of a comic AND manga both are incredibly important. By layout, I mean the paneling and overall composition. Comic books and manga are read technically two pages at a time, wouldn’t it make sense to work on them two pages at a time to make sure the two pages look good together? Make sure everything lines up well and you don’t have any awkward issues with how they look together.

About Binding Point:

When you look at a comic or manga, the side the spine is on is your binding point.

For COMICS: A Left to right story SHOULD have a left binding point.

For MANGA: A right to left story should have a right binding point. This matters so that the cover is on the correct side of the book.

About Start Page:

This will let you decide which page the first of your interiors will be sitting on. Whether it starts on the left or right, it doesn’t matter a lot if you are in an indie setting. However if you wish to follow industry standards, you’ll have to look into what the standard is. This can actually vary by story or even by publisher, so look into some of the works you want to emulate or publishers you’d like to submit to and see what they do!



 

About Cover Page:

This is an optional part you can include in your Chapter file or not, it really depends on how you want to manage your files. If you wish to add a Chapter cover, you can check this box and the below dialogue box will appear. 
 


About Resolution:

Covers are usually done in a different or similar resolution than the interior pages, so it is up to you if you wish to do.

About Color:

Covers for the Chapters can be in color or Monochrome/Greyscale, depending on if you are making Comics or manga. Comic covers and interiors tend to be all in color. Manga tends to have all interior pages, including chapter covers, in monochrome/grey.

Paper Color is the color of the bottom layer, it can be changed here or afterwards.

About Create Page Layout:

This part tends to be confusing, so let me explain this as best I can.

  1. The left option has a two page spread for the cover. This will work best if your cover is to be one larger image that wrap around the comic like a spread. It also works best when you want to have a spine, which you can see an option for below. Be very careful when measuring your spine. A spine too large or too small will cause an error if it is ever printed. 

  2. The second image is for a split cover. This works best when the cover will be completely separate images unrelated to each other.
     


 

About Story Information:

The Story name line will be the actual name of your first chapter OR oneshot. The little dropbox next to the Story name will be the location of the title on the working document, much like actual Blueline paper that has this area.

You can also select a number of stories / issues / chapters if this is easier to set now rather than each one individually. There is also a line for subtitle and author or authors, a page number as well as where to place the page numbers. 
 


 

About Folio and Bind Folio:

These are secondary file management systems that allow you to manage your pages, organize and see info for each. 



 

About Record Timelapse:

Clip Studio allows you to record your timelapses. You have to turn this feature on when the file was made. Turning it on allows you to select the location and file type/information. Every time the file is opened it will automatically start recording in the specified file. 
 

 

When we are all done here, we can click the OK button at the very top of the dialogue box on the right hand side of the screen. 
 

 

Once our file is created (I’m using a document I’m currently working on), you’ll see a series of pages, each numbered, some connected together and some not. The Cover pages are independent from each other (I picked option one, to have the front and cover together).  Page 3 below is the first actual interior page.

 

 


If we click on page 3 to begin to work on it, we’ll see that our selected page opens on the left, and the master story file is on the right. This way you can see all pages, or a group of them, at one time. What is great is that this functions perfectly as a thumbnail to check the composition of the pages. You can change this by dragging the opened page so that it is in the same “window” as the story document so that they are like tabs and you can flip between them. If we look at the actual page, you’ll notice some lines here on the page. These are your margins and trims, and bleeds. I will cover this in the next tutorial. (You won't need Clip Studio for the next tutorial)
 


 

If you need an example of some completed pages, have a sample from my own pages! I always work in spreads.
 


 

 

As for exporting, that will be its own tutorial. There are a ton of different options for exporting, and I’d like to give everyone a breather before we get there. 


 

Once again, if you are new to Clip Studio Paint, you can find it and all the information you need here. Feel free to ask any questions below. Thank you all very much for reading through this tutorial! I’ll see you in the next one!

 ~ AhkwardKat and the GlobalComix Team