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Clip Studio Paint adds animation support

Friday, March 18th, 2016 | Posted by Jim Thacker

Celsys has released Clip Studio Paint 1.5.4, a free update that adds a new toolset for creating animation in the popular digital painting software, including a timeline, virtual light box and onion skinning.

As far as we can tell as non-Japanese-speakers, the animation toolset was announced, and possibly released, in Japan last year, but this is the first time it has appeared in the English-language edition of the software.

A versatile digital paint tool geared towards producing manga
Clip Studio Paint – also known as Manga Studio in the version released by Smith Micro in the West – is a digital painting tool geared towards the production of manga, with a toolset more tailored to a traditional comic production workflow (pencilling, inking, colouring, lettering) than applications like Photoshop or Painter.

Pen strokes drawn using a graphics tablet are saved in vector format, meaning they remain fully editable; and the software has an automatic correction setting to smooth out hand-drawn lines.

It comes with a range of readymade halftone effects, speech bubbles and speed lines, plus a range of stock backgrounds for common manga scenes.

The software also includes its own customisable 3D figure to use as a guide when drawing characters, with a range of preset poses to choose from.

A production-ready animation toolset at a competitive price
To that, Clip Studio Paint 1.5.4 adds support for animation – again, following a traditional cel animation workflow, with a virtual light box and onion skinning as well as a timeline.

Animations can be exported in MOV or AVI format, as animated GIFs, or as series of still frames for use in other software: Celsys mentions that it is working on a live link with After Effects.

Celsys has a good guide to its animation tools here, including a video showing how the software fits into an anime production pipeline – Clip Studio Paint is used at some big studios, including Production I.G.

All in all, it looks an interesting new option for 2D animation and, at $50 to $220, one that is priced competitively to other standard tools like TVPaint or Toon Boom’s Harmony.

The 1.5.4 update also adds a range of non-animation-related features, including the option to export multi-page documents as separate files, and improved text wrapping options, which you can find in the changelog.

Pricing and availability
Clip Studio Paint 1.5.4 is available now for Windows and Mac OS X. The update is free for registered users.

New licences cost $49.99 for the Pro edition of the software, or $219 for the Ex edition. The free Debut edition comes bundled with some graphics tablets. You can see a feature comparison table here.

At time of posting, Celsys was offering a 60% discount on new licences until 22 March 2016.

Read a full list of new features in Clip Studio Paint 1.5.4

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