Manga Studio coloring

edited April 2011 in The Toolbox
I learned most of my digital illustration skills with Photoshop (and to a lesser extent Illustrator and the late lamented Freehand), but I've discovered Manga Studio and I've grown to prefer it for penciling and inking. But coloring capability didn't appear in MS until the current version, so I haven't really tried it until now.  I'm liking it already.

One thing I've found annoying about coloring in Photoshop is the multiple steps required to select an area that's surrounded by a line of ink and fill it with color.  It's one of the most-repeated actions in coloring line art, and it's too complicated. You have to 1) click on the "inks" layer, 2) use the wand to select the area, 3) expand the selection by a couple pixels to ensure that there are no unselected pixels between the line and the selection, 4) click on the appropriate "colors" layer, and 5) select the paint bucket/gradient tool (and maybe a new color), 6) click to apply the fill.  Step 3 bugs me the most, because there should be a way to do that automatically.  You can set the tolerance to also select gray pixels as well as blank ones, but that's not quite the right thing, and as far as I can tell there's no simple way to have Photoshop automatically select X additional pixels around whatever area you clicked on.

In Manga Studio there is. Under the Magic Wand tool options, there's a setting for Expand/Reduce Area, and with a little experimentation I've figured out what value to use to get it to select not just the blank space, but also the area about halfway through my typical line. So no little gaps that have to be filled in by hand.  It's the difference between a multipurpose image editing program (PS) compared to a comics-illustration program (MS).  They get it.

Now if only there were a way to tell it to always apply the wand tool to one layer (e.g. my "ink" layer), and always apply the paint-bucket tool to another (e.g. one of my "color" layers), so I could also skip steps 1 and 4.


  • Neat. That feature sounds like it would let you account for printing offset so you don't get those little "halos" around your work... (page 139 of the DC lettering guide)

    I haven't messed with MS much but I can't draw yet :) It runs really well in a Windows VM under Linux, for those who are curious. It's a bit laggy under Wine.
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