My computer is working again! Which means that there will be a new Manga Studio Tutorial up this week. And speaking of Manga Studio, here’s a list of my Top Five Favorite Things about Manga Studio EX 5.

The Sub-View

How many times have you been working on a comic or an illustration, and you need the color palette from several other images? Perhaps it’s your character design sheets?

 When I worked in other software, I’d end up with a bunch of files open, trying to get them all visible on the screen so I could have my reference images, my character and environment designs, and my color palettes all open for the project I was trying to work on.

Manga Studio 5 decided, apparently, to solve this issue. Enter, the Sub-View palette!
Sub-view allows you to load images in to it and scroll through them. You can zoom in, zoom out, and even pick colors to use straight off the images in sub-view.

The Sub-View, by default, is in the same tab as the Navigator. To load an image, simply click the folder icon in the bottom right (to the left of the trash can icon), navigate to your image, and hit Open. As you add more images, you will be able to use the right and left arrows to scroll through them one at a time. Using the slider or the magnifying glasses on the bottom left of the Sub View will zoom in and out on the image. By default there’s  a hand tool you can use to drag your image around, or click on the eyedropper tool to select colors from the reference image.

Completely Customizable Interface

Here’s a Manga Studio 5 Interface.

Here’s another Manga Studio 5 Interface.

(Image taken from

Here’s my Manga Studio 5 interface.

I have all my menus over to the left, because I’m left-handed and I hate reaching over my art to get to important menus. I’d rather have all the “stuff” on the left so I can see what I’m selecting, instead of having my hand in the way.

Manga Studio 5’s interface is completely customizable. Want it to look like Photoshop? Okay, go for it. You can customize all the shortcuts, the top menu bar, and even what tools show up in the toolbox! So if you want one layout for pencils and one for colors, you can do that. Just save your layouts and switch between them with a click Under the Windows-Workspace menu.

Page Templates

I happened to make a video about making, and saving, custom as one of my first Manga Studio video tutorials. Here it is below!

(I’m also going to go cry, because I just realized I no longer have my Adrastus page template saved because of the old hard drive dying. SOB.)

Materials, Materials, Materials!

Manga Studio 5 comes with awesome materials. I couldn’t even get all of it in a screenshot. (I tried though)

 Manga Studio comes with a bunch of materials. Color patterns for fabric, backgrounds, emotions. Monochromatic patterns for screentones, gradients, and more. Manga Materials of frame templates, speech balloons, effect lines, speed lines, and sound effects.

Image materials are photos for backgrounds, Illustrations, and also all the awesome textures and images used for brush tips.

Oh, and then there’s the 3D materials. Manga Studio 5 is 3D capable, and comes with some 3D materials already in it. There’s two customizable “dolls”, kind of like the poseable dolls you can buy to put on your desk- one male and one female. Plus there’s a ton of poses already programmed in that you can put on the dolls: things like walking, falling, laying down, holding an umbrella, punching, and lots of other things.

Manga Studio’s 3D materials has one background material- a stereotypical classroom scene, and a few small objects. But one other thing that it has?

Characters. They’re not the most original looking characters ever, but you could, in theory, make an entire comic with the 3D materials in Manga Studio, without having to draw a thing.

I prefer to use the 3D materials for reference for very difficult poses and angles, personally.

Oh, and of course, you can save your own custom materials! (got a character with a design on their shirt? Make the design in to a material and you only have to draw it one time. Woo-hoo!)


The reason that I bought Manga Studio EX4 a few years ago is because of the Perspective Rulers. Manga Studio 5 continues with the incredible rulers. After having an art software with rulers inside it, I don’t know how I ever lived without a feature like this before.

Manga Studio 5 has all the awesome rulers that were in EX4, but there’s some added stuff too that wasn’t in the previous version of the software.

For one thing, now the direct drawing tools (rectangle, circle, straight lines, polygons, etc) have the ability to snap to the perspective rulers. As you can see in the screen shot from a page earlier in this chapter, I’m using the rectangle tool on a perspective ruler to make the drawers on the filing cabinets, instead of having to draw each individual line.

Got a room with a circular rug? Use the ellipse tool to draw that sucker right in.

In addition to perspective rulers (which are the most awesome thing ever), there’s of course your regular sorts of rulers, plus parallel lines, parallel curves, symmetry, and focus lines (and curves).

Manga Studio 5 also has an awesome ruler pen. So if you need a ruler in, say, the shape of your handwriting? Just take that Ruler Pen, draw out whatever ruler line you need, and go over it with the drawing tool of your choice. So simple. So awesome. I really can not be without ruler tools now that I know how incredible they are.

So yeah, those are just a few of the features of Manga Studio 5 that I absolutely love. What do you love the most about your art software (or traditional medium!) of choice? Tell me in the comments below!