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128 of 134 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I was comfortable using Photoshop until I tried Manga Studio
Manga Studio is simply the best drawing software on the market. After using Photoshop for more than twenty years, it was surprising to find how much better MS5 is for hand drawn tablet art.

I was comfortable using Photoshop and it took me a long time to come around to using Manga Studio because at face value I couldn't see how much of a difference there would...
Published 24 months ago by Eric

versus
36 of 43 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Software, But Critical Glitches
Smith Micro software is usually fairly easy to use and gets the job done. This is no exception.

Of course, one flaw most of Smith Micro's software has is its glitch with Wacom Cintiqs. On both Anime Studio and Manga Studio 5, the software inexplicably zooms into the canvas, making it impossible to do anything. This could be solved in the preferences by...
Published 20 months ago by Daniel


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128 of 134 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I was comfortable using Photoshop until I tried Manga Studio, January 29, 2013
By 
Eric (PROVIDENCE, UT, United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Manga Studio 5 (DVD-ROM)
Manga Studio is simply the best drawing software on the market. After using Photoshop for more than twenty years, it was surprising to find how much better MS5 is for hand drawn tablet art.

I was comfortable using Photoshop and it took me a long time to come around to using Manga Studio because at face value I couldn't see how much of a difference there would be between using one over the other. I was completely wrong. Without trying it for yourself it's hard to express how much more efficient and advanced Manga Studio is for the digital drawing artist compared to Photoshop when it comes to creating hand drawn illustration. Everything in this program has been made specifically for the drawing/painting digital artist, and the interface is so much faster than any other program.

The first thing that got my attention about Manga Studio and will be of particular interest for the beginning digital artist is the line drawing stabalization feature. So what does this mean? It means that you can have the program straighten the little squiggles of your wrist as you are drawing so that every line and curve you draw looks perfect, and it does it as you draw. Most of the time you really don't need to set this very high, but it allows you to really bust out a drawing and not have to focus so much on how steady your hand is, which isn't always easy when you using a tablet.

I STRONGLY RECOMMEND YOU LEARN THE 3D TOOLS. I can't tell you how powerful this can be when setting up complex scenes and perspective shots. There is a learning curve, but it's not as tough as you might think. I use the free models available from the Sketchup warehouse whenever I need machinery, cars, military or specific landmark buildings etc.

Watch ALL of the short tutorial videos on the Smith Micro site, even what might seem to be the most basic ones. These are invaluable and you will learn HUGE tips in every video.

The rulers are insane. There is no way to adequately explain in words how powerful these are. Having problems with perspective? Or just tired of setting up complicated perspective shots? Not anymore... The rulers rule!

Another super handy recommendation is to use the pre-manufactured 3D manga characters as templates for your own characters. This can really help to make things fast as you can just draw your own characters over the top of these and then delete the template layer finished. I'm not a manga artist, but I use these manga characters for layouts or to help with character expressions all the time.

Manga Studio 5 has increased the flexibility of the interface and the inking tools, which were already stellar, and just get better with every release. The advanced tools have also been significantly improved as more characteristics of Smith Micro's awesome Poser program make their way into Manga Studio.

If you digitally draw or paint Manga Studio really is the program to have.
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51 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth every dollar spent, February 10, 2013
This review is from: Manga Studio 5 (DVD-ROM)
Manga Studio 5 has become a complete replacement of Photoshop except for when I'm vectoring.

If you're a student, I recommend that you go to their student discount to get around 40% off. Go to Smith Micro Campus Store, if Manga Studio 5 is not listed, just add one of the student discounts to your cart. Then go to add Manga Studio 5 to your cart and remove the thing you added previously from the cart.

The GUI has completely changed and is more intuitive that Manga Studio 4's interface.

Notable features
- Sharp inking with anti-alias (if you recall, in Manga Studio 4, the inking looked too sharp)
- Stabilizing, your pen strokes are automatically smoothed out if you have shaky hands. You can increase or lower the stabilizing settings
- Pattern brush - contains common effects used in many manga
- SAI Paint Tool qualities - The smooth blurring, watercolor brush, coloring capabilties
- Materials - default panel templates, colored patterns, monochromatic patterns, default image materials, 3d models (4 anime character models, 2 girls and 2 boys, blank body types can be adjusted to change from kid to adult, slim to chubby, flat or well endowed, change perspective and modify their poses or take a default pose that's already created for you)
- Layers now have layer effects
- Panel docking
- Special rulers (Speed lines/focus lines that aren't included in this version can be done through these rulers, it's just a bit more tedious)
- Useful brush capabilities (Note: it's a bit difficult to create them the way you want them to though)
- Vector layers (Make use of the eraser vector capabilities of erase touching part, erase until intersection, overall line, so that cleaning your line art will be much easier)
- Fill (Instead of relying magic wand as you would in Photoshop, fill has equally as good capabilities with the ability to close gap)
- Easy panel creation (Slight learning curve)

Minor issues:
Be sure to note, the text tool might not work well if you're not on English system locale. Once in a while, you might also find some minor typos on the interface as well. Such as for in the Ruler section, you may see Lenear ruler instead of Linear ruler or monochromic instead of monochromatic. Also, if you're looking to create a story file, Manga Studio 5 does not include these features. These features will most likely be added to Manga Studio 5 EX.

------Update 5.0.2 7/30/13
With the new update for Manga Studio 5, there have been bug fixes.

-The relevant interface typos have been fixed.
-You can now change the interface color from white to grey to black.
-There are a bit more preferences from changing the cursors.
-You can now make groups in the command bar.
-New selection options.
-You can now hide the title bar, similar to the function when you press tab in Photoshop.
-Your layer thumbnails can now be set even smaller.
-Some of the sliders have become 5 bars, but you can still numerically change it.
-Anti-overflow - makes it easier to color
-Perspective Ruler
-Backwards compatible with MangaStudio 4 page files only.
And a lot more stuff...

For MangaStudio 5 EX
-Allows use of 3rd party plugins (those plugins are available in Japanese)
-Story files
--Backwards compatibility with Manga Studio 4 page and story files
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic New Version, January 8, 2013
By 
Erik M (Baltimore, MD United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Manga Studio 5 (DVD-ROM)
As an illustrator I've always steered clear of older versions of Manga Studio due to the odd interface, lack of painting features and primary focus on inking (although it's always done that really well). But Manga Studio 5 is a really nice re-design to the software. The interface is now more in line with common industry tool and panel workspaces, plus they added really nice new coloring and painting features. You can most certainly still do comic pages, but now there's more value in the software for other skills sets.

The brush engine is top-notch and the pressure sensitivity with a Wacom tablet is aces. Drawing and painting is lag-free and a delight (the software does have 64-bit and multi-core support). Some of the new painting modes allow for color mixing right on the canvas much in the same way that Painter would. I love the 3D pose materials - when a particular drawing doesn't feel right, bring in a 3D model, adjust the figure to the pose that you need for your drawing reference, add a new layer and draw. The software really feels like a blend between Painter and Sketchbook Pro. This is not photo editing or compositing software - you definitely won't want the software unless you digitally draw and paint.

One small word of warning though for those who have the newer Macbook Pros - the software is not Retina display ready and does look pixelated when using the display at higher resolutions. Hopefully that'll be addressed in a future update.
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36 of 43 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Software, But Critical Glitches, May 5, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Manga Studio 5 (DVD-ROM)
Smith Micro software is usually fairly easy to use and gets the job done. This is no exception.

Of course, one flaw most of Smith Micro's software has is its glitch with Wacom Cintiqs. On both Anime Studio and Manga Studio 5, the software inexplicably zooms into the canvas, making it impossible to do anything. This could be solved in the preferences by switching the tablet compatibility from WINTAB to the 'exterior screen' bubble, however the program errors and disables the option. Smith Micro suggests it's the Cintiq drivers fault. It's not. It's their software and I hope they update it soon.

Otherwise, great product!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most value for the money, July 8, 2013
This review is from: Manga Studio 5 (DVD-ROM)
This is perhaps the best value for the price of an art program I've ever purchased. I've owned Toon Boom, ZBrush, Adobe Cloud... and I thought Adobe cloud would be the best value for the money, till now.

This program is simply amazing. I'm an avid Photoshop user, so I had very high expectations. In fact I thought this would be more of a novelty that I could share with my daughter. However I was wrong.

If we think of Photoshop as a Illustration tool (digital painting), then this is probably better then Photoshop in that regard. The stroke quality, the color blending of brushes, ability to manipulate 3d maniquins, Ability to drag our own obj's onto the canvas.. the ease of use of dropping panels onto the canvas... It simply blew my expectations out of the water.

You need a scene with a BMW that will be show from 3 angles in 3 different panes? Easy... go to sketchup, load in the a bmw model from the warehouse... export it as a obj. Go to MS 5, and drag the obj to the canvas. You can rotate it, modify it, etc. all here. it comes in with texture and color. Then just paint over it with your own adjustments...

Vector is amazing. In fact if Anime studio pro would have this as their paint toolkit... it would finally be worth it's list price. Manga Studio is amazing. I still use photoshop for post processing and texturing, but I think given time, I could do all my Illustration work within MS5.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What's Not To Like? I Put Away My Pens and Paper!, October 24, 2013
By 
Robert P. Gavila (Astoria, NY United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Manga Studio 5 (DVD-ROM)
I'll keep it short and sweet: Awesome. And I'm old-school My work improves, no more pencil marks to erase, and I can turn the page this way and that and get in deep when I want to. If you're still using 102 nibs, I'm talking to you. Switch to Manga Studio 5. The EX is even better. And my recommendation has nothing to do with Manga comics. It's about art. Period.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love Drawing, Painting, and Inking in Manga Studio 5!, February 3, 2013
This review is from: Manga Studio 5 (DVD-ROM)
I've been using Photoshop for well over a decade ... closer to two ... and have tried a few demos of Manga Studio in the past. To be frank, I never liked Manga Studio. I thought the UI was terrible and that the program was confusing over all. I saw an ad for Manga Studio 5 and watched the promotional video Smith Micro put out and was impressed with what I saw. So I took a chance and ordered a copy.

And I fell in love instantly!

What a great piece of software! The new UI is leaps and bounds above what they had before. It is easy to get around in and quite logical. And you can customize it. So I am quite happy with the UI.

But Manga Studio really shines when it comes to both inking AND coloring! Yes! The new version 5 features a paint engine that simply rocks! As someone else has already pointed out in their interview, Manga Studio will help correct your inked lines by removing small jitters. This makes it fantastic for hand inking pages.

I discovered that Manga Studio opens PSD files without an issue, preserving the layers. It also saves PSD files that open perfectly in Photoshop. I was so excited to get to work in Manga Studio that I opened a project I had started in Photoshop and finished the painting in Manga Studio. I absolutely loved the finished result! What this showed me is that Manga Studio 5 is not just for the creation of comic book content. It is great for painting, too. And despite working on a large format image at print resolution, Manga Studio remained fluid. Laying down color never lagged at all!

I cannot recommend Manga Studio 5 enough! In fact, for most jobs, it will completely replace Photoshop for me.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely surprised!, March 18, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Manga Studio 5 (DVD-ROM)
I never imagined I would find something better than Photoshop and Illustrator for drawing comics! I use both professionally, so I figured it would be easier to stick to the high-end CS6 apps I'm accustomed to. But man, this inexpensive little program utterly surpassed my expectations. It includes a bunch of great brushes and patterns out of the box, it's easy and intuitive, and it shares just enough functions to Photoshop to have the advantage of familiarity. If your'e starting out with digital comics, or you're looking for a dedicated comics app to save you a lot of work, I can't recommend this enough. Assuming you have a pen input, of course: don't even dream of drawing digital comics without one of these. The Wacom Bamboo is cheap and great, though, so get one with the money you'll save from not buying Illustrator.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is INCREDIBLE, February 25, 2013
This review is from: Manga Studio 5 (DVD-ROM)
Blows Illustrator, Photoshop and Painter clean out of the water. This is a HUGE improvement over MS EX 4, which was a very good program to begin with. I have yet to explore the depths but it's clear this version is packed with useful features for us fortunate souls with graphics tablets. Drawing feels natural, the display is not choppy at all. Ships with patterns and models. For all intents and purposes, this is the greatest graphics software I've ever laid a claw on. It's MADE to produce comics and drawings, Illustrator and Photoshop rule their respective niches, but this software is something else altogether. I am positively gurgling with excitement. MS EX 4 was solid, but this is even more powerful -- realize you CANNOT OPEN OLD FILES (yet). So don't overwrite your old application if you need to edit older pieces. Apparently this has all-new system architecture. I'll have to revisit this review after I explore MS5 more. I am just beside myself. This is really something.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Have, January 18, 2013
By 
This review is from: Manga Studio 5 (DVD-ROM)
The primary focus of Manga Studio may be comic creation however it is also a valuable asset for any digital artist or student. Features such as the perspective rulers alone make it worthwhile but it is also packed with all sorts of goodies which can reduce tedious tasks, aid with composition and provide reference models. The drawing tools are responsive and include both raster and vector capabilities allowing the artist to quickly switch to either as they see fit.

One feature I have had a lot of fun playing with are the 3D figures that come complete with bones so they can be posed or use any of the pre-made poses available. Poses can be quickly applied by dragging and dropping the desired pose onto a model. The figure's proportions are easily customized so you can create anything from a heavy character to a child. The 3d figures are useful for storyboarding or to work out a composition without having to do a ton of sketching, saving time and effort. The models don't have much in the way of muscle definition but definitely help in getting proportions right as well as aid in foreshortening.

Two complete characters also come with Manga Studio 5 along with a variety of facial expressions, clothing choices, hairstyles and accessories.

Manga Studio 5 has most of the features of EX 4 and includes 64 bit OS and multi-core support which improves performance considerably. The UI has been improved and several new painting tools have been added. Files are easily exported in a variety of formats that include PSD so you can take a sketch from Manga Studio 5 to Photoshop with little difficulty. A wide variety of files can also be imported including several 3D formats.

The cons for me are that even though the UI is greatly improved it is not native to the Mac however this is really a matter of taste. I also wish it was a bit more optimized for use with a tablet since some of the controls feel a bit too small and fiddley on my Cintique.

Overall Manga Studio 5 is well worth the effort to learn and the price is very affordable when compared to other graphics programs. There is an EX version due out later in 2013 however the upgrade price likely will not be burdensome.
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Manga Studio 5
Manga Studio 5 by Smith Micro Software Inc. (Mac OS X, Windows 7)
$49.99 $34.65
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