Updated: Oct 8, 2020
*yelling through megaphone*
"Clip Studio is better than Photoshop!"
At least for digital art and illustration. If you disagree - then you've probably never used Clip Studio and explored its numerous features that are extremely streamlined so you can produce awesome works of art - faster.
I have been using Clip Studio on basically a daily basis for the last 3 years. The only reason I ever got the chance to use it was because it came as a free trial with a Wacom tablet I purchased. I'm so glad it did, or I may have missed out on an awesome and affordable program!
Over the years I have upgraded from the regular Clip Studio Pro to the Clip Studio Ex (which isn't really necessary but does have some additional features).
So if you are a digital artist/illustrator, here is why you need to buy Clip Studio - like yesterday.
1. QUICKLY Access Tools and Options for Drawing
Many of the things I do when drawing can be done in Photoshop once you figure out where the heck to find the options and go through some added steps. A few of the tools I use quite regularly that make a huge difference are:
A. Extract Lines (Ex Version Only)
Basically, take a photo and convert it to line art in a few seconds. It has some adjuster bars to change line weight, black areas, and reduce some noise in the white areas. Super helpful for making backgrounds in comics.
B. Convert Brightness to Transparency
Take that black and white image you just made and BAM! Line art done. The white is removed and you are left with a transparent background.This is extremely helpful when making comic art.
Are you following me here? I know we're working pretty quick so it may be hard for you to follow along (thanks to Clip Studio!). . .
C. Expand Selected Area
When using the magic wand tool, you can select your area (lets say we want to fill in this area with color using the bucket tool), and then a quick access bar pops up under your selection with lots of options! I frequently use the expand selected area tool to expand the area a few pixels so that when I fill with color, there isn't that weird white pixel gap when zoomed in (especially when working at higher resolutions).
D. Fill Gap Tool
Unless your lines perfectly meet up (which can be one extra worry you don't need to concentrate on when drawing!), color will flood the page when using the paint buck tool. Clip has this handy option that pops up when you click the paint bucket that lets you "close the gap". You can choose how strict you want to be with gap areas. VERY VERY HELPFUL. VERY. . .
2. Pose-able 3D Figures and Environments
A. 3D Assets
Clip Studio offers a nice library with both free and paid downloadable assets. Brushes, tones, backgrounds, AND 3D stuff! If you can't find the 3D resource you need - they have a 3D modeler you can download for FREE and make your own! 3D environments can be turned, tilted, scewed (perspective), and more! There's tons of pre-made poses or you can change the pose, weight, height, light source... whatever!
B. 3D Poses from Photographs
If having pose-able figures built into the program doesn't win you over - maybe this will. You can take a photograph and make a pose from it with the click of a button.
3. AI - Coloring
While it can't compete with good old artistic rendering by a real person, there is an option to color your art using an artificial intelligence tool. I've only played around with it but imagine you could definitely build upon the colored image to make it look like a masterpiece.
You can draw and animate directly in the program! While the Pro version has animation options - you can unlock longer animations and more options in the EX version.I made this weird fish just to test it out, but the Clip Studio site offers sample animations that are higher production (anime sort of stuff!) quality that shows you can make some good stuff if you are more knowledgeable than I am with making animations.
5. Other Goodies Worth Mentioning
Some extra things I think are worth mentioning are:
Drawing tools offer really good stabilization options for nice smooth lines.
You can make both Raster and Vector graphics.
For comics - an entire library of tones are drag and drop within the program.
The program is ALWAYS getting cool new updates and being improved upon (for no additional cost).
You can get Clip Studio Pro on sale usually for $25 (regular $50), or the Ex version on sale for around $140 (regular $220) - a one time time charge that includes all free updates. *Compare to Photoshop monthly subscription at $30/month.
If I've won you over now, you can use this link to snag your own copy of Clip Studio from Amazon (I get a small commission from sales using this link that helps support more articles like this!). *Please Note: This is a CD Rom but you don't even need the CD - it comes with a code you can type in! (And it's cheaper than just buying the code on amazon!)