Clip Studio Paint: Leading Graphic Software and iPad App for Manga Comics, Illustration and 2D Animation

Clip Studio Paint is leading Japanese graphic software for digital content creation: draw and paint Manga comics, Illustrations and Animation.


Clip Studio Paint interview graphic software

Launched in 2012, CLIP STUDIO PAINT has become one of the major players in the field of graphics and drawing software and is used by more than 3 million artists worldwide (includes use of the trial version.). The software comes with an abundance of different features that are suitable for drawing colorful illustrations and comics, but also feature everything necessary to produce a full-scale black and white manga. In addition to the Windows and macOS versions, the full-featured iPad version was released in 2017.

CLIP STUDIO PAINT has been the top seller in Japan in 2014, 2015 and 2016 in the graphics software section of the BCN AWARD, which tabulates sales numbers from Amazon and other retailers. It is also the most popular software among users of “pixiv“, one of the world’s largest social media services for artists with over 30 million users. (Calculated by CELSYS via figures published by pixiv 2017/1-2017/12).

Many professional artists – be it designers, concept artists, manga or comic artists – use CLIP STUDIO PAINT in their day to day production cycle to create content, while it is also a favorite amongst hobbyists. However, the software is also used in universities and specialized school for art and entertainment media, to teach beginners about digital art.

Please tell us more about Celsys as a company.

When CELSYS was established in Japan in 1991, our goal was to “systemize” the cel animation workflow. This led to the development of our cel-painting program “RETAS”, and we’ve continued to promote the digitization of 2D animation production ever since. Since then, we’ve released our comic and illustration software “Manga Studio (Comic Studio)” and other products. Today, we offer various Web services, e-book distribution solutions, tools, and services in addition to CLIP STUDIO PAINT to better support the creative activities of graphic creators all over the world.

Your flagship product is CLIP STUDIO PAINT. Could you tell us more about the software?

CLIP STUDIO PAINT is a drawing and painting software available in six languages (Japanese, English, Korean, Chinese (Traditional), Spanish, and German). We’ve released PC versions for Windows and macOS as well as an iPad version, and we currently have over four million users worldwide. The software’s advanced drawing engine lets users paint natural, almost hand-drawn lines with various mediums, including pencil, pen, pastel, crayon, watercolor, and oil paint. CLIP STUDIO PAINT features specialized tools for comics, illustrations, and animation, as well as unique features such as freely posable 3D drawing dolls.

Apart from professional artists, CLIP STUDIO PAINT is also very popular in the academic sectors. What are the major reasons behind this?

CLIP STUDIO PAINT is used by professional creators because it is a reliable software that responds to the wants and needs of professionals. I think its popularity in the academic sector comes down to the fact that once you learn how to use it, you can keep on using it throughout your career, even with your polished skill set. The sense of security that comes with our year-round user support probably helps as well.

With associated modules like ‘CLIP STUDIO ACTION’ and ‘CLIP STUDIO MODELER’, you are already in the 3D production pipeline. What more can we expect in future versions?

As you probably know, CLIP STUDIO PAINT already has animation features. We’re planning to expand upon that by supporting content that uses 3D data, and providing a system that allows users to create and publish interactive content.

What are production credentials of ‘CLIP STUDIO PAINT’?

Almost half of all CELSYS employees are software engineers, and in addition to each product’s development team, we have specialized teams for basic technology and engine/framework development, which makes up the core of our products. As we are primarily an in-house developer, we have 25 years’ worth of accumulated knowledge and assets, some which date back to our founding days. Many of our employees are creators themselves, which gives us insight on the needs of our users when developing.

In 2017, the iPad version of CLIP STUDIO PAINT was released, and rather than a stripped-down version, it is nearly identical to the desktop version. How did you reach the conclusion that this is best approach?

Previous surveys had shown that many CLIP STUDIO PAINT users also own an iPad, and we had received many requests for an iPad version of our software. We released the iPad version last year, and we are glad to know that there are so many users. We hope we can keep providing environments that allow people to create more freely and easily.

How does your E-book distribution and production works with CLIP STUDIO PAINT?

In CLIP STUDIO PAINT EX, users can manage comics with multiple pages. Files made in PAINT can be directly exported from CLIP STUDIO to EPUB and Kindle formats, which are both common e-book formats.

Buy Kindle with official discounted price from Amazon.

How do you continuously evolve your various products?

As mentioned earlier, about half of CELSYS employees are software engineers, each assigned to a product line. CLIP STUDIO PAINT engineers are constantly working on CLIP STUDIO PAINT to release free updates about once every three months. We also make sure to respond quickly to the newest OS updates, user requests, and update requests.

What have been some of your major technological challenges and how your team solved them successfully?

When releasing CLIP STUDIO PAINT in 2012, the entire program was developed from scratch, including “TRIGLAV”, the drawing engine. Our previous products such as “Manga Studio” had been continually updated for years, binding them to past architecture and making them inflexible. Developing “TRIGLAV” as a shared library across windows, macOS and iOS proved to be difficult, but thorough beta testing led to our success.

bcn awards celsys

Which new frontiers is CELSYS aiming for in the upcoming decade?

At CELSYS, we also conduct fundamental research on graphics technology. Recently, we published our research results on automatic coloring using AI and deep learning, where an AI automatically paints a drawing based on line art and coloring hints. This is just one example, but we will continue to support creators not only with our applications, but with our web services and hardware to ensure that anybody can enjoy being creative and effectively improve their work quality through technology.

Thank you very much for taking the time to learn more about CELSYS and CLIP STUDIO PAINT. Don’t forget to check list of freebies.

Clip studio material assets (Manga, illustrations, licensed characters and more)

Tips and Tutorials

Official Q&A Forum

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