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And the patch is out now...
manga.smithmicro.com/manga5-up…

I've been a Manga Studio fan for years.. I used Manga Studio 4 EX for a long time before the version 5 came around. One of the Manga Studio 4 features I've really missed in v.5 is the story editor which is now included in the update (EX version) in some form at least. Hurray for that!!

Of course there are some other new features too. One that attracted my eye was the color history -palette (lovelyyy). New filters, gradation map and group work mode for EX.. :O 
And some smaller stuff..  here are the release notes: www.clipstudio.net/en/dl/relea…
  • Drinking: will have some water soon..
Kind of funny - just declared last spring that I'm going to be here much more and what happens? Life. 

My father's been in a hospital, my two nieces came over and then my sister arrived for a summer holiday from U.S. While it's been hectic and I've had difficulties of finding my own space and time, I'm grateful of many things. My father lives and feels good now that his condition was taken care of. My two nieces are wonderful and I love them. I got the chance to get to know my nephew from U.S., he's an awesome little guy and we've had such a good time with him. And so much more good things are happening in my family.

It's good that I haven't had any projects going on lately because I haven't had the time. But that should change soon. Work stuff is already seeping into my mind. In the fall I'm having discussions about new Napalm comic and strip. Also thinking of doing some original art that I may give away or sell. My drawing style has changed dramatically in the last few months as I changed from digital to traditional. Haven't posted the work I've done, I'm sorry for that. It's such a chore to get them scanned. You just have to take my word for it for now. ;) 

I'm also thinking of taking more commissions in the near future. Colouring, painting and drawing. Thinking of few slots per month first and see how it goes from there.

One more week of summer "holiday" and after that it's 'back to the old drawing board' for me.

Have a nice summer everyone!
  • Listening to: Silence
  • Drinking: nothing - but I'll have a cup of coffee soon
Suomen kovin amerikkalainen supersankari palaa ensimmäisessä täyspitkässä sarjakuva-albumissaan!

70-luku, Kekkosen ajan Suomi. Rauhallisen pinnan alla kuohuu, kun idän ja lännen agentit ja supersankarit ottavat toisistaan mittaa. Voimatasapaino järkkyy, kun kansainvälisen pelin kentälle astuu Patriot American Forcen superagentti Kersantti Napalm. Pystyykö hän estämään neuvostosankareiden suunnitelman kloonata Kekkosesta mieleisensä hallitsija Suomeen? Mikä ikiaikainen pahuus vaanii mystisessä Lapissa? Kenestä kuoriutuu yllättävä liittolainen taistelussa pahuutta vastaan? Mikä linkittää tapahtumat Napalmin omaan, salattuun menneisyyteen?

kirja.elisa.fi/ekirja/kersantt…



Sorry about the Finnish. I will try to translate the above in English later on. It might take a bit time though ;). The comic itself is in Finnish only.

Sgt Napalm has been released today as an E-book through our publisher Crime Time. Hurray!!

  • Listening to: Sims 3 construction mode -tunes
  • Watching: my niece playing Sims 3 next to me
  • Drinking: just had some Earl Grey tea
The long awaited update is now available for all the Manga Studio 5 users. Yaay!

Some good stuff in this update. LT conversion improvements, ability to create gradient tones .. and my favourite new feature: font preview!!!

MS5 update page for further details: manga.smithmicro.com/manga5-up…
  • Drinking: my morning coffee
... not that I was ever actually away. I've been here lurking below the surface and just watching stuff. But now silence is over. I'm looking forward to see new artwork from people in dA and hoping to submit more of my own art here as well. I feel so energetic even though I have a bronchitis at the moment

I've been so close to quit art stuff. So close. It's been a weird three years. But eventually I've done some pretty good soul searching. Found out that I still have a lot of love for art and the world around me.

Oh! And I've gone back to traditional pen and paper!!! Yaaay! Surprised even myself. I bought this fantastic Faber-Castell 2mm lead holder and some additional leads and I was hooked. Then I had to buy some Pigma Micron markers; and now I've been drawing, inking and painting with watercolours. Just sketches and quick drawings for now but I'll post some of them over when they're scanned. When I worked in digital I never felt I had a particular style. But now I look at my drawings and say "Hey! This really looks like my work!". I love the feeling.

I'm not abandoning digital though. Just taking a break. 

See you soon! I'm off to draw stuff. :D
  • Drinking: some aspirin stuff
I guess it's more of a news for the Finnish Kersantti Napalm fans but finishing a 56 page comic for me was such a big thing I can't just be quiet about it.

I still remember how I counted the unfinished pages before the summer and felt so overwhelmed by their number. I soon realized that watching the empty pages can be a bit stifling so I limited my view and decided to concentrate only on the page I was working on. And now it's finished. Just like that... it feels like magic.

Page 4 from Kersantti Napalm by KatLouhio  Napalm cover test by KatLouhio

But despite finishing all these pages I'm unable to celebrate. My mind just won't let me. There's just too much decisions and work ahead. The next few months will be important for me because I will have the chance to start concentrating on my very own project. If I continue doing comics, my next project will be very different. I'll be returning to my own realm - fantasy.
Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Winter Solstice! No snow for this year's holidays and it's been raining a lot. 



Although I've been so quiet I'm visiting here everyday. I just wish I had more paintings and drawings to share here. I'm working to finish Napalm, a Finnish superhero comic of 50+ pages. I'm almost there and feel confident that the work is done in a month or two. I'm already planning for the future. And although there's been feelings of quitting drawing and stuff I don't think I can do that; I just need to return to my own realm of inspiration. Just have to finish stuff first.

I've written a fantasy graphic novel for three years and I hope to get it on the drawing board after Napalm. I'm actually glad it has taken this long because I've had the chance to see if things really work in the story and decide if it's a story that I want to read. Two months ago I started writing it all over again because I felt that there was something structurally wrong with the script. But.. finishing the script will have to wait for now. 


Thank you all for favourites and watches! I hope to be able to add more content to my gallery in the future.  Take care!

It seems that Celsys has now taken over the distribution of digital downloads of the software known as Manga Studio 5 , originally called Clip Studio Paint, and Smith Micro has been left with the distribution of physical copies. It has been announced in the Celsys's website that they will start selling the digital copies of CSP and CSP EX 10th September. Where this will leave Smith Micro eventually is not clear but I have heard directly from them that they are continuing to distribute updates normally and Manga Studio is still available for purchase, albeit as a physical copy only. I do hope they keep pushing things forward as usual and nevermind the change. On a side note...it's a bit sad blow to the reliability of the brand. I'm glad the final product is still available for all the English speaking users wether it's called Manga Studio or Clip Studio Paint. I also think that it's great that the developers are finally aware how popular Manga Studio/Clip Studio Paint is becoming world wide and that there IS a market for the English version. But still... :/

We don't know what future brings. I hope the best for both; Celsys and Smith Micro. I only hope that those of us who have already bought our copies of the software (who are the most loyal long time users of Manga Studio/Clip Studio Paint/Illuststudio/Comic Studio) will not be punished by any discontinuation of versions or being forced to purchase a different version to get updates. If that happens I'm going to become a Photoshop user (knock wood).... well maybe not. But I'm going to be very unhappy user if that happens.


It's finally here; Manga Studio 5 EX. People have been waiting anxiously to get their hands on the EX version..  and I'm almost tempted to buy it myself even though I already own the japanese version.

One friendly reminder, however. The Debut and EX versions have almost the same tools. The main difference between the two versions are the multiple page support and the story creation (as well as 2DLT and 3DLT support later on). So if you work on single pages it may not be worth upgrading to EX. But if you work on larger comic projects digitally, EX is most definitely something that you would want to have.

See the last Monday's Webinar by Doug Hills to learn more.

What can I say - it's great. I won't go through the details of my decision of choosing the Japanese version instead of the ready translated version Manga Studio 5 EX (upcoming this summer) but I'm not a bit sorry to spend 150 euros on the upgrade - but this means I won't be spending my money on the Manga Studio 5 EX version when it's published this summer.

I had previously thought there would be some kind of story editor in the EX version but I was wrong. There's no story editor - well who needs one. But I kind of miss the ability to change the fonts to all documents. Haven't found that switch yet but if there's one I will find it eventually. The text tools are ok. Simple to use, but still no way to transform deform text. Ok - you can do them all in vector and skew them in anyway you want. Doug Hills had a great tutorial in Youtube about that.

Because there was a bit of lag in my MS5 when using the larger brushes I was a bit scared that the EX version would be even slower. But I was amazed to find out that there seemed to be less lag. Weird - but I'm not complaining.

You can also change the interface darker.. I thought I wouldn't use this feature but it's actually very nice and lowers the strain on my eyes when working on colours.

Navigating pages is nice. The pages are on one side of the canvas so they are more available than in the old version where they were hidden from sight on separate page.

The selection launcher can also be modified. But this is a feature that is available also in the Clip Studio Paint Pro 1.2.3 version. It's not available in Manga Studio 5 yet unfortunately. But it's a great feature.

One thing that has become one of my favourite feature is the ability to import files (PSD files as well) as pages. It's great. I had separate pages I had worked on in MS5 and I could import them all in one story file with all the layers intact. Importing old MS 4.0 EX files worked great.

Overall - I think the changes from CSP Pro to EX are small but significant. The EX version is really worth it but it's nice that if you have a smaller budget you can achieve the same kind of results in Pro version as well. EX version just makes working on several pages and some other things much easier which is important if you work professionally.

But - this is just the first look. I'll give an update later if new thoughts arise.
I've noticed that it's not actually very uncommon in deviantArt to shift from an active member into a silent one.  At some point there comes a situation in life when there's a very little to talk about. It's not that life is static but rather too much is happening and I really don't know where to begin and how to express it in a positive way.

I got a grant of 1000 to finish Sgt Napalm -comic. It's over 50 pages and it's the last comic project I take part in. I hope to finish it before August but at this rate I'm lucky to get it done before year 2020.

It's been years since I last enjoyed drawing or watching a great piece of art. The light has dimmed and it is slowly suffocating away...and very soon it's time for me to move on to other things and draw only for recreational reasons.
I did a casual search in the internet just out of curiosity and was amazed to find pictures of some of my older paintings in websites I have not even visited before. I definitely have not given anyone permission to publish my pictures on these sites either. Ok..I don't think I'll ever make any money with those paintings and it is delightful to see that someone has liked my paintings enough to publish them somewhere AND the pictures were published in my name but it does leave a bit nasty feeling to see my pictures scattered in the internet by someone else than me.

I've now added some more watermarks on my paintings. I hate watermarks and I didn't think those old paintings were that good anyway to have that nasty watermark on them. ;) But I'd hate to do that with all of my gallery pictures. But I will - if necessary.

I do think it's generally ok to download pictures from internet for personal use but I don't think publishing them in any way (even in my name) is ok if I haven't given a permission to do it.

So.. thank you very much for liking my old paintings but next time - ask a permission.
I've barely had the chance to scratch the surface with Manga Studio 5 and now I hear that ArtRage 4 www.artrage.com/artrage4.html is coming up this month. Great news!
Ok. I've had a deeper look in Manga Studio 5 and it's features. :)

I've been so excited to have this english version of Clip Studio Paint Pro. Maybe lacking some objectivity in all the excitement... hehe ;) Every software has their downfalls and I really don't want to sound like an advocate of any company. Manga Studio 5 is no exception to that - although it's a pretty darn cool software.

The 'not-so-good':

Laggy large brush. In my excitement I was expecting maybe too much SAI-like smoothness with bigger brushes, but then again SAI does have only 500px max brush size and limitations to the canvas sizes which obviously help a lot with the lag issues. I mean, it really is expectable to have more lag when you have a very large brush with opacity and blending features. But there's absolutely no lag with 2000px sized opaque inking pen/marker except with the texture pen that behaves sluggishly in those sizes. But despite the lag a brush catches on with the stylus and doesn't seem to take any shortcuts - and that's important. I did give it a comparison in PS CS5 which seemed to handle the bigger (2000px) brush strokes a bit slower.

The gradient tool is a bit odd to use. I will no doubt get used to it eventually. It is much better than in MS4 though and a lot closer to that in Photoshop. But I do like the PS gradient tool a bit more - except for the lag. PS gradient tends to get laggy after a while when used few times times in larger scale - or am I doing something wrong. MS5 gradient didn't lag at all.

For those who use PS a lot for colouring have a harder time getting used to the selection tools. There doesn't seem to be a way to swap from polyline to lasso during selection making. But in MS 5 - you really don't have much use for that option. The fill tools do the work in MS5. If the lineart is very loose one does have a harder time doing the flat colouring though - I noticed that the 'close gap' feature needs a bit more tweaking from the developers. The fill sometimes flows through the gaps even if the 'gap size' in the tool settings is set to very high - but when the setting is lowered the close gap miraculously works. This glitch existed in MS4EX also - so nothing new. There are ways to work around the glitch but it doesn't improve the workflow on those occasions. However - this is only a minor glitch and most of the time I haven't had much trouble.


The 'good':

The new UI is very well though of. Most of the features are very easy to find or visible. There's a sub view where you can load up a picture for colour picking or you can undock the whole window and enlarge it to hold a reference picture. A layer can be cleared quickly with a hotkey above the canvas and a selection launcher appears below a selection contains useful hotkeys.. There's a finally an easily accessible button to hide those nasty marching ants (selection indicators) as well. ;)

The fill tools in my opinion behave generally a bit better than in MS 4 EX. Especially the flat colouring is much easier and faster in MS5. It does demand a different approach than with PS. There's less need to create selections and most of the time you just fire at will with the fill tool and correct the small things with an aliased ink pen. The fill tools can be chosen to use one or more layers as the reference layer and because of that there's no need to jump between layers - or create channels etc. You can adjust the scaling of fill tool so it automatically goes under the line art a bit or if you have done the lineart with MS5 vectors you can tap the 'stop filling at center line of vector'.  You can also select aliased or non-aliased fill.

Layer transparency lock is one of those features that were missing from Manga Studio 4 but it was added to version 5.  Yay!

Clipping masks are similar to those of SAI's. No need to dig in the dropdown menus as all the buttons are visible in the layer window. You can also transfer layer content to the layer beneath without destroying the above layer itself - just like in SAI.

I've always loved the sketch layers in MS4. I thought it was very easy to use but in MS5 they've made it more accessible. Just add blue line -effect to a layer with one button. You can also turn the layer content to editable tone (again with just one button) - and back again to the normal state. I think that's pretty awesome.

The new editable tool bars are great. You can keep the tool bar always neat because you have the option to select which of the tool's features are visible. If you don't use some features in a tool you can just hide them. No need to scroll through every slider and knob.

What I hated in MS4EX was the colour blending. It often gave weird effects and it was very difficult to control. I tried to avoid using it. In MS5 that's history. New blending tools are great and very versatile.

The stabilizer has now two different options which I think is great. You can slow down the line so that the pen feels much more steady when drawing a line or you can use the post-processing option that corrects the line after it's drawn. Or you can use a mix of these both.



The 'to-be-explored-later' :

Then there are purely comic features to create frames and speech bubbles. I haven't really tested them out yet but they have changed pretty much from the previous version. But seem easy enough to use.

The 3d puppet is very lifelike and you can change the proportions quickly. I still have to test it out. I have sometimes used 3d model to help out with some poses that seem very difficult. It's great to know that there's help available when the time comes. It's not a magic button though.


*****

Well that was about it for the time being. It's taken me the whole day to write this between decorating the tree and baking some treats for Christmas among other things. ;)

Oh, and they published a video of the upcoming Manga Studio EX version in YouTube www.youtube.com/watch?feature=… . Better see that one. I see some pretty nice features there. Seems that it has an option to see what your comic book will look like when printed. Hmmm.. now how nice is that. ;)
  • Drinking: water
Oh, happy day!!

The package seemed it had been trampled by elephants but nevertheless - the CD was in perfect condition and that's what matters in the end. :)

Just installed it and now it's time to explore. The UI feels familiar already because it's the same than Clip Studio Paint. But I'm glad that I'm able to see the settings in English now.

This is a must have. I'm still going to get the Manga Studio 5 EX version next summer.. But until then MS 5 will do just fine. :)
  • Listening to: LOTRO sounds - my raven flapping it's wings
  • Eating: hungry
What a great morning! Smith Micro announced a prelaunch of Manga Studio 5. It's available only as a physical shipment for now. The EX version will be published next summer. manga.smithmicro.com/mangastud…

It was as I expected - Manga Studio is the official English version of the Clip Studio Paint Pro. :D

Great news!!!!
  • Listening to: distant radio somewhere in the house
  • Drinking: coffee
I'm worried that my creativity might be completely dependent on the software I use. That would explain the the amount of updates on my dA profile.

After getting myself a Mac I've had to struggle finding a great drawing/painting software. I loved working in SAI - but it's PC based. Every time I work in it I feel I get a Creativity +100% moodlet. The pen feels like pen and there's just absolutely no lag. I love the markers and the way it generally works. It's been hard to get over SAI... and I still haven't recovered.

Well.. for almost 1,5 years I've spent some gold for getting Photoshop and Painter.. but there's something wrong with those programs. At least for me. Especially PS feels such a cold environment. Everything is under a dropdown menu which I really dislike. Painter is great but I have't found a good workflow with it. And there were some issues with laggy brushes which were caused by the fancy multithreading settings among other things.
ArtRage is great but it's a bit clunky to do the kind of drawings that I'd like to do. Painter Sketchbook would be great too but somehow it just doesn't work that well on my Mac. I've seen many great paintings and drawings done in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro but it feels so plastic every time I try to paint with it and I get these weird pen sensitivity bursts when I's painting. I do know it's neurotic to mind about things so small but I can't help it. Manga Studio is the only software that has the right feel to it... but the painting tools are not very good. It's great for flat colouring and working on line art.

Lately I've been rummaging through world wide web to find SOME information or clues on the upcoming new version of Manga Studio - Smith Micro hinted about it last year. Smith Micro has been very quiet about it. However, they've setting up a new Manga Studio webpage towards the end of the year which does sound a bit promising. No proof of upcoming version however.. none at all.  BUT.. I've spied on numerous forums and used google translator to find out what's happening at the company which originally created Manga Studio. And found out that there's a new software called Clip Studio Paint (which has an EX version that's to be released for preview next month - the actual release seems to be next year) that's the crossbreed of Illuststudio and Comic Studio. Upcoming EX version is specifically meant for comic artists. I downloaded the Japanese trial version of the program and it's like a dream come true for me. The feel is exactly right. It's like improved version of SAI.  I do hope that this is the new version of Manga Studio !!! I'm ready to learn some Japanese if Smith Micro is not going to publish an english version.

Note however that this is only a speculation. I might be wrong.
  • Listening to: Manly P. Hall's lecture
I don't feel anything YET but after few finishing corrections and adjustments I think I'm going to feel so great. For year and a half I've been working on Koneballerina (Machine Ballerine) -comic. It was delayed by few personal reasons  - I would have finished it much earlier.  I guess that's life. But now the comic is almost finished... YAY!! I think I'm going to celebrate it somehow. :D

Koneballerina by KatLouhio   Preview of KB by KatLouhio

Following Koneballerina is another Finnish superhero comic and then maybe a sequel to Koneballerina which I would _love_ to see based on the initial ideas the writer had.

Then.. I've had initial conversations with the author of Finnish fantasy novels who would like to turn one of her short stories into a comic. How could I turn the offer down?

I've thought about taking commissions. But in these last few days I've started to feel that maybe concentrating on comics is enough for me. Of course I'm still doing the colouring for King Comics (don't worry, Gabe! ;) ). But additional commissions? ... yeah, maybe I'd go nuts.
  • Listening to: Manly P. Hall's lecture
I'm writing this really quick as I'm on a schedule here (having a date with my script). For 6 months I've been rather quiet - haven't done much art so I've had hardly anything to update. But things are picking up - strangely. I've made tight schedules and I'm back working on several different stuff.  I've needed a break if only to remind me once again that happiness is an attitude - not a situation.

Here's a couple of pictures I took and I want to share them with everyone - especially those who are having a rough time at the moment.
Don't give up! Enjoy the little things in life! Things WILL work out!

A little bug in a flower by KatLouhio    Himalayan balsam by KatLouhio