but i always end up using the default brush or watercolor

Beating Brush Lag in Manga Studio

Booooooooo… what is this, Photoshop?!

Lagging brushes are an occasional problem in any illustration software. Here’s a troubleshooting guide for Manga Studio if your tools are acting like molasses. (Some settings may be different on Windows or if you’re running the Clip Studio Paint branding of the software. For what it’s worth, I’m running Manga Studio 5.0.3 on Mac OS 10.7.5. Yup, I’m behind the times.) 


There are a few options to beat the lag: 

1. Quit Stuff
Bye bye, YouTube. See ya, Skype. Later, Tumblr.

Save your computer’s processor by quitting RAM-hogging apps and tasks while painting. Streaming audio/video will drastically reduce performance, but even leaving browsers open can slow things down, so best to just close it up. Guess that rules out Spotify, but then there’s always ye olde Zune. Gotta love cringing through those high school playlists while working.


2. Change Preferences
Easier than changing your mind, and quicker too.

Check under the hood of Manga Studio’s Preferences for a few speed boosts. Do the following in these sub menus:

Preferences/Tablet/Tablet Settings: Change from 1 to 6 (I believe this option is Mac only).

Preferences/Performance/Undo: Lower the Undo count. Try taking it down 10-15 notches from default. You could also turn up that long-titled setting (“Delay before recognizing new object…”) by 100 ms, but I haven’t figured out what that does exactly…

Preferences/Cursor/Display Position of Reversed Cursor: Make sure to check “No Delay”.

After changing preferences, it’s a good idea to close and reopen Manga Studio.


3. Modify Brush Tool Settings
Your brushes may take it personally, but remember you’re in charge here.

The Tool Settings window is a wealth of options for customizing brushes. Some are more processor-intensive than others. Here are a few of the best ones to modify: (Note: the look and behavior of brushes may be affected. You may want to duplicate and/or export a brush before changing its settings.)

Tool Settings/Anti-Aliasing: Turn down to “Little” or “None”

Tool Settings/Brush Tip: Reduce the number of materials on your brush.

Tool Settings/Stroke/Space: Increase spacing, but not too much. Brushes are essentially a string of material stamps. A low space setting means a smoother brush, but more work for your computer. Picture it frantically scrubbing a rubber stamp across your canvas. On that note, also make sure Continuous Spraying is not on.

Tool Settings/Watercolor Border: If your brush uses this setting, turn on the “Process After Drag” option. This renders the effect after each brush stroke and saves computing power.

Tool Settings/Correction: Turn off (or decrease) Stabilization, Post Correction, and Brush Stroke.

Tool Settings/Starting and Ending: Turn off all this stuff. Pfffft, who needs it, right?

Here’s a speed test after fiddling with some settings:

 Woooooooo! We’re getting faster! Still a bit laggy, which leads to one last tip:


4. Rework The Canvas
Might as well rework my life goals too.

Okay, disclosure: The two gifs in this post were recorded on a 4500x3000 canvas at 300dpi with a size 500 brush to emphasize lag. This third one is recorded on a 1080x720 canvas at 72dpi with a size 100 brush:

Yes! We’re cruising now! 

Canvas sizing and resolution has a big affect on brush performance. It’s a bit of a conundrum. Getting the best image quality means working at a minimum resolution of 300dpi, which can be taxing for brushes on large canvases. So what to do? Just like traditional paintings start with thumbnail sketches, digital work can start on a low-resolution canvas. Here’s the method:

Set up your canvas normally at the full target resolution. But before drawing anything on the canvas, use the handy tool under Edit/Change Image Resolution. Reduce Resolution to 72dpi. Use this smaller canvas for rough sketching, background filling, blocking in large areas of color, etc. Then increase resolution to 144dpi for building up the body of the painting, still keeping it loose. (I’d recommend switching Interpolate to Hard Outline when increasing resolution.) Finally, blow it up to full resolution and get into the nitty gritty of rendering. This is where you’ll do the crisp line work, highlights, details, etc.

The idea here is to work big to small. This will keep away brush lag by using large brushes on small canvases. As the canvas resolution increases, decrease brush size and work smaller, tightening things up in the process. NOTE: Increasing canvas resolution causes pixilation. Don’t worry about it. This can be cleaned up in the final stages of painting.


Hope this guide is helpful! If lagging persists, remember to check drivers and tablet settings as well. If all else fails, Google’s a good friend ;)

-Armin

I’ve compiled a list of my most frequently asked questions over the past few weeks in a new video :D.  One of the questions I get the most is: “What are the cheapest materials I can use that will still produce good results?”

Everyone has their own preferences when working with dolls, whether you use pencils, paints, airbrush, or other methods to create the faceup.  This is just the simplest list I could come up with while also being safe, hassle free, and good beginner quality.

1.  A respirator and gloves ($16.99, $1).

  • These pieces of equipment just can’t be fudged.  Your health is more important that saving a few bucks.  You need a respirator that will effectively filter out fumes, vapors, and particles.  You can get a NIOSH approved respirator for about $16.99 here.  Remember to change your filters as often as needed (indicated in the instructions for your respirator) and follow the instructions for fitting your mask properly.  Using a mask without a good seal on your face = not really using a mask at all. 
  • Gloves can be latex, latex free, plastic, etc, as long as they create a barrier between your skin and the chemicals you’re using.  You can find a small pack of gloves at any dollar store for a buck.

2.  Removing the faceup ($5-$6).

  • The easiest and cleanest way to remove default facepaint is with 100% acetone or Windsor and Newton Brush cleaner.  Don’t fool with ‘nail polish remover with acetone,’ it will only smear and stain your doll.  Both contain pretty potent vapors, so remember to use a respirator and gloves to keep them from irritating your skin and lungs.  If you’re particularly sensitive, goggles can also be used to lessen eye irritation.  A 16oz bottle of acetone will run about $6 and can be found in most any big box or beauty supply store.  A 4oz bottle of Windsor and Newton brush cleaner runs about $5 and can be found in any art supply store.

3.  Priming and sealing your work ($5-$9.98)

  • The absolute cheapest, sort of effective spray for vinyl or resin heads is Testor’s Dullcote.  I personally hate using it.  It doesn’t provide enough tooth and has yellowed before.  However, if you’re strapped for cash and just need a primer/sealer it -will- work and won’t turn your work sticky.  You can grab a can at pretty much any art/hobby store for 5 bucks or less.
  • Mr. Super Clear Flat is my personal favorite and isn’t as expensive to find in the US as it was in previous years.  I get my cans here for $9.98. 
  • Always, always, ALWAYS wear a respirator and gloves and work in a well ventilated environment when using any aerosol spray.  Don’t fudge this and risk damaging your lungs, vocal cords, or worse.  Follow the instructions and heed the warnings on your can.  It’s not worth causing permanent damage to yourself over something that’s supposed to be a fun hobby.

4.  Paints ($11 or less.)

5.  Pastels ($6.99 or less).

  • Royal Langnickel has a good set of artist grade chalk pastels (never use oil pastels) for $6.99, but you can use any set of chalk pastels you like.  The price difference between a cheap set and a more expensive set is the difference between the amount of fillers used to create the pastel stick versus the pigment you get.  Cheaper pastels are typically less pigmented, meaning you have to use more between layers of sealer to get a vibrant color.  Sometimes it’s more cost and time effective to invest in a hand picked set of high quality pastels in the colors you use most frequently.

6.  Watercolor pencils ($17 or less.)

  • There are cheaper pencil sets you -could- use, but you’ll probably waste more pencil that it’s worth.  A good set of Derwent pencils runs about $17 or less, depending on where you purchase it.  Save yourself the frustration of trying to figure out why your pencils won’t draw/aren’t bright enough and just get this set, lol.

7.  The best sharpener ever ($8 or less).

The Alvin Dux inkwell sharpener is my favorite sharpener ever for watercolor pencils.  It creates a nice, sharp point and wastes as little pencil as possible.  You don’t necessarily need this sharpener, but it will save your pencils and your sanity.  Depending on where you get it (online or in most art stores), it will run about 8 bucks.

8.  Brushes ($1-$5)

  • A good set of basic acrylic brushes runs about $5 pretty much everywhere.  These will get the job done, but for more detail and control, you’ll probably want to invest in a few specialized brushes to go along with your workhorses.  I snag the brushes I go through like candy from Jerry’s Artarama’s dollar aisle.  I think most art stores have a cheapo option for brushes that run about a buck a piece.  I use these for blending, mixing, applying pastel, accidentally leaving in acetone overnight, forgetting to remove acrylic paint >_>… etc. 
  • For teensy, tiny details, I like Reaper’s fine line brushes.  They range from kinda small to practically microscopic in terms of line thickness.  They’re a bit more expensive per brush, though.  Just remember that the higher the number (IE: 1/0 versus 30/0), the smaller the brush and the finer the detail you can get with it.  Also keep in mind that some brushes have different shapes (filbert, round, liner, etc) and that effects both the way they paint, as well as how much paint they hold.

9.  Gloss! ($5)

10.  Last, but not least, the best freakin’ erasers ($4)

Soooo… if you bought the cheapest/most effective options from this list, a starter kit for faceups would run about $70-90, depending on where you get your materials and which materials you decide on.

This is by no means a definitive list or the list to end all lists, this is just what I came up with after years of trial and error :).  I hope it helps you find the best options for your repaints :D.

goldencore  asked:

Would you ever think of posting your sketches or your drawing process, like how you do line art or coloring?

Hey, sorry I sat on this one for so long! I wanted to save it so I could give you a proper response, though it was hard to figure out what a proper response would entail.

In the end, this is what I’ve decided to do: I made up a little tutorial/step-by-step for you, but before I get to that I need to get on a soapbox for a bit. Sorry to tumblr mobile users: this post is very long!

In addition, I decided to make a sideblog just for sketches, since I have shied away from posting scans of my sketchbook to this blog recently, but I do want to share that stuff. I’ll give you guys the link to that sketchblog soon! 

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Progress pictures from the Outertale OF pic, for anyone interested

Very Long, so beneath a cut

Someone asked for a tutorial of how I do things, before, so I kept taking screenshots of this one while drawing.

Note that I’m a dentist, not a professional artist, so I’m just talking about what I personally do in my hobby, which I am not academically trained in. 

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