I have been drawing with Manga Studio software since 2007. Along with my a WACOM tablet, it was the first thing I bought when I began to draw again. Both my tablet and the software have been upgraded since then and today, the latest version of Manga Studio has been released. I have been on the Beta Test team for MS5 EX and it has been a great experience working with the folks over at Smith Micro (the company that sells Manga Studio).
Manga Studio 5 EX (MS5 EX) was completely rewritten, so it is not just an upgrade, it is a totally new package. And the results are fantastic. The new interface is really easy to use and you can open and close tool bars as necessary to maximize your space, or simply drag the drawing area out onto your desktop and use it full screen if you want. This is really handy for those of you with dual monitors. As a side note, you can now import all of your MS4 or MS4 EX files! That’s a huge relief as some software developers turn their backs on former versions.
For me, the key features in MS5 EX over the base version of MS5 are two points. One, advanced text editing. Worth the price of admission alone if you do your lettering digitally. You can make adjustments to letter, word and line spacing, mixing of fonts, anti-aliasing, italics and underline options.
And two, a TON more options on nearly every tool. For me, this allows me to fine-tune my pencil, marker and pen tools exactly the way I want them. I’m getting much better strokes in my inking now and that’s thanks to MS5 EX. For example, just in the INK settings alone you can adjust the Opacity, the Combine Mode, Mix ground color and the mixing rate of the sub drawing color! Experimenting with these is giving me all types of ideas on how to add more depth to my inking and coloring. You can also see in the image the amount of options you have for this Pen. Most of the tools have similar increases in the number of options available. Click on each one and start experimenting, you’ll learn something from one of them, I’m sure.
Some artists have asked me what are the differences between MS5 and MS5 EX. I describe it like this. MS5 is your base car. It does a great job and will do most everything you need. MS5 EX is the deluxe version of that car with better tires, better mileage, GPS and nicer seats. Is it worth the $100 upgrade price? For the long haul, absolutely. But, are they essentially the same car? Yes they are. If you’re a hobbyist, then MS5 is just fine, but if you’re a professional of any type, you’ll want to get MS5 EX, it is just going to make your life, and work flow, that much easier.
You can find the pricing for Manga Studio 5 and 5 EX by clicking the box art below. If you have any questions, I’ll do my best to answer them!
Key New Manga Studio 5 EX Features
Manga Studio 5 EX includes all of the features of Manga Studio 5 and the following key extra features:
- Multiple-Page Story Layouts. Manga Studio 5 EX now enables artists to create multi-page stories and projects. Manga Studio 5 EX’s Story layout option is ideal for manga and comic artists to streamline their creative process and easily access their story files in one convenient area. The Story option will allow you to specify the number of pages you want to work on, add and delete pages, change the order of pages, create a 2 page spread from a single file, organize your story through the story management window and finally save your story in a convenient project file.
- Backwards file compatibility with Manga Studio 4 EX and 4 Debut. Manga Studio 5 EX allows you to import all of your Manga Studio 4 EX and 4 Debut files including your .CPG page files and your .CST story (project) files. The Manga Studio 5 update will also allow you to import Manga Studio 4 .CPG page files but not .CST story files.
- Advanced Text Settings: Manga Studio 5 and 5 EX’s text tools have been updated to include adjustments to letter and word spacing, mixing of fonts, anti-aliasing, italics and underline options, line spacing and many other requested features.