Image: Background for OhayoCon
“Clip Studio Paint eliminates the tedious parts of drawing, freeing me to dive straight into the interesting parts of the creative process.”
Artist Tan Hui Tian discusses how she uses Clip Studio Paint at Collateral Damage Studios to create concept art.
How long have you been in this profession?
I have been in the industry for 7 years, previously at an indie game studio and currently at CDS.
What are your most important accomplishments?
Before I entered the illustration industry, my art was usually a solipsistic endeavor.
Some of my proudest accomplishments were not technical (such as learning how to animate game sprites on the job) but rather more ineffable. They include art direction and drawing the majority of the concept and production art for games such as Aether Captains, or having the opportunity to not only create the key visual for the 10th year anniversary of the Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention (STGCC) but also to be a panelist. It was satisfying to see my artwork everywhere at a convention that I had been faithfully attending as a comic fan for years.
What kind of projects do you create concept art for?
At Collateral Damage Studios, I create concept art for board games and visual novels predominantly. Currently, I am creating concepts for a visual novel, Megalomaniacs of Tomorrow.
Environment art for Megalomaniacs of Tomorrow
Environment art for Megalomaniacs of Tomorrow
Character concepts for Megalomaniacs of Tomorrow
What’s your history with Clip Studio Paint?
When I was an amateur artist, I had worked with the software to create comics back when it was still named ComicStudio. The price point was a lot more affordable than some alternatives. The software has improved tremendously since then, but still retains its price advantage.
Intel Core i5 CPU with 8GB RAM, Wacom Intuos Pro.
What is your workflow?
My workflow is dependent on the project.
For an environmental concept, after I collect references, I draft out some thumbnails with pencil and paper.
Overview of environment in Google SketchUp
Sketch layer in Clip Studio Paint
I then do the color flats in Clip Studio Paint, and slowly work on rendering.
Afterward, the file is exported as a Photoshop PSD with layers, which allows me to painlessly transition to Photoshop to add effects such as lens flare or post effects.
Colors in Clip Studio Paint
What are your favorite features in Clip Studio Paint?
The brush engine in Clip Studio Paint is one of the most sophisticated among similar software. It is more naturalistic than Photoshop and has brush settings like the stabilization level, which is immensely helpful for anyone with motor skills poorer than a surgeon’s.
Before and After turning on Brush Stabilization
I also love the coloring features in Clip Studio Paint which allow you to refer to the line layer while you work on a separate color layer, automatically bucketfill color inside the borders when there are gaps in your lines, and easily create gradients.
Close gap function of Paint Bucket tool
What Clip Studio Paint features allow you to distinguish your concept art?
It’s the attention to details that makes creating artworks with Clip Studio Paint unique.
For instance, I can adjust vector lines simply by ‘pinching’ them, or change their line widths with a few clicks.
I can create brushes that are highly personalized. In a studio environment, where speed is a necessity, that sort of precise control and efficiency makes concept art done in Clip Studio Paint more polished and allows time for personal flair.
Personal work with an isometric style
Did you experience any productivity gains in using Clip Studio Paint?
Yes, because of the flexibility of Clip Studio Paint, I can work more efficiently.
How do you feel about Clip Studio Paint?
I have a sense of pride regarding Clip Studio Paint, because I have used it back when there were only spot colors in the software, and the introduction of fullcolor support was considered a huge leap. It has gone a long way since then.
Besides the software improvements, there are now a lot of resources and tutorials for Clip Studio Paint, and a community surrounding it. It’s more than just a powerful tool.
Would you recommend Clip Studio Paint to artists within this industry?
Yes, I’d highly recommend it.
The pricing is a steal, and the software is really powerful. For beginning artists, the community is invaluable.
Even for artists who have been using other software for years, Clip Studio Paint offers a lot of value that is different from other software.
Do you create your concept art using Clip Studio Paint only?
Depending on the brief, I might also use Google SketchUp and Photoshop in the process.
Why did you choose to combine these products?
Each tool has its own advantages. Clip Studio Paint has better line control and tools for illustrators.
I use Google SketchUp to for quick environment or prop prototyping, and Photoshop for editing and post-processing.
Do you also use other tools such as Photoshop or InDesign for production? What synergetic effects do you gain from incorporating CSP together with other tools in your workflow?
Yes, depending on the project, I use other software such as InDesign, or Photoshop as well.
There are many ways in which Clip Studio Paint synergizes with other software.
You can import and export Photoshop PSDs without losing layer effects.
And if you needed to ‘vectorize’ your linework in Photoshop for a client who wants an artwork enlarged urgently, it’s just a click away in Clip Studio Paint.
Or suppose your client wants some comics in the middle of their rulebook.
InDesign does not support comic creation, but you can simply import comic frames from Clip Studio Paint should you need to send your client or your book layout artist an InDesign file. Having Clip Studio Paint in my toolbox is useful, even when I least expect it.
About the studio
Originating from a humble doujin circle based in Singapore, Collateral Damage Studios (CDS) has grown to be a professional illustration studio within the industry. They work with local Singaporean talents to provide outstanding visuals for brands and creators all around the world. Some of their most prominent works include the development of Internet Explorer’s Inori Aizawa, key visuals for Anime Expo and New York Comic Con and the anniversary artwork for virtual idols, IA and ONE.
About Tan Hui Tian
Tan is a Senior Illustrator at CDS. Graduating from a graphic design background, her works emphasizes a strong design sense. She is the illustrator for the key visual for Anime Fest @ New York Comic Con’s debut. Outside of work, she enjoys drawing artworks that are a curious mix of whimsical and macabre.