Shortcut Key Set-up [Vector focused for Keyboard]


Certain methods of working in vector layers are tedious and time-consuming if you do not set up certain short-cut keys. Adding in shortcut keys as well as familiarizing yourself with the presets if you do not add your own can be a massive time-saver as well as cut down on frustration when you need to constantly switch tools to make adjustments

For drawing specifically with the Curve tool, you will likely see a need to constantly switch between the object [selection] tool and the curve tool itself, which can become very frustrating to work with if you need to reach over to your tool selection bar every time to change tools. You may see a need to do so with the Continuous Curve tool (quadratic Bezier) as well as the (cubic) Bezier Curve tool as well -- at least, if you aren't familiar enough with them to perfectly draw your line close enough to exactly how you want them in one go.

Because of this, I would strongly recommend familiarizing yourself with the shortcut keys for those particular tools to make transitioning between them easier. Alternatively, you can set new shortcut keys for those tools so they are easy to reach and you know exactly where they are

In this tutorial, I will go over how to remap your shortcut keys, some general rules of thumb for doing so, as well as why or why you don't actually want to remap your keys

Why Remap Shortcut Keys [or why not]?

Let's be honest here, the default shortcut settings are a mess. That isn't to say that Clip Studio Paint does a bad job with setting default shortcuts -- any program with many tools does a 'bad' job of setting shortcuts because the only way to properly set default shortcuts is to do it 'poorly' (as in, in a way that isn't efficient to use but is easy to learn where the shortcut placements are)

The reason for this is: These programs want their shortcut keys to be easily found on your keyboard. And in order to do that, they are going to choose whichever key is most intuitive for locating where the tool's shortcut is. So we end up with [P] Pen, [P] Pencil, [B] Brush, Air [B] Brush, [E] Eraser, [O] Object, [T] Text, [M] Marquee, [G] Gradient. These are very similar, if not the same, shortcuts to what Adobe Photoshop uses

As you can see from the selected shortcuts, the keys are scattered all over the keyboard. Which, if you are someone who values efficiency, are not skilled at 'playing the piano' (with how you need to dance your fingers across, you might as well be), and doesn't want to be looking at the keyboard for which key to press -- this is not a desirable configuration to use

A much more efficient configuration is to condense all of the shortcut keys to be easily accessible with one hand without needing to shift its position much. However, in order to figure out what type of a configuration is going to be comfortable... takes a very long time -- but the trade-off is tremendous in regards to speeding up your workflow

Aside from the issue of taking a long time to create a desirable shortcut key layout as well as needing some more time to become familiar with the changes made, the other issues that arise when you reconfigure your shortcut keys are:
(1) - Other people may have trouble if they borrow your program for some quick edits
(2) - You may find working on someone else's program a hassle because your shortcut keys won't be in the same place as their shortcut keys

I haven't checked if there is a way to import/export program settings (I'd imagine there should be something somewhere), but that would more or less resolve most of these issues

General Rules of Thumb for Shortcut Keys Set-up

There are a few tricks and general ideas that you will want to keep in mind when setting shortcut keys

The first first thing you want to do is figure out where you are going to place your hand for accessing the shortcut keys -- you will decide everything else afterward. My hand placement is the left hand in a fairly standard typing position

We can start setting up after you decide the location where you will centralize your shortcut keys

First piece of advice: If it feels right, it is probably right -- if it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't right.

You will probably have some sense of which key you want to press for certain tools. Chances are, you would most likely hit those keys for those tools, so set those keys as your shortcuts. For example, I want to hit the "F" key when I want a fairly basic drawing tool, as well as for when I want to select something, so I set both of those shortcuts to that key -- and it has worked quite well for me

On the other hand, some keys feel awkward for certain tools. For me, it would feel awkward if I were to try to "select" something using [Z]

Second piece of advice: Limit the number of tools per key to 3 tools -- no more than that, or you will need to hit that key a few too many times to get your specific tool

You don't necessarily need to follow this particular piece of advice, but needing to cycle through a few more tools than necessary will cut into the time it takes to pull out the tool you want. There is a point where reaching over and manually selecting the tool off the bar is faster than cycling through all of the tools you set on one single key -- if you reach that point, you've added too many

For tools that are less frequently used, if they can be accessed by "select previous/next subtool" from an easily reached shortcut key - I wouldn't worry about setting them (eg. I access the Ellipse tool by hitting the shortcut for Rectangle then "select next subtool" shortcut). Otherwise, set the tool to a key that is a bit more difficult to reach or switch to that tool manually

Last piece of advice: If you don't use it, don't set it

Something you will notice when you take a look at my set-up at the end this tutorial is that I did not set a shortcut for the Continuous Curve tool. This is because I don't actually use the Continuous Curve tool -- instead, I use the simple Curve tool, then switch to the Object tool to add more points and move them to the appropriate location. I find it more intuitive than 'guessing' where to place the next point on the Continuous Curve for the Quadratic Bezier setting, and I don't use Spline curves when working in Vector

If there comes a point where you will actually need to use a particular tool more frequently -- consider setting that tool then. Figuring out exactly where to set your keys is a very long and evolving process, and it can take some time to become familiar with where everything gets moved

Recommended Tools for Vector

To modify your Shortcut Settings, go into [File > Shortcut Settings], then check under the following categories for the following tools to set -- there may be more tools that you will want to set aside from just these

Main Menu:
- (optional) View > Rotate/Invert > Reset Rotation/Inversion
- (optional) View > Rotate > Flip Horizontal
- (optional) View > Rotate/Invert > Rotate Right
- (optional) View > Rotate/Invert > Rotate Left
- [Default- remap] View > Zoom In
- [Default- remap] View > Zoom Out

-[Recommended] Brush Size palette > Select smaller preset than current
-[Recommended] Brush Size palette > Select larger present than current
-[Recommended] Sub tool palette > Switch to previous sub tool
-[Recommended] Sub tool palette > Switch to next sub tool

- Correct Line > Connect Vector Line
- (optional) Correct Line > Correct Line Width
- Correct Line > Redraw Vector Line Width
- Figure > Curve
- (optional) Figure > Continuous Curve
- Figure > Bezier Curve
- Operation > Operation > Object

Make sure you hit "OK" after setting your keys or they will not register. Additionally, hitting "Reset" by itself will not overwrite your shortcut settings until you hit "OK"

My Current Shortcut Set-up

As a former computer gamer who would remap quickslot configurations on just about every game I played... the following is my set-up by keys (this set-up is for a person who draws with their right hand with a drawing tablet and accesses the shortcuts with their left on an American-English keyboard):

[F] - Object, G-Pen
[G] - Hand (generally unused), Curve, Rectangle
[S/D] - Zoom In/Out
[W/E] - Brush Size
[A] - Connect Vector Line, Redraw Vector Line Width
[V/B] - Select Previous/Next Tool
[X/C] - Rotate Left/Right
(I have a few other tools set to other keys, eg. Blend on Z, Fill on R, Switch to Transparent Color on T, Flip Horizontal on H, etc.)

These are the current settings I use -- which I move around periodically when I feel like it isn't working quite as well as it should. Something I am considering adding is a shortcut for Text and a shortcut for the Bezier Curve tool, though I can easily access the Bezier Curve from "Select Previous/Next Tool" so it isn't necessary

If you feel like you messed up all of your shortcut settings -- don't worry, you can hit "Reset" then "OK" to restore your shortcuts to the program default


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