How to Use Rulers Part 1 - Linear Ruler Tool




Hello! My name is Liz Staley and I’m a long-time user of Clip Studio Paint (I started using the program back when it was known as Manga Studio 4!). I was a beta-tester on the Manga Studio 5 program and for Clip Studio Paint, and I have written three books and several video courses about the program. Many of you probably know my name from those books, in fact. I write weekly posts on and on CSP Tips, so be sure to come back every week to learn more Clip Studio Tips and Tricks from me!


When I first learned about this software, it was the Perspective Ruler tool that made me realize how awesome it was and influenced my decision to start using it. And I still think that the built-in ruler tools are one of the coolest features in CSP. Covering all the ruler tools in one tutorial would result in a huge amount of text, so I’m going to break this up into parts! So welcome to part one of the how to use the Clip Studio Ruler Tools!


In this article we will cover the following topics:

Linear Ruler Tool Settings

Creating and Using a Linear Ruler


Let’s go ahead and get started!


Linear Ruler Tool Settings

The linear ruler is one of the basic rulers available in Clip Studio Paint and it’s very straightforward to use. Think of it like having a physical ruler, but in your digital workspace!


To find the Ruler subtools, click on the Ruler icon in the toolbar (shown by the arrow in the following image). We will be using the Linear Ruler sub tool in this tutorial, which is shown in the red rectangle.


Before we make a ruler with the Linear Ruler tool, let’s take a quick look at the Tool Property window and talk about a few of the options we have for this tool.

The “Create at editing layer” checkbox controls whether the ruler will be made at the current active layer or if there will be a new layer created when the ruler is made. If you want the ruler to be made on the current active layer, leave this box checked.


We’ll talk about the Scale and Step of angle options both in a moment, but right now I want to address the Curve option. You don’t have to create just straight lines with the linear ruler tool! There are two options for creating curves. Just keep in mind, however, that the Linear Ruler only allows a start point and end point, so at most you can make one curve between two points. If you need to create a ruler that has multiple curves (or multiple straight lines - i.e. a zig zag) you’ll want to use the Curve ruler instead.


I mainly use the linear ruler tool to create straight lines, but as said above you can make small single curve rulers as well. Each of the icons to the right of the Curve option controls a different option for making the lines. The first one will create a straight line between two points. The middle icon allows the creation of a curve between two points using the Quadratic Bezier system. The third icon creates a curve between two points using the Cubic Bezier system. Out of these curve control options, I prefer the Cubic Bezier to the Quadratic just because I find the way you make the curve to be more intuitive and easier to control, but that’s all about personal preference!


The next option we need to cover is the Scale option. This is a relatively new (and great!) addition to the ruler tool in CSP. Let’s check the box next to the Scale option and then take a look at the dropdown menu in the following image.


As you can probably figure out, this option allows us to put measurement markings along the digital ruler! These measurements will be different depending on which option you pick from the dropdown menu. In order of the list in the image above, the options are pixels, centimeters, millimeters, inches, points, Q, Equal Division, and Golden Ratio.


Most of those options are self-explanatory, of course, but some of them aren’t. So let’s explain them real quick!


Equal Division will divide the ruler equally according to the number set in the Number of Divisions option, which can be shown by clicking the + to the left of the Scale checkbox. This option is perfect if you are trying to divide up an area into equal pieces.


Golden Ratio will divide the length of the ruler according to the Golden Ratio, which is a math term that is also known as the “divine proportion”. In artwork, using the Golden Ratio helps create a layout that is aesthetically pleasing and balanced.


The Q setting divides the ruler length according to Q numbers. I’m going to be honest here, I looked up what a Q number is because I’d never heard of it before, and it seems like it’s too complicated for my brain! It seems quite heavily math related. Most artists are probably never going to use this option, I’d think, but it’s there if you need it!


Below is a selection of Scale options applied to a length of straight ruler.


The last option in the Linear Ruler settings is the Step of Angle. This option allows us to constrict the angle of the ruler to the value that we set it to. For instance, in the animation below the Step of angle has been set to 45.

This constricts the ruler to being straight across, straight up and down, or at a 45 degree angle. This is very handy when you need to be precise!


Now that we know about the ruler options, how do we create a ruler?


Creating and Using a Linear Ruler

To create a straight ruler, click at the point where you want the ruler to begin. Keep the mouse button pressed down while moving to where you want the ruler to end! Once you reach where you want the ruler to end, release the mouse button.


Once you’ve made a ruler, what do you do with it? Well, you can use nearly any of CSP’s drawing tools to follow along your ruler to make a nice neat line.


Choose the tool you want to use to make your mark, then make sure the icon indicated by the arrow below is activated in the Command Bar (the line of icons above where your canvas is!). This is the “Snap to Ruler” option and will make the selected tool follow along an active ruler when it’s close enough. Without this option being turned on, your ruler will just be a pretty purple line across your canvas!


With the Snap To Ruler option on, we can now use almost any of CSP’s tools to draw along the ruler. The image below shows the rulers above with different tools used along each one.


From top to bottom the tools used were: Pencil, Pen (Flyland Designs “Expressive Brush”), Watercolor brush, Butterfly Ivy Decoration Tool, “Spray” Airbrush tool.



To create a ruler with the Quadratic Bezier option turned on is a pretty simple process. First, select the Quadratic Bezier option from the Curve setting in the Tool Property window that we discussed in the previous section. Then click at the starting point of the ruler and drag to the ending point. After releasing the mouse at the ending point, there’s one more step! Move the mouse over the line and move it around to adjust the curve. In the image below the left side of the curve is the starting point, the right side is the end point, and the two straight lines coming up and in the middle of the curve is the “handle” that controls the curve between the two points.


Once you have your curve to your liking, click again to complete the ruler creation process. To edit the points or the curve of your ruler you can use the Operation - Object subtool. Click on the ruler and drag the points or the curve handle around to make adjustments. You can do this on any ruler, by the way!


The other way to create a curved “Linear Ruler” is with the Cubic Bezier option. This option is my preferred method of curve creation over the Quadratic Bezier because I’m more used to the way the “handles” work on the curves and because I find it a little bit more flexible.


Begin the same way as all the other ruler creations - click at the starting point and then, while holding down the mouse button, drag to the ending point. Release the mouse button and you will be able to drag the curve up just like in the Quadratic Bezier option. However, in Cubic Bezier mode when you click again to set the curve the triangular “handle” shown in the screenshot above will split into two handles! You can now drag this secondary handle out and around to further adjust the curve, as shown below.


The curve “handle” from the starting point is headed out to the right, but the one from the ending point is stretched to the left and down, resulting in a line between the two points that is kinda like a squashed backwards “S”.


Again, if you want to further adjust your ruler, select the Operation - Object subtool. Use this tool to click on the ruler and then you can adjust the starting and ending points or change the curve.



In this article we learned about one of the simplest but most useful of the CSP Ruler tools, the Linear Ruler. With this information you should be able to create and edit simple rulers that will help you not only make beautiful, hand-inked lines on your digital work but also can help you measure and make accurate divisions in your compositions as well! I hope you’ll come back in future articles to learn about the other Ruler subtools as well!


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