Features for Coloring




S'up fellas. I’m going to share with you some features in Clip Studio Paint that are quite handy when coloring your art. Let’s go.


Color Set palette

The Color Set Palette.

With this feature you can store frequently used colors for later use in other projects. Additionally, you can create a few individual color sets with their own different colors and color set names for better organization.


To display the Color Set Palette, go to the Window menu then click Color Set. The Color Set Palette will appear displaying the colors of the currently selected Color Set. There are some premade color sets that are there already for you to use. However, to create your own click the ‘wrench icon’ to bring up the ‘Edit Color Sets’ dialogue box. In this box, you can do many things to your color set including renaming and creating a new set. Select the ‘Create New Set’ option, then type the name you would like to give it and select ‘OK’.


Now that you have your empty color set, it's time to populate it. To add a color, click on the position in the color set where you want the color to go, then select the color you want from the color wheel or open up the image with the color and select it using the eyedropper tool. Then click the ‘Add Color’ button at the bottom of the palette. The color will be added.


Note, that adding a color simply adds the color in the position that is selected in the color set. The color that was previously there is simply pushed to the right. As you can see, the blue color is selected, then I added an orange color. Therefore two colors are added, which results in the two empty positions being pushed to a new row at the bottom of the Color set.


The 'Delete Color' button also works in the same way. Select the box with color you want to delete, then click the Delete Color button and it will be deleted. This even works for empty areas in the color set. You will notice that the number of boxes in the color set has been decreased.


To replace a color you have to be careful. You have to select the color you want to replace in the color set first, then choose the color you want to replace it with. Now, you can click the replace color option.


If you choose the color you want to replace it with first, then click the color you want to replace, the selected color will change back to the color you want to replace because you clicked on it last. This is also the problem when the space is occupied by a transparent color/ is blank.


I always forget this, so a little trick I use is to select the color I want in that space first, then I select the transparent color that is at the bottom of the Tool Palette so I can’t accidentally change it. The transparent color is at the bottom of the Tool palette below the foreground and background colors. Then, I click the position in the color set where I want this color, click back on the color I want from the Tool Palette, then finally click the Add Color option.


So, just remember to click the position in the color set first, the color you want to place in the Color Set, weather adding, deleting or replacing.


Therefore, these two options will increase or decrease the number of boxes in your color set while replacing a color results in no changes.


If you don’t already have a reference image to pick your colors from, you can use photos from the internet and pick them from it or search up color palettes online.



To remove the Color Palette, go to the Window menu and un-click the Color Set option.

Sub View Window

The Subview Window.


A problem when using the previously mentioned Color Set Palette is that you have to mentally remember what colors go where. Though you could position them in a way for easy remembering, for example, the first row is for the hair, the second row is for the skin and so on. This still can be frustrating, and I should know.


Additionally, from my experience, I’ve realised the Color Set Palette is more suitable for cet shading where you use only flat colors, not gradients.


Luckily, the Sub View Window can solve all these problems. To display the Sub View Window, go to the Window menu, then click on Sub View.


Now that the Sub View Palette is up, it’s time to get our reference images to show in it. At the buttom of the Sub View Palette there are a few options to get your images, mainly ‘import’, ‘import from photo library’ and ‘import image from camera’.

I will click on ‘Import from photo libray’ to get my images since they are in the photo library of my device.


Another cool thing about this Sub vIew Window is that you can add more than one images into it. Simply import them, then use the left and right arrows on the Command Bar to navigate to another image.


The Command Bar, which is below the reference image in the palette, has many useful functions that you can apply to the Sub View image. They are pretty intuitive and you can just hover over them with the cursor to see their name which pretty much explains their function.


The main features that you will most likely be using are the Zoom in/out slider, the to the next and to the previous image arrows and the move tool.


Now, if you are on a touch screen device you can go ahead and click the the ‘switch to eyedropper automatically’ button. This will allow your cursor to automatically switch from what ever tool you were using before to the eyedropper tool when you hover over image in the Sub View Palette. Because you are on a touch screen device you can simply use your fingers to move the image and to even zoom in or out.


But if you don’t have a touch creen device you might want to leave this option unchecked when you want to move the sub view image.


Now that you have your images in the Sub View Window and you now know how to use it, you will find that it is way more convenient to use for paintings with gradients as you will not only easily pick the many colors that are there but know where the color should go from its position on the reference image. For example, you can pick the right shade of color from the nose, cheeks and forehead of the reference image to use on your painting. As you all know, these areas and many other areas of the body have different shades of skintone from other parts.


Additionally, the Sub View Window is easier to use than constantly switching between other canvases with your reference images of a layer with your refernce image on it that hides parts of your painting that you are working on.


To delete the sub view images, navigate to the images you want to delete using the arrows then click the delete button from the command bar.

How convenient.


To remove the Sub View Palette, follow the same steps used to display it.


Lasso Fill Tool

Now that you have your colors from your Color Set or ready to pick from your Sub View Image, you want to apply them to your painting fast and easily. We all know to set the line art layer as the reference layer then set the Fill Tool to refer to the reference layer then fill in our colors on another layer.


But what if we are not working with line art?


Though you could use the Pen Tool and paint the colors in, but, you will find that the Lasso Fill Tool is more suitable for the job that doesn’t require line art.


To select the Lasso Fill Tool, go the Tool Palette then select the Figure tool. From the Sub Tool Palette, under the Direct Draw category, select the Lasso Fill sub tool.


In the Lasso Tool Property Palette you can further adjust certain parameters of the tool like the Opacity, Antialiasing and the Stabilization.


Now, easily apply your selected colors to where you want them on the canvas. No need to deselect the selection afterwards or remember to hit the Fill option, they are all done automatically once you are done enclosing the area you want the color to be applied. Just remember to fully enclose the area or the software will enclose it for you.


The lasso fill is nice for quickly placing down blocks of colors in their correct place that you can later go over with the Airbrush or a Blend tool to smoothly mix the colors together.


Lock Transparent Pixels

Let’s say you have a sketch, not an outline, of the items that make up your illustration. And You want to color them. What you can do is block in the different items of your illustration with color on their own layer. You can use the Pen Tool and refer only to the editing layer Fill Tool or the Lasso Fill Tool. Or any other method that best suits you.


When using the Refer Only To Editing Layer Fill Tool, make sure your shapes are enclosed.

Now that you have the shapes of the items that make up your illustration on their respective layers, you want to Lock Transparent Pixels on all these layers.


To do this, simply click on the layer from the Layer Palette then click the Lock Transparent Pixels from the command bar above. This is the icon with a padlock in front of a checkered box.


Or, go to the Layer Menu > Layer Settings > Lock Transparent Pixels.

To do this to multiple lyers at once, select all the layers by holding down the Shift key from the keyboard then click each layer . When you’ve selected them all, release the Shift key then lock transparent pixels on them using any of the two methods.


Now, you can color all the items of your painting without worrying about going outside and ruining the shape.


Clip to layer below

Another helpful feature for coloring is the use of the Clip To Layer Below feature. It is similar to the Lock Transparent Pixels feature where you can apply color to something without going outside of it.


This feature paired with other features can make your coloring process faster and more efficient.


But first, what do you apply this Clip To Layer Below feature to and how does it work?

To clip one layer to another layer below, go to the Layer menu > Layer Settings > Clip to layer below.

Or, by clicking the Clip to Layer below icon from the command bar at the top of the Layer Palette.


I know you’ve probably heard of the term ‘Greyscale’ before. This is where you paint using only greys, including black and white.

To achieve this in Clip Studio Paint, you simply create a Greyscale layer. To do this, go to the Layer menu, then go to New Layer > New Raster Layer. When the New Raster Layer Dialogue box comes up, set the Expression Color to Grey.


But since I already have the items of my composition filled out in a solid color on their layers, and with transparent pixels locked on them from before, I will simply convert these layers to greyscale.

To do this, click on the layer in the Layer Palette, then go to the Layer menu > Convert Layer. When the Convert Layer Dialogue box comes up, change the Expression Color to Grey.

Now you will only be able to paint with greys no matter what color you select. This is helpful as you can focus on rendering the surfaces of items of your composition and focus on the colors later. This is similar to how you add shadows, where you focus on the colors now then add the shadows later instead of doing them all at once while you paint.


After you’ve blocked in the shapes of the items in your composition then Lock Transparent Pixels on them as we discussed earlier. Now, render the texture of the surfaces of the items in your composition on their respective grayscale layers.


A tip is to always start with pure grey then add darker and lighter greys depending on the highlights and shdows. To get pure grey go to the Color Wheel and move all the way to the left of the box. Then, slide to the middle so that the value at S in the HSV numbers below is zero.

Another way is to display the Color Slider by going to Window menu> Color Slider. Then go to the Color Slider palette and change the Slider type to HSV. Then slide the S (saturation) to 50.

You can save this pure grey in your color set.

Now get rendering!

After all that, now it's time to color them. This is where the clipping feature comes in handy.


Above a Grayscale Layer, create a new layer. Then clip this layer to the layer below by clicking the Clip to Layer below icon from the command bar at the top of the Layer Palette.



Now, set the Blending Mode of this layer to ‘Overlay’ or any other blending mode that you see fit for what you want to achieve.

Now, you can apply color without worrying about going outside or changing the color based on how much light is reflecting off the surface and how it is reflected as that is already done via the greyscale.


If you want to make changes to the colors on the grayscale layer or the overlay layer, you will need to select the Eyedropper Tool for the Current Layer, that way you pick the color from the selected layer and not the resulted color from the greyscale mixed with the Blending Mode layer. So you can make edits without hiding the Blending Mode layer, or having to set the Blending Mode back to Normal.


This is useful for things where the color changes. For example, if you want to color realistic rainbow hair, you could use this method.


Instead of clipping a layer whose blending mode to set to overlay or something else in order to color the grayscale image below, you could instead clip a Gradient Map Layer to it.


To create a Gradient Map Layer, go to the Layer Menu then select New Correction Layer > Gradient Map.


When the Gradient Map Dialogue Box comes up, ensure that the ‘Specified Color’ option is checked.

Then, add the colors that you want at the different levels of gray by selecting a node or create one by clicking on an area below the gradient bar then selecting the color from the box beside the specified color.


Additionally, you can use the arrows to move between nodes and also the delete icon to delete a node. Then press ‘OK’ to finalise everything.


Now, clip this gradient map layer to the grayscale layer below if it isnt already.

This method is good for applying color quickly and is quickly adjustable by simply readjusting the gradient. To do this, just double click on the gradient map in the Layer Palette and you can further adjust it.


Final Words

This is the final image that I drew, for those of you who are curious of the finished product.


The steps:


The body, top hair and back hair were all blocked in using the Lasso Fill tool onto their separate layers. Then the Transparent Pixels were locked on each layer.


For the layer with the body, it was converted to a Greyscale layer, then shaded using greys. Then color was added using a gradient map. Afterwards, the greyscale layer was converted back to a normal color layer then the Gradient Map was merged down onto it. It was further rendered using various brushes and the Sub View images.


The hair was quickly colored using the Color Set containing the colors and the Lasso Fill Tool. The Lasso Fill Tool was appropriate for this task as the colors could be placed anywhere.

Thank you for taking an interest in my tutorial and I hope you found these tips helpful and insightful.


All artworks shown in this tutorial are mine. If you want to see more, you can check out my socials:



Deviant art: stelamoris

Twitter: stelamoris1

Medibang/ Art Street: stelamoris



Also, if you are not too busy, you could please check out my current project. It is a comic on Webtoon. The link is below.





Thank you and have fun painting.



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