Unlocking Clip Studio Paint's Text Tool!

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simonwl

simonwl

If you start out in Clip Studio Paint you may not be aware of all the capabilities of the Text tool. This is because quite a few of its features are hidden away. So let’s unlock the secrets of the Text tool and learn how to use it more effectively!

 

You can read on for a text version of this tutorial, or watch a video version here:

Unlocking Options with Sub Tool Details

In the bottom right corner of the “Tool property” window, you will find a small wrench icon. This represents the “Sub Tool Detail” option. You can also activate this window by going to “Window > Sub Tool Detail”.

This new window now lists a WHOLE set of additional options for your currently selected tool.

 

You may think “but isn’t it kind of inconvenient to hide away some options in a separate window?” - and that’s true! It’s also why you can toggle all of these options to be displayed or hidden in the Tool Property window. Simply click the gray box to the left of the arrow button on the left side of any option. This will show an eye icon in the box, meaning that this option is now visible in the Tool Property window. Likewise, click the eye icon to hide the option again!

The neat thing is that this applies to every tool - not just the Text tool! The Sub Tool Detail window may just be hiding some additional features you never knew about, so make sure to explore and experiment with it.

However, the focus of this video still is the Text tool! So let’s look at some of the options we now have access to that I find helpful when working with text in Clip Studio Paint!

Text and Text Boxes

Let’s go back to the very basics. If you use the Text tool for the very first time, you will probably use it like this:

 

Click anywhere on the canvas, then start typing. This creates text on the canvas.

You might have noticed the “Drag” drop down menu in the Tool Property window. By default, this should be set to “None”. However, you can select “Create text box” here. Let’s give that a try.

This option means that instead of just clicking to create text, you create a text box.

 

But what is the difference?

 

For one, a text box constrains the space that is available for text.

With a text box, as of Clip Studio Paint 2.0, by default the “wrap text at frame” option will be selected. This means that if text would extend beyond the width of a text box frame, instead a new line of text is created.

 

You can find this option in the Sub Tool Detail > Text window and menu. By selecting it or deselecting it, you can change text to a text box, or vice versa.

 

Another difference is how text vs. a text box can be transformed. Let’s try to make both of these examples more narrow.

While regular text gets squashed and transformed, the text box ensures the text stays the same, except that more line breaks are introduced.

The Basics of Speech Bubbles

If you are using the Text Tool in Clip Studio Paint, there’s a good chance you want to use it to create a comic, manga or webtoon. And in such a case, you might want to have text be present in a speech bubble.

 

Now, you could draw speech bubbles by hand on a separate layer, or you could use Clip Studio Paint’s “Balloon” tool. If you already have a text layer present (whether it’s regular text, or a box), simply select that layer, then select one of the “balloon” sub tools and click and drag to create a speech bubble and link it to that text. Alternatively, use the “balloon pen” tool to still hand-draw the speech bubble, except with the added benefits of using the balloon tool!

 

Keep in mind that you can use the balloon tool multiple times if you want to create a more complex speech bubble shape. You can even use the “tail” tool and add one or multiple tails to the balloon.

If you now use the Move tool, you will find that the speech bubble and text will move together. But what if you’re unhappy with the placement of the text, the size of the bubble, or anything like that?

 

When using the Object tool, you can separately select both the text, bubbles and any tails. You could also use the Text tool, but that will only let you select the text, not the other elements.

 

You can also make adjustments to the line color, fill color, brush size or even brush style of the bubble.

Finally, you can use the “Correct line” tool, and all of its sub tools to further modify an already-drawn balloon. This means you could pinch and drag the line, simplify it, modify individual control points or simply increase or decrease the line width!

 

There are a lot of intricacies to using the Balloon tool, but these are the basics you need to get started with the tool!

Styling and Formatting Text

Let’s get back to the actual text within the speech bubbles!

 

One of the most important features is being able to pick a font and text size. Within a text box, alignment also becomes relevant. In most cases for creating comic dialogue, you’ll probably want this to be “justified”, rather than aligned to the left or right.

 

But there are some more options to adjust the text. You can squash or stretch individual letters with the Sub Tool Detail > Font > Horizontal or Vertical ratio options.

One use case I find helpful is increasing the horizontal ratio if I need a longer dash than is present in the font!

 

The character spacing option allows for the space between individual letters to appear more narrow or wide. In my opinion, this can be an interesting option to let it appear as if a character is speaking quickly or slowly. However, it’s important to still keep in mind readability and not go for values that are too extreme.

Similarly, in the “Line space/alignment” section, you can adjust how much room there is between each line of text.

 

With the style options, you can even easily give your text an italicized or bold effect, even if these options are not included in the font you want to use.

Creating Text Outlines

One option you might have noticed in the “Font” section is “Outline”. This changes your text to only appear as an outline instead of full text. For my usage, I don’t find this option to work particularly well. You only have two options for how thick the outline is, which makes it hard to read. If you want to add an outline to your text, I would suggest the following method:

 

Make sure the text is on its own layer.

 

If the text layer already includes a speech bubble, use the Object tool to only select the text, then use “Edit > Cut” to cut out the text.

 

Next, add a new blank layer, then use “Edit > Paste” to put the text on its own layer.

 

Now, open the Layer Property window.

 

Here, select the “Effect > Border Effect” option.

 

You can choose the border color and thickness.

 

Of course, this applies to the entire text layer. If you only want to highlight one word, which is possible with the “Outline” option, I would still suggest using this method, but using multiple text layers to achieve the effect.

Font Lists

When picking a font, you might notice a drop down menu at the bottom that says “All Fonts”. This menu lets you create and pick from font lists. This can be a time-saver if you, for example, have a lot of fonts and work on multiple different comics that each use a variety of different fonts. This way, you don’t have to scroll and scroll to find the ones you need, but have quick access to the ones you use the most.

To create a font list, click the gear icon next to “All Fonts”. Here, you can click the bottom left corner to create a new font list. Now, simply place a checkmark next to the fonts you want included in the list. You can press OK, and then, you can select your font list from the drop down menu, the next time you open it.

Another useful option in the font list menu is being able to switch how the list of fonts is displayed. It can either be just the name of the font, the name of the font displayed in the font, or your currently selected text displayed in the font.

Ligatures

One more option you might have noticed in the “Font” section of the Sub Tool Detail window is “Ligatures”. By default, this is enabled. This is a new feature that was added in Clip Studio Paint 2.0.

 

What are ligatures? They are combinations of two specific letters. Not every font includes them - but some do. Especially for handwritten fonts, this option can help create more variety in how the text appears, adding to a handwritten feeling. I would definitely recommend enabling this option - but if for some reason you don’t like the look of a ligature in a specific font, now you know how to turn it off!

Transforming Text

Next, I want to look at the “Transformation settings” section, and the “Mode” option. You can choose how text should be transformed when you use the resize handles. By default, this is set to Scale/Rotate. But I find it can be interesting to have the option to “Skew” the text. 

If you want to apply more drastic transformations to your text, like you might be used to from transforming artwork, you’ll find that this is not possible. The Mesh Transformation tool, for example, is simply unavailable when you have a text layer selected.

 

However, you can still make a copy of your current layer, and then raster the copy, then transform that copy. This way, you can create interesting text effects, such as characters appearing dazed or tired, or maybe even just shouting something over a distance.

5 Tips for Creating Text in Clip Studio Paint

There are plenty more features in the Text tool that, however, only have limited uses as far as I’m personally concerned. Regardless, I hope that this overview helped you gain a basic, or maybe even deeper understanding of the tool!

 

Before we end this tutorial, I would like to leave you with ten hot tips for using text. One half of these tips will address the functionality of Clip Studio Paint, and the other half will address the usage of text in comics in general!

Tip 1: Format multiple instances of text at once

Select the Text tool, open the Sub Tool Detail window, then go to the “Operation” section. Here, you can select the “Drag” option. This lets you determine what happens when you click and drag with the text tool. By default, it will create a new text box, but for now, let’s switch it to “Select text”. Then, go into the “Editing Properties” section and select “Apply to Selected text”. Now, when you select text, any changes you make apply to every single text or text box that you have selected!

This can be an easy way to save time if, for example, you decide to switch the font in your comic after already having created a lot of pages!

Tip 2: Create a default formatting for your text

Any time you do not have text selected, and make changes to the text style and formatting, the current options will now apply any time you create new text.

The neat thing about this is that you could even save that specific text option as a Sub Tool and name it accordingly. If you switch between various formatting styles, this could prove a huge time saver.

However, you need to deselect any currently selected text layer for this to work. Else, it will copy the currently selected layer’s style.

Tip 3: Include separate instances of text on a single layer

If you want to create complex speech bubbles with multiple shapes that are connected, you might need to create separate text boxes on a single layer. 

In the Sub Tool Detail window, and the “Edit settings” section, you’ll find the “How to add” option. By default, this will be set to “Detect position”. This means that if you click or click and drag to add text within a speech bubble shape, it will automatically add the text on the same layer for you! If you click outside of the shape, it adds a new text layer. You can also change this option to either always create a new layer, or to always add to selected text.

Keep in mind that if you use the “Merge Layer” feature on text or balloon layers, this will also combine those elements onto the same layer, while still retaining editability.

Tip 4: Use “Search Layers” to find Text layers quickly

If you are working on a big file with lots of layers, this can be a huge time saver: Open the “Window > Search Layer” menu. In the drop down menu here, select “Text/balloon layer”. You will immediately find all available layers of this type listed.

Tip 5: Position text evenly with the Alignment Tools

Open the “Window > Align/distribute” menu. This new feature in Clip Studio Paint 2.0 will help you orderly place text very quickly. For more information about this feature, take a look at my other tutorial, “How and When to Use Align and Distribute”:

5 Tips for Making Text Look Good in Your Comics

Tip 1: Even if you use fonts, hand-letter special text instances

Let’s take our previous example of a character yelling. We managed to make it look pretty cool by transforming the text - but since it’s just the same letter repeated over and over, it looks a bit boring and bland regardless.

In instances such as this, I find it helpful to hand-letter the text. It’s a bit more work, but it will look a lot more interesting.

Tip 2: Don’t overload speech bubbles

As I’ve demonstrated, you can create separate balloon shapes and text boxes per layer, and even connect them with the tail feature. Any time you put longer text into your comic, I would recommend making use of this. Sometimes you do need a lot of text, but breaking it up makes it a lot easier to read - and it also helps create mental pauses in the dialogue, as people will read it. This will make the dialogue seem a lot more natural.

Tip 3: Create your own font

This will help give your comic a unique aesthetic. There are many ways to create a font - but personally, I used Calligraphr and found it to be a very helpful and easy-to-use service!

Tip 4: Try to keep a unified text size

The advantage of sticking to a single text size for all of your dialogue in a comic is that it means you can use smaller or larger text sizes to convey louder or quieter dialogue. Of course, small variations might not be noticed, and can help you find room for text in a pinch. 

Ideally you shouldn’t have to do that in the first place, which brings me to my final tip:

Tip 5: When creating a comic page, start by adding all text first

I find it really helpful to first add all the text from a comic page’s script before ever sketching the comic. This helps me see how much space I have available for the art. I personally dislike when I read a comic and see a panel where it seems like the speech bubble was an afterthought, as it seems to cover up quite a lot of the artwork, or the composition appears cramped.

By placing text FIRST, I get an idea of whether I might have to lower the amount of dialogue in a given page, and I know exactly how much space I have available for the art - and can plan compositions around the text, rather than have to fit the text into the compositions.

Thank You!

And with that, we’ve reached the end! Thank you for reading or watching - and as always, if you have any questions, comment below and I will try to answer them!

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