How to Make Manga Style Background From Scenery Photographs




Hello everyone, I’m Norpiova. Welcome to my Clip Studio Paint Tutorial.

This is the first part of Background Art with Photograph tutorial series.

And today I will show you How to Make Manga Style Background From Scenery Photographs.

So let’s get into it!

I also made video version for this tutorial if you prefer audio-visual format.

I use Clip Studio Paint EX version 1.13. So this tutorial should be fine to follow if you use version 2.


The unique part about manga style background is in the use of screentones. Different type of screentones create an illussion of shading.

You can mix and match the amount and size of the screentone’s element to find the right shading. Screentone’s element that I mention is the shape of the screentone pattern such as dots, lines, square and cross.


So for the first step, import your scenery photograph into Clip Studio Paint.

I took this photograph from my Android by the way.

Let’s start the fun part. To turn this image into lines and tones, right click on the layer of the photograph, select Convert to Lines and Tones.

The top part is the setting for line extraction, while the bottom part is for the tones. Don’t forget to check the preview box so you can see the changes in real time.

Quick Note: If you don’t want to read my explanation for all of these parameters you can just copy my settings and skip to the next step.

Starting from line settings, make sure to uncheck the Posterize first option.

Next, check the Black fill box. This option will generate silhouette based on the dark area of the image. It’s also automatically create lines from the edges of the object as long as it’s dark enough. And the higher the value, the bigger the area that will be generated into black silhouette. Personally I like the results between 40 up to 80.


Then for Line width, it’s to set the width of the generated lines. You can use any number but I prefer the value from 3 to 5.

For the method on how Clip Studio Paint generates silhouette and lines, choose Process of edge detection 2 because it’s easier to set and use.

There are 2 parameters under this option. First, Edge height, it allows you to adjust the height of the edge and detect it as an outline. The smaller the value, the weaker the edge, making even small changes detected as a line. If you’re confused with what I just said, that’s fine. To make it easier, always put 0 as the value for this parameter.

The second one, Line curvature, it adjusts the continuity of the detected outline based on variation in thickness.The larger the value, the more likely it is to have short segments. Again, if you’re confused, that’s fine. To make it easier, always put 10 as the value of this parameter.

Now we go to tone settings, make sure to check the Tone work option. Then check the Posterization option. With these options turned on, the image will be posterized into screentones.

To adjust the intensity of the screentones, you can use the slider below it. The amount of sliders represents how many level of posterization that will be generated. So 3 sliders means we will get 3 level of posterization, or 3 level of shading, or 3 screentone types. You can add more slider by clicking on this bar, and you can delete the slider by dragging it down until it disappears. You can also reposition the slider, to adjust how much area that will be affected by the value from each slider in posterization process.


Personally I let the position of the sliders stay the same, and play around the value of the sliders instead. Usually I prefer the left slider to be around 60 and 80, the middle slider stays at 50 and the right slider between 10 and 30.

Then for Type option, it’s to set the shape or pattern of the screentone. There are tons of options here. Normally screentone in manga style background has circle patterns and sometimes line patterns.

Unfortunately we cannot see the difference in live preview mode. We can only see it once we generate it. However, we can change the shape pattern later on, so don’t worry about it.


Next, the Frequency option, is to specify the number of screentone lines per inch. You can input any number here because we can adjust the result later on.

Lastly, the Angle option, is to set the angle of the screentone pattern. Usually manga artist use 45 degrees angle screentone because the diagonal effect looks more dynamic for the background.

Let’s click OK now.


We get a folder with 5 layers in it. First one is the black silhouette, second one is the dark grey screentone (but usually this is covered by the silhouette layer), the third one is mid grey screentone, the fourth one is the light grey screentone, and the last one is white layer.


We can adjust the individual shape pattern’s number (frequency) and size (density) to get a better result. By default we get very small screentone pattern where the individual shape is hard to notice.

I want the individual shape, or in this case the dots, looks more visible so I need to decrease the frequency (numbers) of the screentone then enlarge the size of the screentone by increasing its density. Basically I want less and bigger dots just like the final result on thumbnail.

QUICK NOTES: The right and best values vary from one to another photo based on its resolution! This is just an example on how to get a certain look for the screentone by adjusting the Frequency and Density!

Let’s start with the light grey screentone or Tone 1 first, I turn down the frequency (numbers) to just 6 and the density (size) to 10.

Next, the mid grey screentone or Tone 2, I turn down the frequency to 6 and the density to 35.

For the dark grey screentone or Tone 3, let me hide the black silhouette first, so the setting is 6 for the frequency and 70 for the density.

With these numbers the screentone appears brighter than before. And now you can see each individual dots as well.

And just like what I said earlier, you can also change the angle and the shape of the screentone pattern here.

If you’re satisfied with the result you can stop here, because now you’ve succesfully turned the photographs into manga style background! YAY!

But personally I want to make some more adjustments which are tracing the main object and cleaning up the screentone around it.


The reason I include tracing in my process is because I want to make sure the objects that become the main focus is looking more solid and stand out. Since this is my own photograph I’m not ashamed of doing this. This is just my own preference.


So I add a new vector layer inside the folder and trace these objects with pen and line tool.


After tracing the main objects I need to clean up some screentones area to make my background looks cleaner and clearer.

So next to the screentone layer there’s a mask layer, to do a clean up you can use pen tool to add more screentone and use hard eraser or pen tool in substractive mode to delete the screentone.


The last step is adding the characters onto the background.


And this is the final result.

OK, I think that’s all. I hope this tutorial is useful. See you in the part 2 where we will learn How to Make Anime-ish Style Background From Scenery Photographs.



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