Manga Studio: Advanced Paneling Techniques

By Rio

In the previous tutorial, Making Panels the Easy Way, we learned how to create panels using the whole page. But what if you want to make panels that "bleed" to the edge of the page? What about making irregularly shaped panels? Here, I'll teach you how to do that in Manga Studio.

To make panels that go to the edge, all you have to do is hit the Object Selector on your Tools Palette. Once you select that, go back to your panels and click on the panels to start shifting the lines. Your shifted lines will turn red and will become blue once you set it by "dropping" it where you want it. Click and drag on the middle of the panel line to move it left or right, up or down. Select the corners if you want to make arrow-like panels or bloated squares.

To expand your panel in another way, first select a whole panel by pressing Ctrl and then the panel. This will make the lines on the panel turn red. Next, go to the menu bar and hit Ruler > Panel Ruler > Expand. This will bring a small window with the following options shown at left. Below, I have some examples of how your panel will turn out with certain selections. Play around with the options to get it right. If you don't like the result, you can always hit the undo button or you can further customize it by using the first method I mentioned.

You can also merge panels together by selecting two panels by holding down Ctrl and selecting the two panels you want to merge. Both will turn red. At that, go to Ruler > Panel Ruler > and Merge which will automatically merge the two together. Hit undo if you change your mind. Click outside of the selected panels to deselect them.

If you're not fussy with your panels, you can quickly place panels by selecting the whole page or a single panel, then go to Ruler > Panel Ruler and Split by Interval. A window pops up with several options. Hit the ones you want and it'll automatically cut your panels as you can see below. You can also change the thickness of your panel by selecting it and go to Ruler > Panel Ruler > Change Settings. The top portion allows you to change the thickness of the panel frame while the lower half allows you to add another line next to your panel.

Last but not least, there is one last step you need to do before you're done with your panels. You have to ink them so they show up in the final page. To do this, right click on the layer called "Panel Ruler Layer" under the Ruler heading. Select Rasterize Panel Layer. This will bring up a big window with lots of options. Type in a name for your panel layer. Choose Vector or Raster (I left mine at raster). Choose if you want to convert each panel to their own layer or make one layer for all the panels. One layer will make things easier to keep track of but individual layers allows you to go back and fiddle with the panel some more like moving it around. Finally, select how thick the margin the panels will have and hit OK. This will set Manga Studio to generating the new layer or layers and it will appear on the top header under Image.

Individual layers will show each panel along with a thin border line around it. To help keep track of the layers, the panel turns red if that is the currently selected panel layer. Also, if you look closely, you'll see that the lines are now blueish-black. That means it's been inked.

If you're really set on making panels from scratch, there is a freeform option where you manually draw, align and ink your panel. You can create oddly shaped panels and even circular ones. To get started click on the Panel Maker icon on the Tool Palette. This will bring up your tool option which will show a bunch of shapes. Choose one of the shapes and drag and drop on the page. If you look in your layers window, you'll notice a new layer and your panel selected (it's highlighted in red).

Keep setting panels till you're satisfied. If you dislike something, you can erase the whole layer by dragging the layer and dropping it into the garbage can icon above it. You'll notice that some shapes will automatically have borders while others do not. For those without borders, all you'll see is a thin blue line. Double click on that layer. It will bring you to a closeup of the layer. Hit the Magic Wand in the Tools Palette and select the panel. Marching ants will appear. You'll need to right-click, choose Select Outline, and hit OK. This will create a border along the panel unless you choose something else. If you want to create a black panel, you can hit Fill Selection instead which will turn the whole panel black.

Now that you have a border around the panel, hit the X on the upper right-hand corner - NOT the red X which will close out Manga Studio! This will take you back to the whole page. Keep doing these steps till you have all the panels inked. If you want to merge them to create one panel layer, right click on the panel layer and hit Merge Down. Before you do that, make sure the layer beneath it is a panel layer and not one of your drawings!

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