I have a chance to test out the new Manga Studio 5 Ex before Smith Micro launch it at SDCC this year. In Japan this is known as CLIP STUDIO from CELSYS, the same people behind Comics Studio/ Manga Studio. The layout of Manga Studio 5 pretty similar to ver4. I get used to it pretty quick. The new watercolor and oil paint brush are the major new function.
I import a line drawing from MS4Ex to MS5Ex and try out the new paint brush. The brush engine is much better then the old version. No more brush lagging when using bigger brush size. This drawing I working on is 11 x 8.5 @ 600dpi. Using brush range between 50 to 100 without problem. The paint brushes mimic the real brush quite well. It picks up the color already on paper and blend in the new color just like traditional watercolor brush did. The new layer blend mode is similar to Photoshop, multiply, screen, overlay, color burn and color dodge, etc are all included.
The new brush and pen tool add in a lot of option, but I find myself pretty much stick with the old one I like.
Huge selection on the pattern brush, I have fun to try it all out. I still need to test out the color mixing tool. The text and balloon now are group together. The new balloon function are pretty easy to use as well.
This version is backward file compatible with both page files and story files from ver4. I try import my old story file. It takes some time for it to convert to the new version. (I think around 30sec to 1 min to convert one page, depend on how many layers you have in a file.) The new layout looks nice and clean.
Material include a lot of new color pattern. The 3D model function gets a huge update as well. I think both normal and EX version are include some preset 3D model in the material. Every 3D model are adjustable, just drag and drop a 3D model to the canvas, then you can change the camera angle and object size. For all the 3D drawing doll, you can also change any part of the body size, every joints are movable . It comes in handy for abnormal proportion character reference.
Beside the normal 3D doll, it also comes with couples 3D anime characters with different outfit, hairstyle and even facial expression. I think the 3D control can be improve. Though I have hard time to pose the figure, I laugh so hard when it makes weird poses.
This MS5Ex did not come with 2DLT and 3DLT function in MS4Ex. I'm bit disappointed because these are useful tool for drawing comic. I checked CELSYS website and seem this two functions will update later this year. Hopefully the US version will the same update as well. Overall I like this new version especially with the new painting function.