Clip Studio Paint 1.9.5 – The Flat Interface and iOS Files Update

Here’s a rundown of what’s new in the updated Clip Studio Paint 1.9.5 (released 5 December 2019).

The most exciting stuff:

  • The user interface skin has been updated: it loses the gradients from the icons, titlebars and palette handles. White stroke previews for dark mode.
  • On iOS, File management has now caught up with the latest iOS 12 (and 13) scheme. Internal files will be visible to the Files app, and you can now save and open files in any folder.
  • Many other improvements.

New Interface

If you use the darkest setting, the first thing you’ll notice is that dark mode is now even darker. (I found the darkest setting waaay too dark so I bumped it up a little. The screenshot is maximum darkness though)

You can also see that they’ve made a lot of things look flatter by removing the gradients from the icons, title bars and palette handles and various other places. Clip Studio Paint released in 2013, roughly when Windows 7 and Windows 8 were much more common and the interface hasn’t changed drastically since then. Now that we’re in the age of Windows 10, and macOS, and iPadOS, Clip Studio Paint catching up a little to fit in with the operating systems if 2019 looks quite good.

I personally prefer user interface skins that are cleaner and aesthetically pleasing. I think there was value in making buttons look interactable. I hope they add measures for clarity if things start looking confusing and undiscoverable. But so far as an experienced user, it’s looking okay though. I think it’s inconvenient that the ruler icons aren’t blue anymore, and that they lack some glancing definition when there’s a whole bunch of them. We’ll see if it’s something we can get used to or there’s really something wrong.

I think the Quick access icons are now a bit less recognizable with the new flat design.

My hope is that this more modern-styled interface does a better job at convincing people to use this program. Despite all its powerful and thoughtful features, the weird-styled icons and windows can be a bit of a turn off. And as Clip Studio Paint users, we can only benefit from having more fellow users.

This was probably also born out of the need to make the iOS version look like an actual iOS app rather than a Windows program. Speaking of iOS…

New Cursors

The [dot] option for the tool cursor is now a big black dot with a white outline. This looks a bit clearer especially as screen pixel densities get higher.

Tool cursor set to [Brush size and Dot]

They also changed a lot of the tool-specific cursors to match the look of the new flat interface.

Better File Management and Stuff in iOS

This update does a lot to improve the interoperability of the iOS version of Clip Studio Paint. Before iOS 12, Apple kept its file system pretty opaque and locked down on a per-app basis. The only way you could get files in and out of an app was through the Share interface. That varied from slightly annoying to incredibly tedious depending on the app. It meant jumping through a few too many dialog boxes to export things.

These are still problems for some apps. But as of 1.9.5, as long as you’re using iOS 12 or 13:

The Clip studio Paint app now exposes its storage to the Files app as the “Clip Studio” folder.

You can now open and save files through the Files app.

All your previous .clip files saved before this version will now be visible in the On My iPad\Clip Studio folder, which is visible in the Files app.

Clip (.clip and .lip) files now also have preview thumbnails as file icons in the Files app. Quick Look now also works, which lets you preview the file without needing to open the Clip Studio Paint app itself.

File>[Open] now opens a “Files app” dialog box, which also now shows thumbnail previews on clip files.

Screenshot of the Open dialog from the official release notes.

File>[Save As] now lets you choose a filename and format, then opens a “Files app” dialog box to let you choose which folder to save it to. By default, you can save it in the now-accessible “On My iPad\Clip Studio” folder. But you can also choose to save it to online folders like in Google Drive or Dropbox if you have those (see caveats below.).

File>[Create new from photo library] makes a new canvas based on an image you choose from the photo library.

File>[Quick Share] lets you bypass having to export your canvas into a file and share that file. Instead, you can share directly without extra steps. This also includes sharing videos directly if your canvas is animated.

The entire canvas is flattened at full resolution as a PNG file, then the iOS share sheet for PNGs is shown. If the Timeline is enabled, the file is exported as mp4. It’s never been easier to Airdrop a weird meme drawing to someone. What a time to be alive.

Online File System Caveats

There are some caveats, because of how other apps are imperfectly integrated with the iOS file system too.

When you open a file in an online service app folder like in Dropbox or OneDrive, Clip Studio Paint disables the Save button. You have to use [Save as] to choose to upload it to the folder again. And it doesn’t remember the save location so choosing [Save as] again forces you to find that folder again.

iOS 13/iPad OS is also required specifically for opening multi-page projects in Clip Studio Paint EX. Sometimes, some permissions need to be granted. They opened a support article for it here:

New Localization

They changed a bunch of the terms here and there. I think it’s an improvement, but it might confuse some people who are looking at older tutorials.

For example:

In 1.9.4
In 1.9.5

“Brush stroke” is now “Taper”. And “Able to snap” is now “Enable snapping”.

“Border of Watercolor” is now “Watercolor Edge”

Other stuff

License Registration. Every now and then, new license purchases have problems with serial registration to get Clip Studio Paint running. They seem to have switched to using your Clip Studio account as the reliable and convenient way to manage license stuff. This is only for new users. This doesn’t affect existing users.

Touch improvements. They made the Object tool’s transform handles easier to use with touch. Some options were also improved in cases where you enabled using touch for drawing tools.

Press F to pay respects to the floppy disk [Save] icon.

Bonus: Clip Studio Paint for iPhone!

This totally caught me off guard. But in light of the touch improvements in this update, it makes sense. Not that I have an iPhone to try it on. But they made a special interface just to support it on a tiny phone screen.

I can’t imagine the experience is that great, especially without a stylus. But they did add Tapered Pen, Tapered Pencil and Tapered Watercolor tools so it at least looks a bit good despite not having pressure sensitivity.

Pricing works like this: You get one hour of use per day without needing to pay. If you want to remove the time limit, you can subscribe for $1/month. This seems like a separate app/separate subscription from the iPad version.

Summary, Official Release Notes and Download Link

Dark, flat interface preview from the Official Release Notes. Art is by Tsuaii

I think this has been mostly an iOS-centric update. That the interface has been updated for the desktop version is nice. But I think it’s telling either of their current priorities, or their development/update scheme— maybe they’re trying to isolate iOS feature development from general feature development.

But I agree that the look and saving interface needed to be changed so people can take it a little more seriously on iPad.

You can find the official release notes and download link on the page linked below. There are some things described there in detail that I didn’t mention.

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