Clip Studio Paint 1.10 has just been released. This is the second major update of Clip Studio Paint of the year. The year 2020 seems to be the year of vector tools, as the highlight features of this version seems to be a lot about vectors, just like version 1.9.
Let’s go through some of the finer details of the new features below. A lot of these are answers to questions I had when I was just reading the release notes.
New Icon on Windows/Mac
They changed the icon for the desktop versions. It has rounded corners now.
Did they just straight up get rid of the desktop icon and just recycle the iOS app icon? I really prefer the square one on Windows. But I suppose it’s not a huge deal.
New opt-in anonymous telemetry
When you install the new version and load it up for the first time, you’re greeted with this prompt. You can change this setting in the new Privacy tab under Clip Studio Paint’s settings.
As much as I don’t like the telemetry in Windows and in smartphones, I’m kind of okay with this. I suppose that data isn’t dangerous, even if some nefarious actor were to combine it with other data.
Basic Vector Interoperability
Clip Studio Paint 1.10 can handle SVG paths, and convert them into vector layer strokes.
This means you can copy shapes from Adobe Illustrator and paste them into vector layers in Clip Studio Paint.
You can do this because the latest versions of Adobe Illustrator allows you to copy individual objects as SVG code and paste them as code. Clip Studio Paint now understands SVG code pasted into it and will try to turn it into vector layer strokes.
The same will apply when you copy SVG code from any other source; for example, from other programs like Affinity Designer, or even from plain SVG code text.
Note that this is a destructive process. Clip Studio Paint only supports plain vector strokes. It still does not support vector fills. If you paste a vector shape with a fill, it will be converted into a vector shape with a plain outline. If you paste a vector path with a dotted outline, it will be pasted with a plain outline.
You can find more information on vector compatibility in their updated Clip Studio Paint manual page on importing vectors.
You can also import SVG using File>Import>Vector… to import SVG files. This adds that SVG as a vector layer into your currently open file. If you import multiple SVG files, multiple new vector layers are created; one per file.
You can also do this via drag-and-drop: just drag and drop one or multiple SVG files from your file manager onto the canvas.
We now also have the [Edit]>[Copy vectors as SVG] command. This copies the currently selected vector strokes into the clipboard as SVG, for use in any program that understands it.
This means you can paste vector strokes from Clip Studio Paint into Illustrator or Affinity Designer too.
The regular Copy (CTRL+C) command will still only copy it normally. It will not copy the stroke as SVG into the clipboard.
Apart from using the clipboard, Clip Studio Paint can now also export as SVG files. Using [Export vectors…] exports all the paths of your currently selected vector layer into an SVG file.
Bringing SVG data into Clip Studio Paint is a destructive process. Any features that Clip Studio Paint doesn’t support is discarded. So copying them again and pasting them into another program will only transfer the things that Clip Studio Paint supports.
Despite its current limitations, this new feature means two important things:
Firstly, you can make all sorts of shapes in programs like Illustrator and Affinity Designer, which have the most sophisticated tools for adjusting, aligning and manipulating vector shapes. Then bring them into Clip Studio Paint, for you to trace them with your favorite brushes, or use them as background patterns or guides or whatever else.
Secondly, your vector shapes are no longer trapped inside Clip Studio Paint. If you happened to make some nice-looking shapes in Clip Studio Paint, you can copy or export the strokes as SVG, a standard format that any vector editing program can understand.
Ruler from Vector
There’s also the new [Ruler from vector] command which, unsurprisingly but helpfully, creates a new ruler in the shape of the vector.
You can create a ruler from a vector stroke using Layer>Ruler/Frame>Ruler from vector, or by right-clicking on the layer and choosing Ruler/Frame>Ruler from vector.
If you have a selection, only selected vector strokes will be used to create a ruler. If no strokes are selected, all strokes in that layer are used to create new rulers.
Having this feature rounds out Clip Studio Paint’s new vector interoperability by letting you eventually turn any vector shapes you got from vector editors into rulers that you can draw over using any brush you have. This gives you manual control of the pen pressure along the curve to make it look more naturally drawn.
If the ruler shape is closed, you can create a selection from it by right-clicking on the ruler icon next to the layer name, and choosing [Selection from ruler]. This is helpful for manually making a fill, shading it, or creating a mask or gradient.
Draw Along Ruler
Similar to Photoshop’s “Stroke” menu command, you can use the new [Draw along ruler…] command to draw a solid line along the ruler’s shape.
This only lets you set the line width and the anti-aliasing level. The resulting line is a plain line using a solid round brush using your currently selected color.
You can use this feature on a vector layer, which will allow you to select what it drew and change its properties like brush shape, size and density. Like with any other vector line, you can also use tools like Adjust line width, or Redraw vector line width to give it more variety.
Clip Studio Paint supports a number of curve types: linear, spline, quadratic bezier and cubic bezier.
The existing [Simplify Vector Line] tools now have the ability to change the vector curve type using the [Convert curve] checkbox under the [Simplify] setting.
When you use this tool to paint over some vector strokes, their curve types will be converted. This is useful for when you want to convert the curve to something that’s more controllable, like a spline into a quadratic bezier, or a quadratic bezier into a cubic.
Each stroke has one curve type so this setting can only be enabled when the [Process whole line] checkbox is checked.
After trying it a few times, it seems to do a really good job. Changing the “Simplify” level allows it to use more or less points to approximate the previous curve type.
Some brush engine improvements
They implemented two improvements to the brush engine.
First, “brushes with textures will now draw more smoothly”. When I read this in their notes, I was a bit confused. Did they mean that the textures were going to be smoother? Or did they improve the brush engine’s performance for brushes that use textures?
I made sure I tested the textures in 1.9 and 1.10, and they seem to look the same. I had my doubts that they were going to do this, ’cause it would mean breaking the look of all existing brushes if it wasn’t going to be an additional toggle or separate engine.
So it probably means the brush engine is now faster. I tried using larger textured brushes to try and stress test it. I can’t say I’m sure it improved but it does feel kind of faster.
Second, the [Correct velocity input] option was added to make brushes behave more consistently across devices. This may solve some problems where some brushes were designed to look good on desktop Clip Studio Paint, but look wrong when used on an iPad. this option can be found in the [Sub Tool Detail] window under the [Stroke] tab.
The Sub Tool Detail window can be accessed through Windows>Sub Tool Detail or by clicking the small wrench icon at the bottom right of the [Tool Property] palette.
As usual, this was just a rundown of the things that stood out to me. There were some other performance improvements and bug fixes not mentioned in this article. The official release notes has a more complete list of changes: https://www.clipstudio.net/en/dl/release_note_old/#1100