(This article has been updated to include an extra dual brush sample, and fix some typos and phrasing for clarity.)
We’re getting some pretty exciting new features in this update.
Judging from people’s reactions, they’re way more pumped about this than they were with that vector stuff. We’re actually getting memes this time.
As useful, welcome, and important as the vector stuff were, they were also kind of situationally niche; sort of a save-your-skin-in-when-you’re-in-a-bind type stuff, rather than this-affects-me-everyday-so-I-feel-it stuff.
Anyway, on to the new features!
Android and Chromebook Support
Google announced in November that Clip Studio Paint would be coming out for Android and Chromebooks this December and now it’s here! You can now get the Clip Studio Paint app in the Google Play store.
Clip Studio Paint, the painting and drawing tool chosen by professional creators, is now available as a fully-featured app for Android & Chromebook! By signing up for your first monthly usage plan with your Android tablet or Chromebook, you can get up to three months free to use on your favorite device (Android/Galaxy/Chromebook/Windows/macOS/iPad/iPhone) whenever inspiration strikes you. What’s more, when signing in on an Android smartphone, you get an hour free every day.
Don’t call them speedpaints. Speed painting is when an artist actually paints something really quickly. Timelapse is when you play back something really fast compared to how it actually happened, so a slow process looks faster and the viewer can see things unfolding clearly.
– annoyed artists
Up until now, if you saw someone share a really-fast video of a digital painting that doesn’t have wild convulsions from zooming, flipping or menus and UI, you could safely assume the artist was using Procreate on iPad and getting 1 million likes in the process. Well, assume no longer! The hordes of Clip Studio Paint users now have it too!
You can find out more about how to use it in the official Clip Studio Paint TIPS on Timelapses. But in this article, I’ll go through some specifics, anticipated questions— questions I certainly had— for special cases or differences you’d have with recording a timelapse some other way.
Basics first though.
How do I record a timelapse?
When you make a New canvas (with File>New…), there’s now a [Record timelapse] checkbox right at the very bottom of the [New] dialog box.
Alternatively, if you are opening an existing file, you can enable recording on it by choosing [File]>[Timelapse]>[Record timelapse]. If this menu item is already checked, that means it’s already recording.
The timelapse data is saved with the .clip file. When you enable it, it will warn you that this data will add to the file’s size. You can see estimates of the effects to file size on this page.
To export, use File>Timelapse>Export timelapse. You can choose the length of the timelapse (15 seconds minimum, or less if you actually spent a really short time on your canvas). Not changing the settings except for Length will probably work fine for most uses. But we’ll talk about the details below in more detail if you’re curious.
How do I use it? What does it spit out?
To enable timelapse recording, you either check the checkbox at the bottom of the New dialog window, or you enable it later through File>Timelapse>Record timelapse. This option will be checked if recording was already enabled.
The timelapse controls are pretty minimal. You either have it enabled or disabled. All the options can be found in the export window. You can find this in File>Timelapse>Export timelapse…
It exports a 30 fps mp4 file encoded using AVC1 (H.264 without a start code) which should play nicely with most social media platforms and devices, even old Apple devices. The maximum dimensions are 1280 x 1280, probably to keep recording and export performance reasonable. But that’s plenty resolution for something you just want to post on Instagram or Twitter. It won’t look too bad on desktop Youtube. The exported timelapse seems to prioritize quality and not a target bitrate, so from file to file, I’ve seen it vary from 600kbps to 6000kbps. You can always reencode the video with another program like Handbrake if you need something more specific. But, again, the original export quality will be good and is designed to have maximum compatibility for posting and sharing.
Currently though, there seems to be no way to control how it pauses on the final painting, and it doesn’t pause at all, so we can’t see much of the final painting in the video. This seems like an oversight on their part and we’ll probably get an update on this either immediately or very soon.
The Length option lets you change how long the duration of the timelapse is, speeding it up to fit a given span of time. The shortest option is either 15 seconds, or less if you only spent a really short time on that canvas.
Changing the Aspect ratio to anything other than [Original] adds black vertical or horizontal bars (pillarboxing or letterboxing) to fit the ratio you give it. This is for times like when you don’t want the art to be super tall in the YouTube layout or something. But changing it from [Original] is usually not necessary.
What if I scale my image? Or crop it? or change canvas dimensions? Don’t worry about scaling or cropping or changing your canvas size. The recording will continue to work.
- The exported timelapse always follows the “final” dimensions of your canvas (the dimensions of your canvas when you exported it).
- If your image size started out small, the recorded frames will just be scaled up to fit.
- If it was a different aspect ratio, black bars will be added where it differs from the final canvas.
What about undos? It records all the marks you make, including undos. So you’ll see your recording backtrack changes just as you did while working on it.
If I leave a document open for a few hours, will the timelapse have a part where nothing is happening? Similar to Procreate, pauses aren’t recorded. The timelapse is based on the changes you make on the canvas. When nothing is happening, the extra time is not recorded.
Will recording a timelapse slow down Clip Studio Paint if it’s enabled? From testing it a little, there seems to be no noticeable difference. But I’ve heard people have their laptops and older computers struggle a bit more with it turned on. Your experience probably varies based on your setup.
Do I have to draw and paint everything in one sitting? No, you can save your file and close Clip Studio Paint and continue it later and it will resume recording. The recording is saved with the .clip file so closing the file and turning off your computer is not a problem. Just remember to save your file (Protip: this a good idea even if you don’t have timelapse in mind).
The recording is deleted when you disable it. You can disable the recording by unchecking File>Timelapse>Record timelapse. This will discard the recording data so the next time you save the file, it won’t have the parts you recorded previously. A warning dialog box appears to let you confirm the action.
Sometimes you may prefer to disable it for sharing/collaboration purposes. So you’ll have to save it normally, before disabling it to delete the data, then using Save As to save a separate copy without the recording.
What if I save to PSD? The recording is saved as part of the .clip file format. It will not be saved when you switch to the PSD format.
Can I use it for old or existing documents? Yes, you can start recording a timelapse using File>Timelapse>Record timelapse. It will start recording from when you enable the timelapse. But it will start there, not from when the canvas was empty. It can’t record things that already happened.
Similar to existing documents, if you use Create New from Clipboard, timelapse recording will default to disabled. So if you use that feature to make a new file and want a timelapse, you have to remember to enable it through File>Timelapse>Record timelapse.
How much does it affect my file size? We can make some assumptions about how it works. It probably saves a limited size for the limited 1280 recording so it might not matter how large your canvas is beyond 1280. But the longer you work on a piece, the more frames it will save. Based on the example given by the Clip Studio Paint TIPS page, the recording can certainly be many times larger than just the canvas data itself.
You could probably make a super rough estimate of 100MB every 3 hours you work on it.
The pace at which the file size increases as you paint more seems to be affected a lot by your layer setup. Particularly, use of certain folder groupings seems to make it go nuts. I’ve personally painted something (1500×2000 px) for a few hours and ended up with a 900MB file; and 30MB once the timelapse data was deleted. I think that may be a high-end estimate, but I also think that depends on how you work.
My current speculation on how it works is that it saves pixel changes. Larger brushes means it saves more things. Adjustment layers means it changes the whole canvas. And certain layer groupings and clipping mask arrangements probably has a sideeffect of having to record a snapshot of the whole canvas too. But I still suspect that it’s resolution-independent beyond 1280.
If you’re worried about file size, you can always export the timelapse, stop the recording to discard the data, then save the file without the recording. Here is data from a sample file on the Clip Studio Tips site:
- Image resolution: 1000 x 1000px (72 dpi) - Approximate drawing time: 3.5 hours - Number of layers: 25 - Final size: 127.87MB - Size after deleting the time-lapse record: 9.47MB - Size of exported video 15 seconds: 3.42MB 30 seconds: 4.57MB 60 seconds: 6.93MB All: 12.95MB (2 minutes 11 seconds)
So should I leave the Record timelapse checkbox on? It’s not huge, but it’s also not nothing, especially when you have to start sharing the file for collaboration purposes, or store large numbers of them in the cloud. If you plan to use it at all, it’s probably still a good idea to keep it enabled; you don’t want to get into a situation where you wanted a timelapse but forgot to check the box.
But if you worry about drive space, it will also be useful to set aside time for reviewing large clip files on your drive and clearing their timelapse data when you don’t need them anymore.
ABR is the file format for Adobe Photoshop brushes. You’ll actually find that a lot of big brush makers use the TPL (Tool Preset) format instead of ABR.
Okay, I need to you calm down for a bit. We’ve all seen the memes by now.
Yes, this is great if you have a basic brush shape. If that’s all your brush is, then this can work pretty well. Sometimes, the brush can look a little different. But it can be pretty alright. Better than nothing.
But I implore you give this a quick thought: what this feature is doing is opening a file meant for Photoshop and translating it into something a Clip Studio Paint brush can understand so that Clip Studio Paint can do it its way.
This means that if Clip Studio Paint does it a different way than Photoshop, the results can look a little different. And if Clip Studio Paint doesn’t have that brush feature at all, it just won’t do that part at all. So the brush can end up looking really different.
So we’re given this sensible warning:
“Note: Results may differ from Photoshop when using imported Photoshop brushes. We are continuously working on improving brush functionality, including support for dual brushes.”
Thankfully, this update also came with a number of new features that Photoshop has. (I’ll be talking about them below). They are by no means complete, but on the flip side, it means the Clip Studio Paint brush engine now has many new features.
Many brushes from major Photoshop brush makers use Dual Brush so the odds are currently worse that those look their best or even any good. It also depends on how they’re using Dual Brush. But you can be sure they’re using it for a good reason.
Some of them don’t use Dual Brush though. Those are worth a try at least.
The point isn’t that one engine is better than the other. It’s that you can’t expect a brush that was carefully tuned for one engine to work its best in a totally different one.
Clip Studio Paint and Photoshop have very different brush engines. Even if they have equivalent features, they’re not implemented in the same way. You can rely on the most basic brushes that just paint a brush shape, and maybe some texture modes, to work fine. But once you add specific texture settings and randomization, you know it will look different. It could be a little different and some adjustment could make it work. It could also be completely unusable.
The best case, it’s just some pattern that works fine. You just import it. It works the way you need it to.
The decent usual case, the brush doesn’t look the same. You could adjust the settings a little. It might take some tweaking, but you might find settings that get you pretty close. It may still be usable.
The worst usual case, it just looks really bad. There’s nothing you can do. The brush design is just too specific to Photoshop.
From an “I want to buy brushes” perspective, the takeaway is that you should never buy Photoshop brushes with the intent to use them in Clip Studio Paint. From what I’ve heard, this is true for other apps that have Photoshop brush import too, like Procreate.
If you already own those brushes, or they’re free and you want to try to see if it works in Clip Studio Paint, there’s obviously no harm trying. But you can expect similar results to the ones above. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, and usually it’s in between.
Full disclosure: I design and sell Clip Studio Paint brushes so it benefits me if you supported me by buying my carefully-designed Clip Studio Paint brushes instead of using Photoshop ones. But the truth is that 1. I don’t like the results I’m seeing from importing Photoshop brushes trying to research for this article, so I wouldn’t even use this for myself except for maybe some spray ones and 2. I wouldn’t want you to buy my brushes either if you were just going to use them in another program that didn’t fully support them and made them look and work nothing like I intended them to.
As a brush designer and an artist, I care about the quality of brushes regardless of who makes them. I love some of the brushes I used in Photoshop back in the day, and I’d fully recommend specific Photoshop brushes in Clip Studio Paint if they looked good in Clip Studio Paint.
There’s a common assumption that Photoshop brush import will just work, but the results speak for themselves. Some of them make the jump well. A lot of them don’t, and really don’t look better than actual Clip Studio Paint brushes.
Get excited though. In the next little bit, we’ll start to see new Clip Studio Paint brushes make use of the new brush features and the brush engine it to its new limits.
WEBTOON Quality-of-Life features
Tired of having to manually chop up and export really tall scrolling-comic format? Getting lost in your super tall canvases while working on them? Clip Studio Paint has you covered.
The WEBTOON format is now treated as a first-class citizen with its very own category in the “New” dialog.
They added export options to comply with the file requirements of webtoons.com.
They also added a preview mode to check what your comic looks like in a scrolling-comic format on small and tall screens of a specific aspect ratio. You can enable this under [View]>[On-screen area (webtoon)]. You can also change the aspect ratio of the preview.
You can watch the official Clip Studio Paint teaser video of it here: https://youtu.be/BWYhnQszQWo
Brand Spanking New Brush Settings
I swear some of these were pulled straight from my Clip Studio Paint wishlist even before I published it.
Let me preface this section by saying that while I was writing this section, I was slapping my head and screaming into a pillow from excitement with every item I tested.
The complete controls for brush settings can be found in the [Sub Tool Detail] window. You can access this by clicking on the wrench icon on the bottom right of the [Tool property] palette. It can also be opened by going to the main menu [Window] > [Sub Tool Detail].
Color Jitter is a whole new brush setting/sub tool detail tab. It absorbed what was previously just “Blend with sub color”, and added all sorts of other controls.
The controls under Change brush tip color affects the colors within a stroke. It will randomize by default but you can set it to respond to pen pressure, velocity and tilt just like other similar brush parameters.
The controls under Randomize per stroke changes the color every time you lift the pen and start a new stroke. These are useful to set at low settings to achieve pleasant low-contrast variations to your strokes.
These controls will still not affect brush tips that have a colored stamp though. That hasn’t changed.
These new controls for hue, saturation, and luminosity options have also been added to the [Starting and ending] parameters.
These starting and ending parameters don’t do anything by themselves. They only fade out the effect of “Color Jitter” controls if you have them enabled. One sample use of these is to remove the randomize and pressure response effects from the controls, then just have the variation purely be from Starting and Ending.
Sadly, the new Color Jitter properties haven’t been carried over to curve/figure tools. So we can’t use them for nice custom lines with nice gradients or randomized colors built into them.
Flip horizontal/Flip vertical
Brush tip Flip horizontal and Flip vertical options were added. These are most obviously useful for spray-type brushes, where you can now let the shape be flipped to achieve more randomness. There are probably other creative uses for it too.
Texture Brightness and Contrast
The Texture tab for brushes now has Brightness and Contrast settings.
Changing these is equivalent to editing the texture and changing its brightness and contrast.
For brush makers like me, this is a huge game-changer because it means I don’t have to keep editing and re-saving and re-assigning the texture. This makes brush-making a lot more fun and, more importantly, less time-consuming to come out with higher quality brushes.
For brush users, this means if a texture is too much or too little for your current use, you can just adjust the sliders according to your needs at the moment.
Five new Texture Modes
These are similar to how layer blend modes of the same names work, except instead of two layers, they blend the texture with the density of the brush tip.
“Height” is a particularly cryptic one. It’s hard to find what it means with some searching online, but you will find some writers saying that they’re confused about it as well. And here’s me adding to the pile.
This is mostly parity/compatibility work for the Photoshop brush engine features as it has had these texture modes for maybe over a decade now.
This feature is more for brush makers than for regular users but it might be fun to play around with if you’re curious.
You can bet I’ll be applying these new features to those brushes really soon. (By the way, once you get a brush set, future updates are free).
I’ll be updating this article with any relevant information as I play around with the new features over the next little bit.
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/#1105