Want to layer colour tones on your image in Manga Studio 5 EX ? So do I, but I’m not having much luck.

I am 99% sure that was this much easier to do in the previous version of Manga Studio EX. Perhaps I’m imagining it, but it’s a little hard to check as I don’t have that version on my machine anymore. I tend to use tones more as a way of creating texture than tonal values, so I was a bit frustrated when I found I couldn’t seem to do it with any reliable results in MS5 EX.

Manga Studio 5 EX layer Palette

As you can see in the screenshot above, there does seem to be a colour attached to the layer but the only colour that will actually show up is that rather vivid blue above it. Conversely, if I rasterise the layer (something I did with the rain background layer) any colour I apply sticks perfectly. So it seems you cannot apply colour to a vector tone layer; which is a shame.

With the image below, I wanted to create something from start to finish in Manga Studio 5 without using either Sketchbook Pro or Photoshop other than to save out as a JPG. I’ll expand on my desire to avoid Sketchbook Pro in another post.

Odd Kid

So, unwilling to rasterise my layer I needed to find another way. As it turned out; layer blend modes were my friend. Ordinarily I wouldn’t use these for colour but with this image I was more interested in texture than tone so using layer blend modes ultimately proved to be the best way forward. Each colour reacts to the tone in a different, albeit predictable, way.

I assigned the “soft light” value to the screen tone layer and tweaked the opacity until I had something I liked. What that left me with was a constant size/spread of tone, which I then knocked back a bit with a soft, tapered eraser. At this point I will say, if you are using MS 5 and you don’t have Frenden’s Manga Studio 5 brushes you really are missing out. Go and get them.

That’s about as good as I get things working in MS 5 as a complete package for the moment, which may sound a little negative but it’s actually the opposite. I’m impressed that I can sketch, ink and colour all in the one application.

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