Creating Two Page Spreads in EX
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Hello! My name is Liz Staley and I’m a long-time user of Clip Studio Paint (I started using the program back when it was known as Manga Studio 4!). I was a beta-tester on the Manga Studio 5 program and for Clip Studio Paint, and I have written three books and several video courses about the program. Many of you probably know my name from those books, in fact. I write weekly posts on Graphixly.com and on CSP Tips, so be sure to come back every week to learn more Clip Studio Tips and Tricks from me!
Two-page spreads are a great way to add drama to a comic story. Whether you’re showing off a fantastic castle in the clouds or showcasing a big action set-piece, they add some “WOW!” to your story. With Clip Studio Paint EX, it is very easy to create either one two-page spread in a comic story or to set up a book file where each set of pages is a two-page set, allowing you to work on two pages at one time.
In this article we will cover the following topics:
Setting up a two-page spread
Creating art in a two-page spread
Let’s go ahead and get started!
Setting up a Two-page Spread
Creating two-page spreads is very easy when using Clip Studio Paint EX, thanks to the ability to make files with multiple pages. You can make two-page spreads in CSP Pro, but it’s much harder because you will have to figure out the dimensions of your combined pages and set up the inner margins (the “gutter”, which is where the pages of a book are glued into the book’s spine in the middle) on your own.
It is possible to create two-page spreads from only certain pages in your file or to make every set of left and right pages into spreads through the entire file. We’ll cover both ways of doing this, but first let’s start making our new file. Go to File - New, hold down Ctrl+N, or click the “New” icon in the Command Bar to bring up the New file settings.
Use your favorite preset or enter in the dimensions you want to create your pages at. Below is a screenshot of the settings I’ll be using for this article.
Once your page dimensions are entered, scroll down in the New file settings to find the Multiple pages options. These are located in the red rectangle in the screenshot below.
If not already, click the box to the left of the Multiple pages option to turn this setting on. You will need to set the number of pages. To create a two-page spread you must have AT LEAST 4 pages in your file. This is because a two-page spread can only be made of a left-facing and right-facing page, and the first and last page of a book are single pages. You also must use the “Page by Page” setting for View instead of the WEBTOON option.
If you want every set of facing pages to be a two-page spread, you should check the option marked by the white arrow in the screenshot above. But what if you’ve already created your file and you just want to combine a certain set of pages? No problem! It’s very easy to do!
Let’s take a look at the four-page file I just created in the screenshot below. Notice that pages 2 and 3 are shown together on the same “tile”, this is because they are pages that will be facing one another when the pages are put into a book. However, they are two individual pages at the moment.
Let’s combine pages 2 and 3 into a single spread. To do this, click on one of the pages you want to combine into a spread to select it. Then either go to Story - Combine pages or right-click on the selected page and select “Combine pages” from the pop-up menu, shown below.
You will then see the following message telling you which two pages will be combined and that this operation cannot be undone. (Note that this really means you can’t hit Undo and immediately split the pages again, you will have to use the “Split pages” option that is listed underneath the Combine pages option in the image above to separate the pages again)
The Align Crop Mark and Gap options are only needed if you will be printing these pages to a book. For publishing to the web you don’t really have to worry about them. I did uncheck the “Delete layer with no drawing” option from the Combine pages options because I wanted to preserve the blank layers that were created when the file was made. Click on OK to start the combining process.
Once your pages are combined, they will look like the pages in the following image. Note that pages 2 and 3 are now one continuous spread.
Open the two-page spread to start working on it. When you first open the combined pages, you may see that one of the sides has a purple color over it, as shown in the following screenshot.
Look in the Layers palette and you will see that there are two folders there, one named “Left Page” and one named “Right page”. Each of these has a layer mask associated with it that allows us to draw on only one side of the page at a time.
In the following screenshot, I drew a red X on a layer below the two layer folders. As you can see, these lines show across the two-page spread because they are not inside the folders and are not being changed by the layer masks.
But in the next image, I’ve made a bunch of blue squiggles on a layer in the “Right Page” folder. This folder has a layer mask that prevents anything from showing on the left page, so even though I made my lines all the way across the spread, they only show on the right page.
Now that our two page spread is set up, we can create some art on it!
Creating Art in a Two-page Spread
Big spreads like this are a great way to show off a setting and make a big visual impact on your readers. They should be used for big moments, either of action or to really show off the environment. I decided to use some of the 3D building models that come with Clip Studio Paint to create a quick cityscape. The buildings and sky in the far distance are three image materials that have been layered behind the 3D models.
Next I rasterized all the image materials and changed them to Gray color expressions. Now to make the 3D models look more like hand drawings instead of models. This can be done by ensuring that the layer all the 3D models for the cityscape are on is selected, then going to Layer - Convert to lines and tones.
The settings you use to convert your models to 2D will depend on the look you're going for, your personal preferences, and the models that you use. But the settings I used to create the art for this article are shown in the screenshot below.
Clicking on the “Preview” checkbox on the right side of the Convert to lines and tones options box will allow you to see the changes you’re making. This may cause a little lag depending on your hardware.
After clicking OK, I was left with the following background art.
Next I want to add a character flying through the air on the right page, heading toward the school on the left page. (They are going to a superhero high school, I suppose!) The character in the image below was based off a 3D character from the Clip Studio Paint library and a flying pose that I downloaded from the Assets library. After sketching and inking, I added a white fill on a layer below the character to separate her from the background and make shading easier.
You’ll also notice that there are now Scattered Saturated Lines in the background to draw the viewer’s eyes toward the school. You can find more information on this feature in a previous installment of my Tips series. https://tips.clip-studio.com/en-us/articles/4603
I used screentones to do some shading on the character, then added another layer set to Multiply blending mode and about 50% opacity. On this layer, I used black gradients to add even more shading and dimension to the character.
Once the character was complete, it was time to add a few finishing touches! You can see my finished two-page spread below.
(Note: I have been learning Japanese for the past year and a half and I think I used the correct kanji for “late” here, but if it’s incorrect then I apologize!)
Two-page spreads are punchy and can be a great way to show off your world while providing a lot of visual interest for your readers. And with CSP they are very easy to create in a story file! I hope you’ll give them a try sometime soon!