Custom Text Tools
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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!
If you’re a comic artist, you know that changing font settings for different types of text all the time can be a real pain. You probably have a font for your main dialog, various fonts for sound effects, a font for evil characters, and various other fonts that you use on a regular basis. Did you know that you can create text sub-tools with different settings for each of the types of text you use on a regular basis that will save your preferences and switch to them automatically when you change tools? This process is really easy and just requires a bit of time to set up.
In this article we will cover the following topics:
How to create a text subtool
Text Settings You Should Know About
Let’s dive right in!
How to Create a Text Subtool
Creating a text subtool is super easy and only takes a few mouse clicks! To get started, click on the Text tool and then click on the “Create copy of currently selected sub tool” icon in the Sub Tool window. This icon is shown by the arrow in the image below.
We’re going to create a copy of the default text tool and then set the font, size, and other options in the new tool while keeping the default text tool as it is. Once you click the Copy icon, the following window will show.
Enter a name for your new tool in the Name text entry box. I usually don’t change the tool icon when I create a custom tool, but I do like to set background colors so I can tell at a glance which tool is which! To do this, click the checkbox next to “Background color of icon”. Then click on the rectangle to the right of this option and use the color picker to choose the color you want to display. You will see a preview of this tool with the current tool icon next to the “Tool Icon” text.
Once you’ve finished naming your tool and setting the icon, click on OK to create your new subtool setting. You can now change the text settings in the Sub Tool Property window to the settings you want to use when you switch to this tool. In the next section we’ll take a look at some text settings you should know about and talk about what they do!
Text Settings You Should Know About
Text settings can be a little bit confusing at first if you don’t know certain font terminology, but they’re actually really easy to use and set. I’m going to be looking at the most-used settings for text. You can find lots of these already in the Tool Property window. To access some of them, however, you need to click on the wrench icon in the lower right of the Tool Property window and open the Sub Tool Detail options. This window for my new text tool is shown below.
Let’s talk about the options in this first category, “Font” first. Most of these are pretty important to know about.
Font: This is where you can set which font to use. The list of fonts is taken from the fonts that are installed on your device’s hard drive.
Size: Sets how large the letters of your text are.
Horizontal Ratio: Sets the horizontal size of the text. Making this smaller will “squish” the letters horizontally while making it larger will stretch them.
Vertical Ratio: Same as Horizontal ratio, but for vertical size.
Character spacing: Sets the spaces between individual characters in the text.
Condense text: This option will condense the text, making it take up less space in your work.
Style: Set whether the text is bold, italic, underline, or strikethrough.
Outline: Sets an outline on the text. Checking the box next to this option will allow you to choose between a light or bold outline and also set the color of the outline.
Now let’s look at some options in the next category, shown below.
Justify: Sets the alignment of the text. Options are left justified, centered, or right justified. Most of the time, text in comics is centered in the speech balloons.
Line space: Sets the spacing between lines of text. Use this if you want to make the lines of text closer together or farther apart.
Our next category is the Text one, shown in the following screenshot.
Text Direction: Sets the direction of the text to either horizontal or vertical. Most Western comics won’t use vertical text, except maybe for a special effect!
Anti-aliasing: Set the anti-aliasing for text. Anti-aliasing is how smooth the edges of the letters will look.
Use half-width punctuation marks: Makes punctuation marks take up a half width instead of full width.
Wrap text at frame: This allows you to create text boxes! By default, as you type the frame around the text will keep adjusting to fit however much text you put in to each line. Turning on this option makes text automatically move to a new line when it reaches the edge of the frame.
Edge: Creates a border around the letters while retaining the font color. This is different from the Outline option in the “Font” category.
Background color: Sets a color behind the text. The opacity of this color can be changed using the Opacity slider after the setting is activated.
The “Reading” category doesn’t really have options that we’d use on a regular basis, so let’s go straight to the “Edit settings” category instead.
There are three options for the Text color. The first will always use the main color no matter what it is. The second will always use the sub color. The third allows you to set a color that will always be used with the text for this tool. For instance, if you have a villain whose dialog is always red, you can set a user color of red for the text tool with their dialog. Then, even if you have black and white as your main and sub color, the text from that tool will always be red.
How to add: This controls how new text is added when you click on the canvas with the text tool. If you click in an area where there is no text at all, a new text layer will be created. But sometimes if you click very close to an existing text layer, the new text will be added on to the layer of the existing text. You can control this by changing between the options in this dropdown menu. “Detect position” will automatically detect if you are very close to existing text or not. You can also choose to always create a new layer or always add to existing text.
Next up we have the Transformation settings.
Show resize handle: This shows the control handles around the editing box of the text, allowing you to transform the bounding box and the text inside by dragging the corners around. If you don’t want to drag to resize text for this tool, deselect this option.
Mode: Set the transform mode when using the control points around the text. Check the Keep Aspect Ratio if you don’t want to distort text by dragging unevenly.
Rotation angle: Set the rotation of the text.
Skew (horizontal): Control the horizontal distortion (skew) of text. Usefully for special effect text!
Skew (vertical): Same as Skew Horizontal, but for the vertical axis.
The final two icons in this window allow you to flip the text horizontally or vertically.
Remember that if you ever want to have access to an option in the Tool Property that doesn’t usually show there, you can click on the box all the way to the left of that option in the Sub Tool Detail window to add it to the Tool Property panel.
In the screenshot below, I have created several different text tools. Each time I change to one, the settings that I chose in the Tool Property and Sub Tool Details windows are automatically loaded up, allowing me to switch between fonts, sizes, font colors, and other settings that are used often without having to set those options every time!
You can also see that I gave each tool a different background color. This allows me to quickly tell them apart at a glance. This background color also shows in the Tool bar of CSP, allowing you to quickly tell which text subtool is active before clicking it so that you know if you need to change to a different one or can just start typing.
Creating your own text subtools is something I think more people need to know about. Especially if you’re someone who uses a lot of text in your work! Just creating a few tools for different projects with font settings can save you a lot of time and headaches. Give it a try if there are fonts and other text settings you’re constantly changing to in your work!