Introduction to the CLIP STUDIO Suite



CLIP STUDIO is an integrated group of applications from Japanese software company Celsys. So far the only production app released in the english language is CLIP STUDIO PAINT, the main drawing and illustration program. If you've ever heard of "Manga Studio" that was the (now discontinued) rebranded english version of PAINT. The assets/launcher app – officially named simply "CLIP STUDIO" – is the only other app released outside of Japan, however it lacks most of the functionality of the Japanese version. The full suite of software consists of:

CLIP STUDIO – a program launcher and assets manager
PAINT – the illustration/drawing app for creating comics and animations.
ACTION – adds camera direction and 3D character motion to PAINT animations.
COORDINATE – (discontinued) 3D materials set-up program.
MODELER – a 3D modeling and materials set-up program.

NOTE: If your interested in actually using the suite but don't know Japanese there are unofficial translations available, but only for specific versions of the apps. See the Unofficial Translations page for details.

CLIP STUDIO (LAUNCHER/ASSET MANAGER)

Clip Studio Launcher 1.6.3 Start Screen

This is a free program that acts as a front-end for the entire software suite. It has launchers for all the CLIP STUDIO apps you have installed. It is mainly an interface for the Celsys "Clip Site," which is an online marketplace where users can download, upload, and sell custom Materials they've created.

It also has utilities for managing your Work documents, installed Materials, and Cloud storage account, or exporting to Kindle format or (if you're in Japan) small press and convenience store printers.

The rather spartan Clip Studio Launcher 1.6.3 english-language version.

UPDATE 5 APRIL 2017: There is now an official english-language version of the Launcher app bundled with the english version of PAINT. Western users can now download assets from the Japanese "Clip Site" (with automatic translation of the listings).  However this Launcher app is missing most of the features in the Japanese version.  For details please refer to my write-up on Clip Studio Launcher 1.6.x.


Legacy Launcher


1.1.7 is the last version of the "Legacy" app. Celsys moved to a "cloud" based system for asset management which is not compatible with the legacy applications. If you click on "Material Search" or "License Material" you are met with this screen:


Clip Studio Launcher 1.1.7 Material Search Screen


Translation:

In this version, services requiring login are not available.
Sorry to trouble you but update it.


How to update to the latest version

What that means is that you can no longer download assets from the "Clip Site" with the Launcher to the installed "Legacy" apps. If you really NEED an asset in the legacy apps you could download it with the newer Launcher, find the folder, and manually copy it to the legacy apps. That, of course, assumes it's compatible with the legacy apps (for example an older asset that has not been updated). If it's in the format for 1.5 or later, though, it most likely won't work even if you manually install it by copying it.

Note: You cannot download and install the Launcher app by itself. It is bundled with the other apps and installs with them.

CLIP STUDIO PAINT

Clip Studio Paint 1.6.3 Mac version

PAINT is the core program in the CLIP STUDIO Suite. It is a drawing, illustration, and animation program specifically geared toward comic artists. There are three sub-versions: DEBUT, PRO, and EX. The EX version has the most features, the main one being the ability to create and print multi-page documents. The other versions only produce single pages, so you would need some kind of page layout software to assemble them into a book.

PAINT is also the only productivity program in the suite to have been released outside of Japan in other languages (currently English, Chinese, French, Spanish, German, and Korean). It used to be re-branded and sold in the United States by Smith-Micro as "Manga Studio" but is now only sold under the CLIP STUDIO PAINT branding.

Downloads (current version)

NOTE: Except for the Japanese version each of these installs into its own folder ending in the two-letter language code. You can technically have all language versions installed on the same computer at the same time, but by default they will not be able to share materials or settings.

ACTION

Clip Studio Action 1.5.5 Mac Version

Clip Studio ACTION, as the name implies, is an animation timeline and direction program. If you are only working in 2D in Clip Studio Paint and/or are not doing animation work you can probably skip this app. ACTION is for people using 3D models and are doing animations or who want to apply motion direction to their 2D artwork. It also supports "synthetic voice" engines, including CeVio Creative Studio, MegapoidTalk, and Voiceroid.


Legacy Action

Clip Studio Action 1.1.9 Mac Legacy Version

There is also a "legacy" version of ACTION with a very different user interface from the current version.  It is for use with the other legacy CLIP STUDIO apps, so if you don't have any of those installed there's no reason to download it.  The final legacy Windows version is 1.2.0 and the final Mac legacy version is 1.1.9.  You can get them at the following pages:

Windows: 
https://www.clip-studio.com/clip_site/download/clipstudioaction/legacy/index_win
Mac: https://www.clip-studio.com/clip_site/download/clipstudioaction/legacy/index_mac

COORDINATE

Clip Studio Coordinate 1.1.7 Mac Version

COORDINATE is the only fully FREE app in the suite. It is for setting up 3D objects, characters, and backgrounds in the native CLIP STUDIO format. If you want 3D Materials with the same kind of options as the default assets from Celsys, this can make them. Those options include things like being able to change the facial expression, hairstyle, and clothing of characters or preset camera angles in a 3D scene.

Note, however, that it cannot CREATE the 3D objects or parts. They need to be created with a modeling program and imported into COORDINATE for assembly into 3D Materials for the CLIP STUDIO apps. FBX format is the best choice, but it also supports importing OBJ, 6KT, and 6KH files.

If you are not interested in creating your own 3D Materials you do not need COORDINATE. Also be aware it has been discontinued and will not be developed beyond version 1.1.7, but is still available for creating materials compatible with the "Legacy" CLIP STUDIO apps (the newer versions can also still read the "Legacy" formats, at least for now).

OFFICIAL PRODUCT PAGE:

MODELER

Clip Studio Modeler 1.6.3 Mac Version

The latest version integrates the "3D Setup" functions of COORDINATE, but MODELER cannot open your existing .c2fc files (you'll have to recreate your 3D materials with MODELER in the new format). If you are only interested in the "3D Setup" functions you can use that part of MODELER for FREE. If you want to actually build 3D models with MODELER, however, you need to purchase a license or you won't be able to Save your models or Register them as materials from within MODELER.

OFFICIAL PRODUCT PAGE:

RELATED APPS

CLIP STUDIO Filter Plug-In SDK

Plug-In Store in Clip Studio Launcher 1.6.3

The Software Development Kit for creating filter plug-ins for PAINT. These are similar to the plug-ins in Photoshop providing various image effects. The plugins are then distributed through the Japanese Clip Assets Site "Plug-In Store" either free or for sale. I should note that PAINT validates the installed plugins every time you start the program, so if you've just copied a plugin DLL/Bundle into the folder it's not going to validate or be available for use. In my opinion, the lack of third-party plugins is one of the biggest shortcomings of PAINT in comparison to many other graphics applications. Download and learn how to use the SDK and maybe you can help fill that gap. I should also note that if you plan to sell your plugins you also need to register a mailing address and bank account with Celsys so they can pay you royalties (I've no idea if they'll do this for overseas developers).

Download SDK (requires agreeing to EULA)

CS Viewer for ACTION Legacy

(optional, Windows Only)

This app is used for playing content data (.cscu files) to check the exported from ACTION before using it in Unity or Nikoni Stereoscopic. It supports content data (.cscu) files created by ACTION 1.1.6 to 1.2.0 (which unfortunately means I do not have both translations and installers for any version that could make use of this). If download it be aware when you double-click it to run it will create an operation log file, so you should run it from a location that doesn't require Administrator privileges.

Windows 64-bit download:
https://www.clip-studio.com/clip_site/download/clipstudioaction/system/dl?f=lib/clipstudio/csviewer/data/100/CSViewer_100_x64.zip

Window 32-bit download:

OFFICIAL PRODUCT PAGE:
https://www.celsys.co.jp/clipsolution/action_unity/


Mobile Liner

Japan-only app, Discontinued

Mobile Liner User Interface Parts (taken from the User Guide)

I'm mentioning this program only for completeness. It was used to create "motion comics" for mobile and web from ACTION Mobile Book format (.cbfm, .cbfs) files. I'm guessing the name is a reference to the "linearized" layout on mobile devices? It was discontinued in September 2016 and they are no longer accepting new registrations. However, you can still download and install it for both Mac and Windows, but it requires also having Adobe AIR installed first and the license agreement expressly stipulates the Mobile Liner can only be used inside Japan. Creators could upload their comics to a server, subject to some rather strict content ratings standards, and they could be read either on a website or with an app.

If you're curious about how it works, here is the user manual (view it in Chrome with auto-translation):
https://www.clip-studio.com/site/gd/ml/manual/MobileLiner/005_maetuke/top02.htm

If you don't give a crap what license agreements say download it:
https://www.clip-studio.com/clip_site/download/mobileliner/mobileliner_top

I'm not sure what good it will do you, the server to which you could upload stuff has apparently been shut down.

CS READER for ACTION

Japan-only app, Discontinued
Screenshot of CSA Reader Website (now defunct)

If a Mobile Liner upload was approved the comic could be viewed in the "CSA Reader for Mobile," "CSA Reader for CLIP" or "CSA Reader HD for CLIP" apps. None of which were available outside of Japan, but it basically worked in a manner very similar to the ComiXology app's "Guided View" feature. The apps are no longer available and the server they connected to has been shut down.

CLIP STUDIO PAINT Comico


In 2015 NHN PlayArt sold a co-branded version of CLIP STUDIO PAINT with Comico export tools built in (if it's still available I can't get the sales page to come up). This appears to have replaced "Mobile Liner" and "CSA Reader" (see above) Release info:


Comico is similar to ComiXology, but I have no idea if Comico is available to creators or readers outside of Japan, but I didn't see anything in the auto-translated TOS about it being Japan-only and you can login with a Facebook or Twitter account. Here's the website if you want to look into it more:

http://www.comico.jp/guide/index.nhn

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