Acquiring Useful Tools

I'll take the leap of faith and assume that you already have a computer running some flavor of Windows or Mac OS X (sorry, Linux users! You can always see if the program will run though Wine), or else you probably wouldn't be reading this book.

However, there are a few pieces of hardware, both internal to your computer as well as external, that you may find useful to have. What's more, you don't need to go on a massive spending spree to get them.

\/ou can neVer haOe too much RAM!

Appendix A to this book contains the absolute minimum requirements you need to run Manga Studio on your PC or Mac. It may run a bit sluggishly, but it'll run. So here's what 1 suggest you do to make your Manga Studio experience that much better:

*** Buy a new computer! (Just kidding.) The truth is, you don't need the latest and greatest machine on the market in order to use Manga Studio.

Buy more RAM. This is the one piece of equipment that I consider to be the most vital upgrade for your machine. You can have the fastest processor possible in your machine, but it doesn't mean much if you don't have enough RAM. And because you're working primarily in two dimensions (unless you have Manga Studio EX and are planning on using the 3DLT import function — see Bonus Chapter 2 on the CD), you really don't need an expensive graphics card.

The system requirements suggest a minimum of 256 to 512MB of RAM in your machine. Some users also suggest that you have at least 1GB. Considering how relatively inexpensive RAM is nowadays, I suggest maxing your machine out with as much RAM as it can use. At the very least, I suggest boosting your memory up to about 2GB of RAM (if your computer can handle that much RAM).

You can purchase relatively inexpensive RAM at several Web sites. I happen to like Newegg (www. newegg. corn) for my computer purchases, but you can also purchase from RAM manufacturers such as Crucial (www. crucial. com).

The most important tool to have when working with Manga Studio is your computer. The second most important tool is what you use to create the artwork in the program. If you're thinking of drawing with the computer itself, you're going to need something other than your mouse (unless you're really really good). If you're thinking of finishing up the work you started on paper, you're going to need something to get the drawing to the computer, and then when you're done, back out of it

A drawing tablet, scanner, and printer are three tools that I think are just as important to your Manga Studio experience as the program itself. The following sections explain why.

A drawing tablet

Drawing with a tablet is much easier than drawing with a mouse. However, whether you need a drawing tablet depends on what you plan on doing with Manga Studio. If you're going to scan your pencil or ink work into the computer and you're using the program solely to add screentones and do some touch-up work, you can get by with just your mouse. But unless you're adept at drawing with a hrick, I wouldn't suggest trying to use a mouse for drawing anything. You'll find it much easier and you'll get better results if you draw with a tahlet.

If you've never used (or even heard of) one before, a drawing tablet is a means of reproducing natural drawing on the computer. It actually works like a mouse, except that you use a special pen on a drawing surface that's connected to your computer. Unlike a mouse, the pen has pressure sensitivity. (That is, the line size and/or opacity of the line you're drawing increase and decrease, depending on how lightly or heavily you press the pen tip on the tablet.) So when you draw with a tablet in Manga Studio, the pen and pencil lines should look like what you'd draw with a normal pencil and paper

A scanner if you aren't planning on doing any digital drawing (or are planning on scanning in one stage of the process and finishing the rest with a drawing tablet), a scanner is the piece of equipment (outside of the computer itself) that you need to own. It's the only way you're going to get your pencil or pen work into Manga Studio.

A printer

I think that if you're looking to create a physical comic book for your family and friends to read, the easiest and simplest method is to print it, fold it in half, and staple it together. In one of the more obvious statements you'll read in this book, in order to do that, you're going to need a decent printer.

Odds are that you probably already have a printer. If you don't, you can get a relatively inexpensive one from your local office supply or electronics supply stores. Because Manga Studio produces black-and-white art, you don't necessarily need to worry about the most photorealistic color printer on the market. But you should look into a printer that prints at a high resolution. (That is, the more dots that can fit in an inch, the sharper the line art looks.) You can purchase good quality laser or inkjet printers without putting a large dent in your wallet at your local office supply store.

You also need to look into paper that doesn't cause the ink to bleed together, resulting in a messy looking page. Fortunately, most regular typing paper should work just fine.

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Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Freehand Sketching An Introduction

Learn to sketch by working through these quick, simple lessons. This Learn to Sketch course will help you learn to draw what you see and develop your skills.

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