We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Graphic design & publishing software Reviews
15,669 Reviews

Manga Studio 5 review

£55 inc VAT

Manufacturer: SmithMicro

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

Manga Studio 5 features new Photoshop and Painter-like coloring options and brushes with responsive drawing tools for creating art. Here's our Manga Studio 5 review.

Manga Studio 5

Manga Studio 5 has a bit of everything for digital artists who create illustration and comics. Featuring an overhauled user interface, including new brushes and tools, it's a good time to start with Manga Studio (£55.50 inc VAT, buy-only). Current Manga Studio 4 may want to wait for file compatibility fixes before purchasing an upgrade from Manga Studio 4 Debut or EX. See all Software reviews.

Manga Studio 5 showcases new coloring tools. Similar to Photoshop, the layers panel comes with new options such as Clip Layer, Multiply, Quick Mask, and more. New brushes for watercolor, oil and pastel are familiar to Painter users. Artists can create custom brushes and share them. The airbrush tool creates multiple effects for painting. Ink and pencil drawing tools have improved control options. For example, artists can vary anti-aliasing with the ink tool. For creating comics, vector snapping of panels, type and speech balloons helps to layout a comic page. Type and panels are editable on the fly. Manga Studio 5 comes loaded with zip tones and effects for comics which artists now can color for effect. See all software downloads.

The 3D human models are a new and welcome reference. Artists can alter female and male models and then pose them using the built-in character rigging. Guidelines on these models assist in designing outfits. 3D models of manga girl and boy teens are clothed with swappable outfits, expressions, and head details. A variety of common poses and 3D hand gestures are included. Under the File menu, you'll see a new item: Qumarion. Quma is a real-life model that's plugged in via USB. It's fully articulated, and the selected 3D model mimics movement in real time. Smith Micro has not yet decided whether it will distribute Quma to the US or European market.

In Manga Studio 5, most standard features from Manga Studio EX 4 are included. Others, like the multiple comic page layout and perspective rulers, are not present. Smith Micro provides a full comparison of the Manga Studio family of products. The company is dropping the "Debut" naming convention for  this new version. Manga Studio 5 is "Manga Studio 5 Debut" with the upcoming Manga Studio 5 Ex maintaining the use of "Ex" to distinguish it. Expanded 3D options and more features will arrive in Manga Studio 5 Ex, which is slated for a Summer 2013 release.

Currently, files created in Manga Studio 4 or earlier are not compatible with Manga Studio 5. The publisher is working on fixing this by the second quarter of this year, but if you're planning to work with your Manga Studio 4 files, it would be smart to wait until the functionality is solid.

Manga Studio 5 Expert Verdict »

Windows XP, Vista, 7 or 8
Macintosh OS X 10.6, 10.7 or 10.8
2GHz Intel Pentium 4 or equivalent
Compatible with 32 bit and 64 bit OS
2GB free hard disk space
Graphic card with VRAM of 256MB or more and OpenGL 1.5
XGA (1024×768) or higher, WXGA (1280×768) or higher, 16-Bit color display or higher
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

With a price point of £55, Manga Studio 5 is great catch-all art program. New colouring tools with customization, layers, panel creation, responsive drawing tools and 3D models makes it ideal for creating illustrations and comics. Newcomers will discover that Manga Studio 5 is a versatile art program without breaking the wallet.

  • Anime Studio Debut review

    Anime Studio Debut

    Anime Studio Debut is Smith Micro's homegrown animated answer to its translated 2D art program, Manga Studio.

  • Smith Micro MotionArtist review

    Smith Micro MotionArtist

    MotionArtist features basic animation tools to animate comics and export them into video formats or HTML5. Here's our Smith Micro MotionArtist review.

  • Anime Studio Debut 8 review

    Anime Studio Debut 8

    Enable 2D animation with Anime Studio Debut 8's extremely low learning curve - UPDATED 17 AUGUST

  • Anime Studio Pro 7 review

    Anime Studio Pro 7

    The expert version of Smith Micro's Anime Studio Pro animation software now allows import of files from popular Poser.

  • Anime Studio Debut 7 review

    Anime Studio Debut 7

    Bone-based animation software Anime Studio Debut 7's new Beginner Mode makes it even easier to animate.

IDG UK Sites

Windows 10 for phones UK release date, price and new features: When will my phone get Windows 10?

IDG UK Sites

Three of the most expensive Limited Edition games ever made: Who's buying a $1,000,000 game?

IDG UK Sites

The future of Microsoft Surface: What to expect from the Surface Pro 4

IDG UK Sites

Best Mac: Apple Mac buyers guide for 2015: iMac, MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, Mac mini and...