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Professional Manga: Digital Storytelling with Manga Studio EX

Professional Manga: Digital Storytelling with Manga Studio EX [Kindle Edition]

Steve Horton , Jeong Mo Yang

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Product Description


"Horton and Ahn deliver great action, crazy technology, and hot girls, but that doesn't cause it to read like some manga fan-fiction. The plot thickens almost as quickly as the action moves, and leaves you with a cliffhanger I dare you to say no to." Tim Demeter, editor, Graphic Smash ( on Strongarm

Product Description

Combine high-end manga storytelling theory and advice with the tools for digital creation in Manga Studio, guided by expert professional manga-ka.

You'll discover manga storytelling techniques, from speed lines to technology, from toning to big sound effects. Steve Horton and Jeong Mo Yang then show you how best to accomplish these techniques using the leading manga art creation program, Manga Studio EX. Every ounce of theory is backed up with step-by-step manga illustrations and Manga Studio screenshots that show how these illustrations were created.

See the techniques in action in The Other Side of the Tracks, a new manga short story in the book centerfold which demonstrates at least one example from every technique described. You can also follow the continuing story as a webmanga available at

And there's more! The companion CD includes trial version of Manga Studio EX along with high-resolution image files from the book.

Smith Micro has also included a coupon for $100 off the full version of Manga Studio EX.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 11242 KB
  • Print Length: 256 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 4 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 1 edition (17 Jun 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009P374AW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,191,253 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.6 out of 5 stars  23 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Where's the 'Manga Studio' part? 27 Aug 2008
By ArtRockets - Published on
This book does not really cover much about the program 'Manga Studio EX' it is more of an "over all" how to draw manga comics or better yet 'general things to pay attention to'. I think the book might good for the "just learning how to draw" person but for help with the Manga Studio application it really lacks. It cover 3 things in Manga Studio, line quality(brushes), tones and speed lines which amounts to about 8 pages in the book and it doesn't go into any depth on those topics other than you can adjust the options to your liking. And it does not cover anything specific to the 'EX' version of Manga Studio.

The rest of the book is filled with drawings.. the same drawings over and over again. It will show a line drawing of a character then a proper shaded(toned) version of the same drawing then the line drawing again then 2 examples of improper shading of the same line drawing and finally the proper shaded version again. That's 6 pages and 2 of those 6 are duplicates. It does this over and over again, I guess to "up" the page count. About the whole last half of the book are rough sketches for some homemade comic with no explanation or anything. I returned my copy. Also, I have to say I did not open the included disc so I may have missed the real meat.. but I doubt it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not terribly useful 20 Aug 2009
By Alison Hudson - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
All in all, there's not much to recommend about this book. It has two sections, one dedicated to using the Manga Studio EX software, and the other giving general tips about creating Manga comics. Both sections are terribly light, with basic instructions but lacking the kind of depth or detail that other art books often offer. This is especially true of the section about creating comics, which is generic in its content--it really repeats basic comic advice that can be had in a dozen other books, without offering anything new.

The software itself (a trial comes with the book) seems an awful lot like Photoshop with a lot of preset custom brushes and such, but then lacking the versatility that PS offers to do more than Manga. Perhaps if the book had been dedicated solely to the program, and gone on from the basic-basics into highlighting tips, tricks, and tools more, I would see more value in it. As is, I couldn't recommend it.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative... 29 July 2009
By Atomic Tofu - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
More a 3.5 than 4.0 :)

Looking at this book from a purely objective artistic viewpoint, this is a good book as an instructional guide to using Manga Studio 3.0/4.0. Aside from the tutorial on how to use Manga Studio to achieve certain affects, it also covers some basics of the concept of "Manga". Manga as the comic book form of east asian cultures, and more specifically, the black and white variant.

The book also covers some comic book pre-press basics as well as pitching your work to various comic book publications, which isn't something new to me, but what I consider more helpful and informative than the "how to manga" or "how to with Manga Studio" aspects.

This is not a "how to draw" book, but a how to create manga using Manga Studio book, and in this sense, it does a decent job. I tested this on the Manga Studio 3.0 EX Demo provided on disc with the book. I am not sure how much more indepth a guide to the software could be, but in my opinion Manga Studio (the version I tested) was not all that intuitive.

I have provided some examples of what Manga Studio does. I took the short route because I work full time (a blessing these days) and am only showing how Manga Studio "manga-nizes" an imported image. The image is something I did and painted digitally with a type of watercolor effect and then imported into Manga Studio. As noted, the book does come with a $100 off Manga Studio EX coupon, however, it seems to be only usable at Smith Micro's website and not here via Amazon.

As for the manga aspect of things, "manga" would allow the aspiring artist to publish their work in a more economical fashion, yet still not skimp on some of the visual impact all that much.

Just keep in mind, "manga" is a style but be original and genuine. The provided images are my work so I don't have to worry about copyrights. ;)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For a companion book or reference guide, this book is worth recommending. but this is not a "classrom in a book". 4 Aug 2009
By Dennis A. Amith (kndy) - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
As a user of Manga Studio EX, I wish there were more books that would have tapped into the secrets of the software. But fortunately, Steve Horton and Jeong Mo Yang have written a book titled "Professional Manga: Digital Storytelling with Manga Studio EX".

The book is targeted for those who want to utilize the software with their manga creations. Whereas it shows you how they get sketches and prepare it for the software, the book comes with a CD that includes the high-res images for every piece of art featured in the book plus a 20-page story done in high-res plus a demo-version of Manga Studio EX.

"Professional Manga" was created not technically of doing how-to projects (ie. Adobe's educational books for their software) but the book does get into basics of sketches and how they can be brought into the software and one can start working on their designs but at the same time, learning of the pitfalls of various tones and suggestions for the artist using the software for the first time.

Here is a breakdown of chapters featured in the book:

* APPENDIX 1 & 2 and INDEX

For the most part, the book is good for beginners. Especially learning how to utilize the right shading, action lines and various terminology for the beginning user of the program, who want to create their own manga. The good news is that the book is very good at introductions. May it be to line art, scanning your work into the software, line utilization and more. But the bad news is that the book is not step-by-step. With a lot of software such as Adobe PhotoShop and Adobe Illustrator, the software MANGA STUDIO EX has grown to become a popular software but for those who can draw or sketch or tell a story but are not computer literate may want to have something more helpful with step-by-step procedures.

The book has plenty of potential especially if the writers want to update it. But the difficulty right now is that there are not many books on the software and there sure is no "MANGA STUDIO EX for DUMMIES".

Each chapter features a good number of screen shots and for example, chapter 5 which is about blurring, has big screen captures and each page has a step-by-step explanation of how a certain blur (Gaussian) was utilized or in chapter 6 of how the magic wand tool can be used to eliminate a white background and one can use a background layer with another layer featuring a character.

There are chapters that I found quite informative such as Chapter 3 (Shading and Textures) and why its good to avoid moire patterns to inserting action lines, text and more. If anything, the book is more of a companion style of book and it works well in that capacity.

Overall, Steve Horton and Jeong Mo Yang do a very good job on that book in helping assist creative types who want to bring their work into Manga Studio EX but I know far too many people who give up on the software because they are lost or find it too difficult (especially if they are used to using Adobe products).

If you have messed around with the software and want positive advice from those who know the software well, this is a great companion book to assist you and hopefully get you ready in creating your first manga through Manga Studio EX but for those expecting something similar along the lines of Adobe's "Classroom in a Book", this is not that type of book.

But for those who are familiar with software like Adobe PhotoShop or Adobe Illustrator can benefit, because tools such as "magic wand", "lasso" or using certain types of blurs will come to play and be utilized with Manga Studio EX.

Last, I highly recommend purchasing this book new. Otherwise, if you are planning to purchase it used, please make sure the CD is included. It helps that the writers included high res images to experiment on and using the book as a guide to accomplish certain effects.

Overall, the book is well-conceived with probably the intermediate digital artist in mind but in the end, it all comes down to your proficiency as a digital/print artist and also have used the Manga Studio EX software. Beginners can also use this book as a reference guide and learn some key elements as well. So, this book is beginner and intermediate friendly.

Although, I still believe that there is a need for an in dept book like a "classroom in a book" for Manga Studio EX, both Horton and Yang do a good job in helping those bring their manga creations to life through the software. Definitely a book worth checking out!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not really for the beginner... 29 July 2009
By Michael Gmirkin - Published on
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book certainly doesn't do a lot of hand-holding. It definitely seems to be more geared toward the professional manga artist than anyone intermediate or beginner.

As such it basically assumes you already know how to draw, how to draw manga, and are mostly looking to figure out how to draw manga USING "MANGA STUDIO EX" SOFTWARE.

So, if you don't already know how to draw or how to draw in the manga style, this book won't necessarily teach you. It will certainly fill you in on some of the conventions like speed lines, and texturing. It'll tell you how to tie various panels together with similar imagery or shared text / speech boxes. It mentions the typical parts of a story arc (discovery of a goal or problem, complication to resolving the problem or completing the goal and inevitable resolution). It'll tell you when to use thick lines for characters and objects (foreground / emphasis) versus thin lines (background objects).

If you're looking for an introductory book (that steps you through how to "draw manga / anime" in general), this is perhaps not it. If you're already proficient at drawing and are possibly already familiar with drawing manga specifically, this book will help somewhat with learning how to adapt to the world of manga creation using the Manga Studio EX 3.0 software. Granted, as of this writing, it's 2009, and this book refers to the "forthcoming" Manga Studio 4.0 in 2008. So, it feels like this book might yet be slightly outdated? One wonders whether a newer version is available...

On the plus side, the book does come with a trial version of the software, so you can see if it is something you might be comfortable with using on a permanent basis, before shelling out the big bucks for the full version. This copy also came with a coupon for $100 off the full version, should the reader care to step up to it.
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