Screentones is those small dotted textures you see in manga and other black and white comics that use them for shades and effects. It’s a great and fun material to play with. The main issue is that screentones are designed for physical print in mind. And thus don’t work well on today’s screens!
A common issue is that it creates “Moiré”!
The easiest way to use screentones in clip studio, is to go to the layer property tab and select the screentone icon. This will transform any shades in the layer into screentone.
The most important thing to know with tones is the linecount. In the properties tab, its called “frequency”. But if you’re ever planning to buy physical screentones, you will see labels like “30%60L” etc. The % stands for how dark the shade is, and the L stands for linecount - aka how many dots per line.
The screentones in CSP behave just like physical screen tone sheets. Thus it’s best to follow the same “rule of thumbs” when doing things such as stacking layers to create more shades.
Make sure to set the layer to “Use brightness of image”. Then you change either the X or Y in the Dot position. IRL this would be like moving the tone a tiny bit offset so the dots arent completely on top of each other.
BUT!! If you are working with stacking screentones to create effects, you must make sure they all have the same frequency/linecount. If I change the stacked layer here to a 30L on top of a 60L then you will get very harsh moiré.
NOTE: you can also get moiré by stacking tones of the same linecount, if you stack them on different angles. This is not a problem digitally since its set to 45 degrees by default. It happens more when working with physical screentones.
If you’ve ever dared to explore the materials folder, you probably have seen that there is a library of screentones. These screentones are used like a pattern layer and comes with a layer mask that you use to add or remove the tone with. The tones in this library consists of the most common used ones in the manga industry, and is more for ppl who are used to work with physical tones. If this intimidates you, remember you dont need to use these. Just set layer to screentone :P :helpdescribe:
As for exporting your art/comic to show online with screentones; it’s a bit of a hassle. Last time I used tones in a webcomic(2017), I went through this tedious progress where I exported the page in full size, then I added a small “blur” on it, then I exported it in the smaller size for web (800px wide I think?).
Clip studio doesnt yet have an auto action that includes export options afaik, so keep this in mind if you wanna fully commit to screentones. I would save that for printing imo.
But what if you wanna use screentones just for fun artsy stuff? Like for example what if you wanna color it?
You cannot use different colors on a screentone layer. Its either a picked color or pure B/W. Easiest solution is to clip a layer above the screentone you wanna color, and set it to “lighten” or “lighter color”. Since the screentone is pure black, any color will work on it.
some last notes:
- lower frequency means bigger dots. Great for a Pop Art look, but will easily obscure thin fine lineart. Bold dots works best with bold linework!
- Keep in mind the size of your canvas in relation to the frequency of the screentones. A 60L screentone might barely be visible on a 8000x8000 canvas.
- Less is more! More is Moiré! The more tones you use and stack in one image, the higher risk of moiré. Unless thats what you want.
- Stacking gradients without moiré is hard.
if you have been browsing the default brushes that comes with Clip Studio, you might have seen that some of them refers to “scraping”. such as the airbrush and one of the decoration brushes, these tools are designed to be used on screentone layers to create that specific look that you see in manga. IRL you’d make this look by carefully scraping off the dots using a box cutter.
@foervraengd Thanks for this thread, ooh. I was only aware of, like, a third of this stuff before, and now I'm itching to try everything else out.
@swordjaw hah yeah, clip studio has been around since like 2001 but only now is a thing outside of japan. the program have been mainly for making manga comics for most of its history. so theres a lot of old secrets like this :3
@foervraengd I have another useful tip! If one want to use screentones as texture, there's an issue with opacity just changing the dot size. So put the screentone layer in a folder and change that folder's opacity and mode instead.
@nyvinter yeah i think thats because screentone layers are pure b/w and thus cannot have transparency. also ngl having the dots be smaller with opacity is actually a feature i kinda like. but yeah folders are definitely your friend in these cases!
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