To bring life and dimension to your comic, you have to use tones. Tones vary from gradations, emotional effects and even backgrounds. To see the collection of tones available, hit Window > Tones or F6. Manga Studio Debut has over 1800 tones to use while EX, the professional (and more expensive version) has over 3000. An easy way to see all the tones is to click on Help > Materials Catalog which will open up a 92-page PDF file listing all the tones and then some in both Debut and EX.
When the Tones Palette opens, you will see a window like above with three columns. The left column is a very useful explorer which you can use to quickly move from one folder to another. The middle column previews all the tones within the selected folder in the first column and the right-most column shows a preview. Here, I have it set up to show a large preview. Hit the down-arrow to choose between a Small or Large preview and change the percentage to it’s right for further zoom ins or outs.
Before we begin placing tones, I highly suggest you make a copy of your originals line art. Making a duplicate will come in handy just in case you make a mistake setting down the tones.
To make a copy of a layer, just click on the layer, then drag and drop it on the page icon with the star at the corner next to the folder up above. This will create an exact replica of your original work automatically named after the original layer with “Copy” attached afterwards.
The fastest way to set a tone is to paste them. First, you will need to select the Magic Wand tool from the Tools Palette as seen on the right. Once you have selected that, choose the section of your drawing that you would like to fill with tone.
Flashing dashed lines or marching ants as they are called will appear marking the area that was selected. As you can see below, the selected area is rather large encompassing the brim of the hat plus a section to the right which shouldn’t have been selected.
To set tones properly, the lines within a selected area must be closed. Any gaps will cause problems like below which means you have to go back and close those gaps! Make the corrections in the original line art and make a copy of it once more. You can delete the old layer by dragging and dropping it on top of the trash icon.
Tip: To quickly deselect a selection, hit CTRL + D
Open the Tones Palette if you haven’t already. When you’ve found the perfect tone to use, drag and drop it’s thumbnail into the page. Even if you drop it outside of the selected area, the tone will automatically be pasted into the selected area only.
Tip: If you have more than one area that will have the same tone, hold down “Shift” while clicking on the areas you want selected.
A new layer will pop up indicating the tone that’s used complete with a thumbnail. Make sure you remember to reselect your line art layer before you start on placing new tones!
For more options on how you place the tone, you can double click on the tone which will bring up a Tone Properties window like the one above. Check off the box at the bottom titled Show Image on the Page to see a preview of the tone on your page.
To move the whole page, select the hand icon up top and move the page around. Select the cross-arrow to move the tone in the selected area around. To rotate it, click on the circular icon. Click on Paste on Page if you like it or hit Close if you don’t.
If you later decide to have another area with the same tone or forgot to select an area that’s part of a whole, reselect the area again and paste the tone. This produces a new layer with the same name as seen to the right. You can keep them apart or you can merge them together to make things easier for you to keep track of things. Merge by right clicking on the upper layer, hit Merge Down and hit okay at the new window.
You can also paste multiple tones on top of each other for more effects. Just select the same areas and paste on the tone as usual.
Also, you can change the transparency of a tone by changing the percentage above in the layers palette. Just make sure to select the proper layer before you start changing the transparency setting.
<< Transparency percentage, new layer, folder and trash can icons in the Layers Palette makes things easier. Use them well!
Take toning a step further by digitally etching it. Etching is the term used when bits of tone are scratched off creating a highlighted effect. You can do this by using one of the drawing tools like the pen, make the color white by clicking on the white box at the tools palette and draw on top of the tones. Remember to create a new layer just for your etches!
Drawing white on top of tone is the digital version of etching.>>