I’ve been using Clip Studio Paint for a few years now and the vector layer is one of my favorite features. While they aren’t true vector layers per se (you can’t render actual vector art with it), they make line art a breeze! (tl;dr here’s the video!)
Erasing is Faster and Cleaner
When you’re working with a vector layer, you’ll have some additional options available for the eraser tool. Under the tool properties, check the “Vector eraser” box. This will give you the options to erase part of the line, a whole line, or a section of line until it meets another line. I almost always have it on this last option so I don’t have to worry about my lines crossing where I don’t want them to. When adding sections of hair or fur, cleaning up lines and points can be done with a few strokes!
It’s (Sometimes) Easy to Adjust Lines
This feature is a double-edged sword. On the one hand it can help you quickly fix lines that aren’t quite right without having to totally redraw them. BUT! When you’re having “one of those days” it’s really easy to get sucked into fiddling with the same line over and over again when it would have been faster to redraw it.
You can move individual control points, which is useful for fixing the taper and length of the ends of lines. You can also change the weight of your lines with a bunch of different options. I like to thicken up certain lines to make specific elements pop or narrow a few lines to make things like hair more interesting. This is also useful for making emotes and other graphics pop – just run it around the outside edge!
I find that the other adjustment options take longer to mess around with than to draw a line again, but definitely give them a try and see what works for you! Some of this will work on raster layers too, but a lot of times the end result is messy. Maybe there are other settings to help with that, but it’s way easier to just start with a vector layer.
Connect Your Lines with Vector Magnet
Vector magnet makes your lines sort of stick together when they get close together. It’s another double-edged sword, but handy when you need to match up the ends of your lines. You can adjust the strength, but turning it all the way up will usually cause distortion in your line art. If you’re having this problem, just take it down a level or two.
Protect Your Line Art (Kind of)
Not all tools work the same on a vector layer and some don’t work at all. I will 100% color my line art layer every time without something to get my attention when I’m not, well, paying attention. Sure, you can alpha lock your line art, but my brain just can’t seem to make that a part of my work flow. Thankfully, the fill tool (paintbucket) doesn’t work on vector layers at all, so that’s my first hint that I’m on the wrong layer. Other tools like the airbrush don’t behave the same way on a vector layer and the strokes look weird. Again, it tells me to check my layer!
But Wait, There’s More!
These are just a few reasons to use vector layers in Clip Studio Paint. I’ll cover more later, but for now here’s a little video demonstrating everything we talked about:
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