Clip Studio Paint price change update announced for new subscription model

Celsys announces updates to their planned subscription pricing model for Clip Studio Paint.
Artists have railed against Clip Studio Paint’s new monetization model. Will the prices and changes be enough to pacify fans? Pic credit: Wit Studio and Celsys

Back in August 2022, Celsys announced that their manga software Clip Studio Paint would switch from a buy-to-own to a subscription-based model starting in March 2023. Buyers lamented the fact that their purchases would no longer grant them the most up-to-date version of the product well into the future. Today, Celsys has updated fans with not only changes to the upcoming model but prices as well.

The most pressing question on the minds of many has been, “How much is this change going to cost me?” Similar to the previous pricing model, the software will be split into a PRO and EX version — EX having more extensive animation options along with the ability to export multi-page documents.

Clip Studio Paint Pro

  • Version 2.0 purchase — US$49.99
  • Upgrade from 1.x to 2.0 — US$19.99
  • 12-month update pass — US$9.99   
  • Standard subscription — US$4.49/month or US$24.99/year

Clip Studio Paint EX

  • Version 2.0 purchase — US$219.00
  • Upgrade from 1.x to 2.0 — US$56.99
  • 12-month update pass — US$28.99   
  • Standard subscription — US$8.99/month or US$71.99/year

To explain the different pricing options: A version 2.0 purchase (whether for new users or returning customers upgrading their plan) will give buyers the 2.0 update of Clip Studio Paint with no feature updates beyond stability changes. What’s great news for recent buyers is that any license purchased after January 1, 2022 can be upgraded to version 2.0 for free!

What happens if I don’t upgrade Clip Studio Paint before March?

Understandably, the drastic change in the pricing model has had some buyers fearing that their previous purchases would be stripped away from them. Luckily, that will not be the case. Celsys has responded to concerns by assuring customers that they will retain the last version they purchased for free (version 1.x for those who bought the software before January 2022).

Even better, Celsys has extended its support for version 1 past the release of the 3.0 update. This means that while buyers will not receive any new feature updates after 2022, the software will receive bug fixes and other stability updates until the end of its life cycle. 

A Winter 2022 update is also planned for all 1.x users. Details of the update have not been confirmed, but Celsys has hinted that new features are in the works! This is great news for those who want to keep their favorite software without any additional fees, but it will also be the last hurrah for version 1 users.

What’s the difference between an update pass and a monthly subscription?

Fueling the ire, Celsys’ multi-tiered subscription options have left many scratching their heads. Seeing as an update pass is cheaper yearly than a standard subscription, it may seem confusing why the latter is even offered. Although, the two options have a key difference:

  • Buyers will need a perpetual license for version 2.0 in order to purchase the annual 2.0 update pass. This pass includes all 2.x feature updates and 3.0 early access features. The software reverts back to 2.0 once the pass ends.
  • Anyone can pay for a standard Clip Studio Paint subscription without a perpetual license. This subscription includes all 2.x feature updates but does not include 3.0 early access features. The software reverts back to the last purchased version or otherwise will become inaccessible once the subscription ends.

As to which is more bang for your buck? Well, that depends on how one intends to use the software. While 2.0’s extended 3D features are exciting for many, they may not be part of every artist’s workflow. Those wanting immediate access to all of Clip Studio Paint’s latest features will need to upgrade to 2.0 and grab the annual pass. Otherwise, the most frugal option would be to only subscribe once a feature one needs for their workflow launches. 

Version 3.0 — which will require another perpetual license purchase — is planned to release in 2024. That means that, if one were to hold out, they could save more money by only upgrading yearly to the next perpetual version. At least, that assumes perpetual license upgrades will continue to be discounted.

Why should I upgrade to Clip Studio Paint version 2.0?

The main draw to Clip Studio Paint’s 2.0 version is the extended 3D tools. Mangaka such as Berserk’s late Kentaro Miura use reference models to aid in drawing on tight deadlines. In addition to the popular adjustable body features for posing models, users will now be able to morph faces as well — providing a helpful base for both chibi and realistic art styles alike.

For those who lament drawing hands, the live capture hand pose scanner will allow artists to project their own hands onto their 3D model. And with the software’s integration with Posemaniacs, gone are the days of fiddling with the reference model rather than drawing. 

New features announced for Clip Studio Paint's version 2.0 update.
Between the extended 3D model functionality, improved layout and text tools, and even automatic shading feature, which are you most excited to try? Pic credit: Celsys

Improved text tools will finally allow manga artists to wrap the text for quick and easy sound effects. The new alignment tools will also cut down on the need for artists to switch to other software, such as Adobe Illustrator, when planning their layouts and typography. And these are just a few of the many features in store for the March 2023 release of 2.0.

This change in the pricing model does come to the dismay of many. But if Celsys keeps to its promise of releasing quality updates at a consistent pace, the change just may be worth the additional price tag. We’ll just have to wait until next year to see.

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