Manga drawing software app Clip Studio Paint switching to subscription model for 2.0 update

Clip Studio Paint announces new subscription model.
Could Clip Studio Paint’s pricing change hurt new and upcoming artists?

Artists and fans of manga-creation software Clip Studio Paint will need to open their wallets to keep their program up-to-date. As a shock to users, after 10 years of offering free updates after a one-time purchase, Celsys is switching to a subscription-based model.

Clip Studio Paint — offering three tiers all for a one-time purchase — has long been a solid competition to Adobe’s Creative Suite. Budding artists, hobbyists, and professionals alike have enjoyed the software for both its affordability and extensive features. But now, artists may have to weigh their options and budgets.

This change will take effect in the first half of 2023 and will come alongside the software’s 2.0 update. Currently, it is unknown how much subscription fees will cost, but Celsys has shed some light on their upcoming plans.

Will my Clip Studio Paint license be invalid in 2023?

Any pricing model that requires a flowchart for customers to understand is probably more complex than it needs to be. Many users are likely to worry their product licenses will become invalid when the 2.0 update drops.

For some, this may be a top anime betrayal rivaled only by Griffith. Luckily, Celsys has made some effort to ease customers into the new model.

Celsys's new subscription model for Clip Studio Paint.
With so many artists flocking to Clip Studio Paint to AVOID Adobe’s expensive subscription model, will this change only lose faithful users? Pic credit: Celsys

All users who have previously purchased a Clip Studio Paint license in the past will still be able to access the 1.x version of the software. Celsys has also confirmed that the 1.x versions will continue to receive free bug fixes up until the release of the 3.0 update.

Users of the 1.x versions will still be able to open 2.0 Clip Studio Paint files, but some layers will be uneditable. Future updates will determine how much of a detriment this may be for those who wish to collaborate with others or use templates created in 2.0 versions.

What is the Clip Studio Paint Update Pass?

In addition to a monthly and yearly service plan, Celsys will also offer Update Passes. Valid for one year, Update Passes give users access to all Clip Studio Paint updates while active. Since fees have yet to be announced, it’s too early to tell which option will provide artists with the most bang for their buck.

Perhaps confusingly, a 2.0 Perpetual License will be available on Clip Studio Paint’s website. While this one-time purchase does allow users to pay once to access the 2.0 version of the application, it does not include any further updates beyond critical bug fixes.

Artists will, of course, have to determine which updates are most important for them and their needs. If a feature critical to one’s productivity and workflow were to be released as a 2.1 update, there would be no way to purchase the software without an Update Pass or active subscription. 

What are some free alternatives to Clip Studio Paint?

Understandably, many users feel misled by the change in the pricing model and its confusing structure. Those uncertain that Clip Studio Paint’s subscription fee will fit their budget still have many options. 

Open source painting program Krita not only offers a brush engine to rival Clip Studio Paint, animation tools, and a fully customizable interface, but it does so at no cost at all. While perhaps a little clunky for newcomers, Krita provides an easy-to-read manual along with line art and painting tutorials to catch artists up to speed.

Krita is currently available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

For those who prefer to paint on their tablets or phones, MediBang Paint is a manga-focused software that provides tutorials, cloud integration, and team-management tools. Recently, MediBang released Jump Paint, an art lesson app that teaches users how to create manga pages like their favorite Shonen Jump artists like Jujutsu Kaisen’s Gege Akutami. 

MediBang Paint is currently available for Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. 

Stripped down to just the essentials, FireAlpaca lacks some of Clip Studio Paint’s more advanced tools, but it makes up for it by being simple to use and lightweight enough to run on any computer. With comic templates and 3D perspective tools, it has everything needed for an absolute beginner to start making manga. 

Krita is currently available for Windows and Mac.

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