Surface 3 and Manga Studio Review

Surface 3 and Manga Studio Review

A couple months ago, I convinced myself to buy a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 (128GB solid state drive, 4GB ram, and i5 processor). Its roughly the size of a standard letter size piece of paper with a 12″ diagonal screen and weighs less than two pounds, which makes it perfect to take with me wherever I go. Also, the easy access to iCloud Drive and dropbox make it easy to transfer working files to a different computer, send proofs or deliver final art.

My recent switch to the Surface Pro 3 was my excuse to fully dive in to Manga Studio. I’ve used it here and there for the last year or so, but have always gone back to Photoshop and Illustrator for the majority of my illustration work.

When I bought my Surface, I immediately installed MS5 (along with the indispensable brush sets from Ray Frenden) and started drawing. The first thing that I noticed was that the interface was very touch screen friendly. There is really no real need to pull up the on-screen keyboard (or use a Bluetooth keyboard) with this program. Everything that I need is right in from of me and the tool palettes are easy to hide, making more room for the art. The way the brushes work in Manga Studio (vs. the Adobe products) is much more smooth and realistic in both the act of drawing and the finished art. So far I have not had any major performance issues while working in Manga Studio on files as big as 24″x36″ at 400dpi. I also haven’t really used any Adobe products on it yet, as I’ve now completely transitioned into illustrating in Manga Studio.

The combo of the Surface 3 and Manga Studio has given me a fully functioning portable studio. I am now able to work on sketches, “ink” an illustration or comic, hand letter a logo or poster, and create a fully finished album cover or t-shirt from anywhere.