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Clip Studio Paint vs. Photoshop

Clip Studio Paint vs. Photoshop

Clip Studio Paint is a painting and animating program, while Photoshop is an image editor with drawing features.

As both are paid, choosing the right one may be challenging, but this is the battle of Clip Studio Paint vs. Photoshop to help you decide.

The difference

Clip Studio Paint is developed to sketch, draw, paint, and animate designs, while Photoshop is a manipulation program to edit and export photos.

Clip Studio Paint is mostly used for Comics to bring characters to life. It supports 2D animation, but animating 3D is possible.

Photoshop does not have animation features, but you can work on 3D editing for as long as possible.

Clip Studio Paint vs. Photoshop: Tools

Editing tools

Clip Studio Paint vs Photoshop
Clip Studio Paint vs. Photoshop Tools

Both offer an array of editing tools. As mentioned, Photoshop is for photos, so you find more photo editing options. Some of the tools are:

  • Lasso and select tool
  • Magic wand
  • Quick and object selection
  • Slice tools
  • Eyedropper
  • Ruler
  • Spot healing brush tool
  • Healing brush tool
  • Patch tool
  • Content-aware move tool
  • Layers
  • Layer blending
  • Red-eye tool
  • Clone tool
  • Color replacement
  • Paint bucket tool
  • Blur, sharpen, smudge and dodge
  • Burn, sponge, type, and vertical type
  • Free pen
  • Curvature pen
  • Path select
  • Direct select
  • Line tool
  • Parametric shape
  • Custom shape tool
  • Hand tool
  • Rotate view
  • Swatches
  • Magic eraser
  • Single-row select tool
  • Single column select tool
  • Frame tool
  • 3D material eyedropper tool
  • Color sample tool
  • Crop
  • Count tool
  • Mixer brush tool
  • Clone stamp tool
  • Pattern stamp tool
  • History brush tool
  • Art history brush tool
  • Add and delete anchor point tools
  • Convert point tool
  • Path selection tool
  • Direct selection tool
  • Vertical type mask tool
  • Horizontal type mask tool
  • 3D text
  • Subject selection tool

Clip Studio Paint has fewer options, but compared to Photoshop, you find more brushes and shapes. Here are its standard tools:

  • Auto-select tools
  • Eyedropper
  • Six pen tools
  • Selection
  • Pencil and mechanical pencil
  • Seven brush tools
  • Airbrush
  • Decoration brushes
  • Eraser (6 brushes)
  • Blend (7 tools)
  • Fill
  • Gradient
  • Figure tool
  • Frame border tool
  • Ruler
  • Text tool
  • Balloon
  • Correct line tool
  • Animation timeline
  • Layers
  • Crop

You can also download additional brushes, images, and shapes to use in your projects. In total, the materials are over 10,000 in number and 2.5GB in size.

Regarding tools, both closely resemble Krita. Check out Krita’s comparison with Clip Studio Paint and Photoshop.

Winner: Tie


Animating in Clip Studio Paint EX

Clip Studio Paint has two programs: Clip Studio Paint PRO and Clip Studio Paint EX. The PRO supports up to 24 frames per animation, while the EX version supports unlimited.

You can draw on image sequences and animate them. It uses a timeline to add animation cells where each cell is a frame. The program also supports animation folders, keyframes, and onion skin.

Ease of use

Although the tools are properly categorized, both have a steep learning curve. Looking at both for the first time, you won’t see many differences.

Compared to Photoshop, Clip Studio Paint has a crowded interface, but I feel that it is a little bit easier if you are starting. The problem begins when you go deep into the tools.

Photoshop has fewer interface options, but most of those can easily confuse new users. It does not get as difficult as Clip Studio Paint but it still makes you think.

Winner: Tie


Clip Studio Paint Workspaces
Clip Studio Paint Workspaces

As you know that both are highly customizable, so both have suitable workspaces. For example, Clip Studio Paint has an Illustration workspace that shows illustration-specific tools. Other workspaces are:

  • Comic
  • By Category

Photoshop has more workspaces than Clip Studio:

  • 3D
  • Graphic and Web
  • Motion
  • Painting
  • Photography

You can save a customized interface as a workspace to speed up the editing process.

Winner: Photoshop

Related: Photoshop vs. Photoshop Elements 2022


Both are offered on multiple platforms. Clip Studio Paint is available on:

  • Windows
  • macOS
  • Linux
  • iPad
  • iPhone
  • Android
  • Samsung Galaxy devices
  • Chromebook

The majority of options are available on Windows, macOS, and Linux. The tablet and mobile versions come with fewer but essential features.

Photoshop is available on Windows, Mac, Linux, iPad, iPhone, and Android. Like the opponent, the mobile versions have fewer options. The iPad has a few more, though.

Winner: Tie

Exporting files

File Formats in Photoshop

You can export files in common image formats, including JPEG, PNG, and TGA.

Photoshop supports over 20 formats (given below), while Clip Studio Paint supports a few less, but you get to export animations as videos. It also brings exporting animation frames, cells, and image sequences.

Here are the common extensions:

  • BMP
  • JPEG
  • PNG
  • TIFF
  • TGA
  • PSB (Photoshop file)
  • PSD (Photoshop file)
  • PDF
  • GIF

Here are the formats that only Photoshop supports:

  • DCS 1.0 and 2.0
  • RAW
  • Portable Bitmap
  • SCT
  • Dicom
  • MPO
  • EPS
  • PCX
  • IFF
  • PXR

Finally, here are the formats that you only see in Clip Studio Paint:

  • Clip (own format)
  • MP4 (animation video)
  • QuickTime (only on Apple products)

Winner: Tie

Extra features

  • Both are cross-platform, so you can start a project on one platform and continue on a different one.
  • Cloud storage is a part of both tools. You get 10GB with Clip Studio Paint, while Photoshop offers 20GB to 1TB.
  • Both offer a free trial.
  • Filters are available in both programs.


Clip Studio Paint and Photoshop Pricing
Clip Studio Paint and Photoshop Pricing

Both separate desktop and mobile licenses. As discussed, Clip Studio Paint has two versions: PRO and EX.

The difference between PRO and EX is that PRO is a dimmed-down version that limits some options. For example, you can only create 24 frames of animations.

The PRO asks for a one-time fee of $50 for a Windows or macOS license. The EX version costs $219 in total. The iOS version is entirely free, while you register separately on Android.

The company has introduced subscription models. You can subscribe to the PRO plan for $4.49 per month or $24.99 per year.

The EX version costs $8.99 monthly or $71.99 yearly. The prices are for one device. The dual device plans cost a bit more money. You can expect three months of free trial with the subscription-based packages.

Photoshop contrarily is available in three plans, each costing differently. The Photography plan has:

  • Photoshop desktop and iPad apps
  • Lightroom and Lightroom Classic
  • Lightroom mobile
  • 20GB or 1TB storage for Photoshop files

You pay $9.99 per month on the annual contract for the 20GB and $19.99 for the 1TB plan.

The Photoshop plan costs $20.99 per month on the yearly contract and gives you access to:

  • Photoshop desktop and iPad
  • Adobe Fresco
  • Photoshop Express (mobile)
  • Photoshop Camera
  • Adobe Express
  • 100GB storage

The plan is available on the month-to-plan and the pay upfront annual tier.

Lastly, you can access over 25 Adobe apps, which costs $55 per month on the yearly contract. The plans are based on the Abobe US website. The plans and prices are region dependent.

Which one is for you?

The answer is in your needs. Clip Studio can do quick image edits, but for sketches, drawings, illustrations, and animations, Photoshop is nowhere near.

Photoshop has the power of image editing, and if this is something you want to pursue, this is the program you need.


Wrap up

So, this is the wrap-up for the Clip Studio Paint vs. Photoshop battle. Thanks for coming here, and please let me know if you have questions or suggestions in the comments, and keep designing.