Whether you need to mirror your work, draw identical objects, or just create a beautiful pattern, Clip Studio Paint’s symmetrical ruler gives you a lot of options for creating awesome artwork.
Personally, I love putting down a multi-line symmetry ruler and drawing random strokes. It’s a relaxing, stress-free way to create art that ends up looking funky and unique.
However you plan to use the symmetrical ruler in Clip Studio Paint for your own art, we’re going to walk through the settings you need to know to make the most of it.
Firstly, let’s talk about how to access Clip Studio Paint’s symmetrical ruler in the first place.
How to Turn on Clip Studio Paint’s Symmetrical Ruler
To access Clip Studio Paint’s symmetry ruler, tap on the ruler button in your tool menu. This is indicated by a triangle icon.
Next, click on the “Sub Tool” menu and click on the “Symmetrical ruler” button. While we still need to adjust the settings, the symmetrical ruler is now selected and ready to use at its default settings.
Now, let’s talk about adjusting the symmetrical ruler settings so that you can customize it for your needs.
To access the symmetry ruler’s settings, click on the “Tool property” button. We’ll walk through each of the settings, one-by-one.
Number of Lines: Symmetry Ruler Setting
The number of lines slider within the symmetry ruler settings can be confusing at first glance. It’s easy to think that it’s determining the number of symmetry lines that will be placed down.
But, if you choose 2 lines and place down your symmetry ruler, you’ll see that only 1 symmetry line appears. What?
Well, the number of lines slider is NOT determining the number of symmetry lines in your ruler. Instead, it’s determining how many lines YOU can draw.
So, if we choose 2 lines, place your ruler, and start drawing, everything you draw will appear twice. Essentially, there are 2 spaces where your drawing will be reflected and appear.
That’s why it’s easier to think of this slider as the number of spaces you would like instead of the number of lines you’d like. Though, once you go beyond 2, it’s likely that the number of spaces and the number of symmetry lines will match.
For example, I need 6 symmetry lines in order to create 6 spaces and areas that my drawing lines will be reflected in.
Line Symmetry Checkbox: Symmetry Ruler Setting
The “Line symmetry” checkbox determines whether your ruler will use rotational symmetry or not.
If the checkmark is left on, the design is mirrored within each of the spaces of your symmetrical ruler.
If the checkmark is turned off, rotational symmetry will be applied.
What the heck is rotational symmetry? Basically, rotational symmetry will rotate your design instead of mirroring it.
If you only have a single symmetry line, this will make your drawing appear upside down or backwards.
Look at this example of rotational symmetry below compared to the example above when line symmetry was left on.
If you have multiple symmetry lines, your drawing will look like it’s rotating around your canvas between your symmetry lines.
Rotational symmetry is always used if you have an odd number of lines. This is why the checkbox becomes unavailable. If you have an even number of lines, you can choose whether you want to use rotational symmetry or not.
Step of Angle: Symmetry Ruler Setting
The “Step of angle” slider determines the angle your ruler will rotate. As you drag your symmetry line around your screen, you’ll see that your line will snap to whatever angle value you’ve selected in your slider, as long as the “Step of angle” checkmark is checked.
This can be really helpful if you want your symmetry lines to be at a specific angle.
Create at Editing Layer: Symmetry Ruler Setting
If the checkmark next to “Create at editing layer” is kept on, your symmetrical ruler will be added to the existing layer you currently have selected.
If you turn the checkmark off, when you add your symmetrical ruler to your canvas, it will automatically be created on a brand new layer. This is a great way to use your symmetry ruler on a new layer without having to manually add the new layer yourself.
Alright, so those are all of the settings within the “Tool property” menu for the symmetry ruler. But, that doesn’t mean we’re done!
There are a handful of additional features and settings you’ll want to know about in order to make the most out of your symmetry ruler.
How to Turn the Symmetrical Ruler Off
To turn off your symmetry ruler, you have a few options.
If your symmetry ruler is on a separate layer, simply click on the eyeball icon to turn off the layer’s visibility, which will essentially turn off your symmetry ruler.
If you want to turn your symmetry ruler back on again, click on the eyeball again to make your layer visible.
If your symmetry ruler is on a layer with art elements you want to maintain, click on the symmetry ruler icon. From the list of options, click on the “Show Ruler” button so it’s no longer checked. This will turn off your symmetry ruler.
If you want to turn your symmetry ruler back on again, click on the “Show Ruler” button again to enable it.
Show in All Layers: Symmetry Ruler Setting
If you’re using a number of different layers, it can be frustrating if your symmetry ruler disappears every time you switch layers. What if you want to use the same symmetry ruler across all of your layers? Well, you can!
Navigate to your layers panel and click on the symmetry icon on the layer where you first laid down your symmetry ruler.
Within the options that show up, choose the “Show in All Layers” button. This will apply your symmetry ruler across all of your layers.
Create a Vertical or Horizontal Symmetry Ruler
If you want to create a vertical or horizontal symmetry ruler, you don’t have to worry about manually finding the correct angle.
There are two ways to do this. Your first option is to set your step of angle to 90.
Your second option is to use the shift key.
Simply hold down the “shift” key as you drag your symmetry line vertically or horizontally. This will make it snap to a vertical or horizontal position.
If you’re using a tablet, swipe right on the left side of your screen to expose the keyboard. This is where you’ll find the “shift” button.
Moving Your Symmetrical Ruler
To move your symmetrical ruler around your Clip Studio Paint canvas, click on the move tool. The move tool is the one with the icon of the four arrows.
With the move tool selected, click on your symmetry line and move it to where you need it to be on your canvas.
Adjusting Your Symmetrical Ruler
To adjust your symmetrical ruler, click on the operation tool. The operation tool is the one with the icon of a computer mouse and cube.
With the operation tool selected, click on your symmetry line. Similar to what we talked about in the last section with the move tool, you’ll be able to move your symmetry ruler around your canvas. You’ll be able to do more than that though!
Notice the nodes that have appeared on your symmetry ruler. These are points that you can click on and move around to adjust the angle and positioning of your symmetry ruler.
Have Your Eraser Snap to Your Symmetrical Ruler
We’ve talked a lot about how to draw with your symmetry ruler on, but what if you need to erase?
Well, your eraser won’t automatically follow the rules of your symmetry layer. By default, it will erase only what you erase, without it impacting any other sections of your symmetry ruler. You can change this though!
If you want your eraser to snap to your symmetry ruler, start by clicking on your eraser’s “Tool property” button. Next, click on the wrench at the bottom of your “Tool property” menu.
Navigate to the “Correction” menu and click the checkbox next to “Enable snapping”.
This will make your eraser snap to your symmetry ruler, which means that it’ll follow along according to the symmetry ruler you’ve set up. Pretty neat, right?
Clip Studio Paint’s symmetry ruler has some awesome features that can take your art to the next level. I personally have so much fun experimenting with this ruler to create new effects for my art. I hope you do too!
Diana has been an artist for over 25 years and has training in drawing, painting, digital drawing and graphic design. Diana’s latest obsession is digitally drawing with Procreate and creating t-shirt designs with Canva. Diana has experience selling her art across a number of platforms and loves helping other artists learn how to make money from their art as well.