Sunday, April 29, 2007

Michael Wright to be Guest Artist at Siggraph 2007

Michael Wright is a digital art pioneer and long time user of Studio Artist. Michael will be a guest artist at this summer's Siggraph Conference in San Diego Aug 5-9. Michael will also have one of his Studio Artist paintings curated into the Siggraph Gallery this year. If you have never been to a Siggraph convention, its definitely worth checking out at . There's something for everyone, whether you're more artistically focused or technically inclined. Michael's portrait virus project in the Siggraph Guerilla Studio was always a favorite of mine info on the portrait virus . Guerilla Studio is also a great resource for digital artists since they provide free access to large format printers, computers, and other cutting edge digital art technology as a resource for digital artists attending the conference.

To learn more about Michael and his extensive body of work you can check out his web site here .

Friday, April 27, 2007

Painting with Chaotic Attractors

I previously discussed using Studio Artist to paint a chaotic attractor by using a MSG IFS preset to drive the paint synthesizer path start generator. In this example we will turn the tables and use an IFS attractor as a paint brush to paint a source image.

The small insert image at the left shows the IFS attractor generated using one of the factory MSG presets in the Abstract/Attractors-BW category. I then used this MSG preset as a MSG Live Source Brush in a simple paint preset. The image at the left shows a 100% blend for the brush application, which generates a fairly abstract final appearance. To create the image on the right i knocked the blend down to 10% and used the Auto-mask Paint Nib paint synthesizer macro edit menu to quickly edit the preset so it auto-masks while painting on the fly. You could do this manually by adjusting the Nib Masking popup in the Paint Fill Apply control panel.

What you will find is that the repeated application of the textured brush creates an overall textured feel to the final canvas. This final overall textured feel is influenced by the texture(s) in the source brush but can have a different final appearance than the actual source brush texture itself. In the image on the right, the final canvas texture looks like pastel applied to a textured paper instead of the very stylized appearance of the original source brush.

By modulating the brush size and or orientation you can generate a much more complex overall canvas textured aesthetic. For example, the image on the right was created with the brush size modulated by the Inverse Texture Energy modulator. Modulating the source brush texture can create even more richness to the overall canvas texture. For example, you could use temporal generators in the MSG IFS preset to create a series of different chaotic attractor brush textures over time.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Sharon Katz's Hand Drawn Animation

We often focus on Studio Artist's automated paint animation capabilities, but you also have the ability in Studio Artist to do extensive hand drawn paint animation if you so desire. Sharon Katz is an animator and graphic artist based in Canada who's been using Studio Artist to create hand drawn animated films. Her most recent film 'Slide' is the winner of numerous awards and has been screening at a large number of international film festivals over the last year, including recent showings at the Dawson City International Short Film Festival and the Ottawa International Animation Festival. Sharon designs her own custom paint presets and then builds up animated sequences frame by frame using Studio Artist's loaded canvas movie features.

You can learn more about Slide as well as check out some excerpts of the film at Sharon's web site.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Procedural Painting of Chaotic Attractors

Procedural art can be thought of as abstract artwork created by manipulating algorithmic formulas. MSG Evolver allows for the creation of a wide range of different abstract procedural artistic styles. Chaotic Attractors are a certain kind of fractal imagery that can be created using MSG processors based on IFS Generators (IFS stands for iterated function system). You can think of an IFS fractal as plotting the behavior of a chaotic dynamic system over time. Or you can ignore the mathematical description and just observe that they have a very stylized visual appearance and look cool when key-frame animated in MSG Evolver.

One of the more obscure features of Studio Artist is the ability to configure the Paint Synthesizer to work with the output of some MSG Processors to drive the Path Start Generator. For example, you could use a chaotic attractor created by one of the MSG IFS Generators to drive procedural painting in Studio Artist.

A simple application of this approach would be to use a path length of 1 and just paint in the attractor with your source brush. I've recently been exploring an alternative approach that draws lines from the previous path start point to the current path start point. There is a new path generation option in the path load path types called 'last path start lineto' that lets you do this kind of drawing. You can think of this as a way to create a fuzzy attractor. It's an alternative way to visualize a chaotic attractor and has a somewhat different aesthetic than the normal plot the individual points way of viewing them that looks more like a freeform shaded abstract sketch.

Of course things get more interesting if you start working with colored painting and more complex paint strokes. For example, you could use the output of a different MSG preset to create a colored abstract image and use this as your source image. This is a way to procedurally paint the fuzzy attractor using the colors found in the abstract colored source image. While the colors are spatially determined by their arrangement in the source image, the actual painted shape will be determined by the IFS chaotic attractor.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Brian Ansell's Underwater Digital Art

Brian Ansell is a famous long time underwater photographer from Melbourne Australia who stopped by for a visit recently while vacationing on Oahu. I was really impressed with the stunning digital treatments he created within Studio Artist of his underwater imagery. Brian is actually a fairly new Studio Artist user and i was very pleased that someone just getting started with Studio Artist was able to create such compelling artwork so quickly. Brain has been exploring among other things Studio Artist's Paint Synthesizer, Texture Synthesizer, Vectorizer, and Image Processing effects with a real eye for how they can enhance his wonderful underwater photographs. You can check out some of Brian's work at .

Bob Kuhn's Gallery

I'm always curious what Studio Artist users are up to. Bob Kuhn recently sent me a link to his online gallery of limited edition prints that were created with the help of Studio Artist. Bob is a great photographer who works with Studio Artist auto-paint treatments to enhance his digital photographs into gorgeous limited edition giclee prints that have a painterly feel and are printed on high quality imported water color paper. You can check out Bob's work at .

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Jean Detheux at Boston CyberArts Festival

Jean Detheux will be showing 2 of his award winning Studio Artist animated films at the Boston CyberArts Festival in the Visual Music Marathon. You can check out some still images and learn more at .

Jean is also hard at work on another live improvised Studio Artist happening. At these happenings Jean visually improvises with Studio Artist in real time projecting his real time visual imagery live behind simultaneously improvising musicians. We'll be posting some more information on that upcoming event soon.

Year of the Fish Updates

David Kaplan's independent film Year of the Fish is a stunning example of what a talented individual with a copy of Studio Artist can create with a small budget and some vision. The entire film was animated using Studio Artist and it's really a visual feast to watch. Year of the Fish premiered at Sundance this year and is currently doing the festival circuit. The main Year of the Fish web site at has a trailer you can watch now as well as the beautiful stills gallery.

Upcoming screenings include:

SF asian american film festival:

AFI dallas film festival: f

independent film festival boston:

Tell your friends and be sure to check out Year of the Fish when it comes to your town, or wait in anticipation for the DVD release.

Vernon Reid's Artificial Afrika now on Current TV

Vernon Reid is an amazing musician and guitar player who also manages to find time to be a longtime Studio Artist user and graphic artist. A short video of his Artificial Afrika exhibition was recently posted to Current TV at . You can check out some excerpts of Vernon's work with Studio Artist in the video as well as watch him jam some music at the exhibition.

Artifical Afrika is an art exhibit curated by C. Daniel Dawson and Vernon Reid that showcases some of Vernon’s visual art. Artificial Afrika is an exhibition that considers contemporary artistic appropriations of African visual culture while deconstructing myths and inventions to challenge the validity of images that continue to define the idea of Africa. The main web site for the exhibition is at .

Welcome to Studio Artist News

Welcome to Studio Artist News. We created this blog to provide a source of new information for Studio Artist Users. We'll be profiling Studio Artist Users, providing Studio Artist tips, discussing computer art, digital painting, visual perception, video special effects, etc.

Studio Artist is the award winning graphics synthesizer created by Synthetik Software. Studio Artist's unique auto-rotoscoping capabilities, based on academic research into cognitive neuroscience and visual perception in the brain, allow for automatic or intelligent assisted painting of either still images or video.

Studio Artist is an extremely powerful interactive software program that can be used for many diverse applications including digital painting, photo manipulation and image processing effects, auto rotoscoping, video painting and video special effects, live video processing, hand drawn or keyframe interpolated or dynamic procedural animation, image and video warping or morphing, photo mosaic and movie mosaic effects, texture synthesis, raster to vector conversion, fractal or chaotic attractor or procedural computer art generation, etc.

Studio Artist’s Paint Synthesizer takes a lot of ideas from music synthesis and audio software and brings them to the realm of computer graphics and video processing. You have extensive control over editing the look and feel of a digital paint brush through over 450 editable parameters. We also offer the most extensive interactive support for Wacom tablets which greatly enriches the interactive digital painting experience through the use of a pressure and tilt sensitive pen for drawing or painting. Thousands of pre-built preset paint brushes and effects come with Studio Artist. These presets can all be customized through parameter editing or you can build new ones from scratch.

Studio Artist also includes an extensive suite of image processing, texture synthesis, image warping and image adjustment functionality. Multiple individual actions within Studio Artist can be scripted by recording a sequence of painting or image processing steps as a Paint Action Sequence. A Paint Action Sequence can be thought of as a stylistic script that can then be applied to multiple images or to movie files. Because Studio Artist includes extensive intelligent visual modeling based on academic research in cognitive neuroscience under the hood of its various processing modules, paint and image processing effects can adapt to different images or video frames to intelligently render them in a specified artistic style.

Studio Artist 3.5 ships with the MSG Evolver application as well as an integrated Supersizer Interpolator. MSG Evolver is the editing application you can use to create and edit MSG (modular synthesized graphics) presets. MSG presets can be used in Studio Artist as image processing or video effects as well as paint brushes or path start generators in the Studio Artist paint synthesizer. MSG presets can also procedurally self animate over time to create dynamic abstract animations or video special effects.

Supersizer allows you to take a small photo or video frame and make it much larger without the block artifacts associated with conventional interpolation techniques (like bi-cubic interpolation). Supersizer can be used to take very small jpeg images and blow them up for high quality print applications, or to up-res digital video to high-def or even larger format sizes. We’ll be exploring both of these additional topics in depth over time.

You can learn more about Studio Artist and Synthetik Software at