Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Temporal Image Processing

One of the cool new features in Studio Artist 4 is the Temporal Image Operation processing mode. Temporal Image Operations are designed to work with loaded source video and can be used to create static processed images from video sequences, or to create interesting time based video processing effects.

Each output frame generated by a Temporal Image Operation effect is based on multiple source video frames. A user can adjust the time window (or number of frames) used for temporal processing when editing a custom temporal effect preset. The time window could be just a few frames or it could be the entire video sequence depending on what kind of effect you want to create.

Temporal processing effects can be used to encapsulate video motion occurring over time into a single static image.

Video pans can be turned into single static panorama images. The temporal scan tracker effect panorama example below was generated from a source video sequence taken out of the side window of a fast moving car on Maui.

The panorama image below was generated using a temporal slit scan effect processing a short video pan taken from a rotating single position in Honolulu harbor.

Motion in source video sequences can be perceptually slowed down, speeded up, accented or removed in a processed video output file.

One interesting temporal effect is to rotate the time axis in the video so that what was the passage of time becomes horizontal or vertical spatial movement in an individual frame. This can be used to extract moving objects from a video sequence while removing the non-moving background detail.

Time axis rotation can also be used to generate abstract images where the individual object movement over the course of the video sequence shows up as trails or tendrils in the static output image.

Another cool alternative use of temporal processing effects is called stack filtering. Stack filtering works by using temporal ip ops to process a series of individual static images that are not sequential video frames. The example below shows some temporal stack filtering applied to a set of face images.

Temporal Image Operations are just one of the many new features available in Studio Artist 4. For more detailed information on working with the new Temporal Image Operations in Studio Artist 4 check out this tip.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Gallery Show

Gallery Show is a new feature available in Studio Artist 4. You can use it in many different ways. The basic idea behind gallery show was to provide a way to put together customized continuous free standing generative art shows within Studio Artist. You can build custom sets of Studio Artist presets that either work as stand alone artistic imaging effects, or that work in combination to build more complicated visual processing over time. Gallery show will then work with these custom presets in a variety of different ways to generate a series of random processed images over time.

Gallery show gives you control over what kinds of source imagery is being processed during a gallery show run. It could be a single static image, a custom folder of source images, or an endless sequence of live video captures. You have control over how long gallery show pauses after completing a specific generated gallery show image, as well as different potential canvas adjustments that could be made prior to beginning the next generative gallery show image.

The original focus of gallery show was to provide free running generative art functionality for usage in an actual physical art gallery, or perhaps in a digital picture frame driven directly from Studio Artist. But once people started using gallery show it quickly became obvious that there were a lot of other potential uses beyond the initial idea for a free standing customizable art show.

Using Studio Artist's movie stream features, you can stream a gallery show output to either a movie file or to a folder of images. Each frame in the resulting movie (or image file if outputting an image stream) is a unique art image generated by the gallery show processing. Some people run gallery show unattended, and then cull through the resulting output after a few hours looking for 'keeper' images. So gallery show can be used as a way to automatically generate new artistic images.

Automatically generating new preset effects is another way to use gallery show. Everything that gallery show does can be recorded into a history or paint action sequence. So any individual processing associated with a particular gallery show output image can be regenerated and saved as a new preset effect.

Once we realized that there were many different unique ways to work with gallery show we started to enhance it to support some of these new uses customers discovered over time. Gallery show can now mutate or evolve existing presets to construct new ones during a gallery show run. So you are no longer limited to just working with existing sets of prebuilt presets. Gallery show could also be automatically generating unique new effects on the fly while it's running.

The notion of preset randomization was also extended to allow for arbitrary random effect generation for specific Studio Artist operation modes. This can be really useful to help understand the range of possible effects a given Studio Artist effect can generate.

I use this feature often by working with the current image operation effect and seeing what new kinds of visual effects pop up during the gallery show run. Working this way with specific ip op effects, or with the vectorizer surprised me by turning up new visual effects i was not even aware of, based on parameter adjustments or combinations i had not really delved into before.

There are a vast range of potential visual effects that Studio Artist is capable of generating, and automatic exploration tools like the new gallery show features are a useful addition that can help you explore all of the interesting nooks and crannies lurking within Studio Artist.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Festival du Nouveau Cinema Followup

Studio Artist user Jean Detheux has been busy lately with live visual music performances using Studio Artist. The photo above was taken at his recent live performance at Festival du Nouveau Cinema with musician Jean-Philippe Collard-Neven. You can see Jean below (on the left) busy working with Studio Artist on an iMac during the live visual performance.

They also performed the same show the next night at the Case Obscura in Montreal. Here's some additional information on the Oct 21st show.

Pierre Jalbert, the composer of the "L'œil écoute" music for Jean's animated film that premièred in Pittsburgh last July, had that piece performed again in Houston on July 10. The photo above was taken at the Houston performance.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thorrific at Largo Vista Gallery

Studio Artist user Thor Johnson has an exhibit in Lago Vista Gallery at Richland College through November 25th. The work covers topics of spiritual symbology, excess and greed in the 80’s, popular culture satire, and interactive abstract videos developed from a layering of computer based processes.

Thor also gave a live performance at the gallery using Studio Artist on Oct 21st. There's some video of the opening performance and additional information on the show at this link.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Making of Truth Blues

Truth Blues is an award winning independent short film made by Studio Artist user Mike Snell of Blue Wall Design. The film showcases some really creative ways to incorporate Studio Artist processing into an animated film that go way beyond the normal process the entire video frame in one pass approach that is typically used. I recently spoke to Mike about the making of the film.

"As far as the workflow went-- It is a mix of roto-scoped HD video, Photoshopped stills, 3D animated objects and green screened people.  The primary tools were Shake, Motion, Final Cut, Color and of course Studio Artist. I tried many, many variations in the Studio Artist Paint Action Sequence (PASeq) Editor to get to the look I was shooting for.  That is one of the features I truly love about Studio Artist.  You can build up effects and try many variations and then delete, double-up, tweek or add yet another pass all within the PASeq.  

I have found that your software has given me a bit of an edge in a market that often kicks out things that look just like the things the guy down the street kicked out.  After running each individual element through a Studio Artist PASeq I then composited everything in Motion adding camera moves, depth of field etc."

Breaking up the individual elements of an animation scene and then processing them individually with Studio Artist prior to compositing the final scene together is an interesting approach that has a really great visual look that is very unique. Mike used Motion for his final compositing of the individual Studio Artist processed animation elements.

A different approach that would have a very unique aesthetic look unlike any other compositing program would be to run multiple passes of alpha matted or green screened source elements through Studio Artist while painting into a master composition movie file. The PASeq would be constructed so that paint strokes would only occur starting from within the matted source elements, but could then spill outside of the original matte boundaries.

You could use a PASeq Content Context action step to do this in Studio Artist version 4, or content layer keyframes in Studio Artist 3.5. Because the individual elements would be individually painted onto the master movie layer you could incorporate smear and mixing effects as the individual processed scene elements were over-painted that you could never get in a conventional compositing program.

Mike also pointed out a killer feature of Studio Artist, which is that it is an environment for creating an endless variety of custom artistic effects. So when you buy Studio Artist you aren't just getting a set of canned stock effects that everyone in the universe is also using. You're getting the ability to customize and tweak to your hearts content. Either to modify existing effect presets, or to create amazing new effects no one has every seen before that have your own custom signature or aesthetic look.

I think that Mike achieved this with the overall look and feel of Truth Blues. It definitely looks like Studio Artist, but at the same time he has stamped his own personal vision and artistic aesthetic on that Studio Artist look and made it his own.

Make sure to look for Truth Blues at a film festival near you. You can lean more about Blue Wall Design here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Truth Blues

Truth Blues is an award winning film created by Studio Artist user Mike Snell. It features some great Studio Artist processing, and was the winner of the 2009 Kansas City Film Festival's Best of Feature Short and Best Animation awards. You can check out the trailer for Truth Blues at Mike's Blue Wall Design web site here. Mike's demos page on the Blue Wall Design site also includes some additional nice examples of Studio Artist generated video processing.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Festival du Nouveau Cinema

Studio Artist user Jean Detheux will be doing a live visual performance happening in conjunction with acclaimed pianist Jean-Philippe Collard-Neven on October 15th at 9pm. Jean will be working with Studio Artist 4 live during the performance. For more information on the festival check out this link.

Here's a more detailed description of what to expect from the upcoming performance. 'Normally, when you present a piece, you specify your intentions. But in this case, it is the absence of intention that defines our performance. We are not hoping for anything in particular to take place since it is precisely the “whatever happens” that interests us—all the more so if it is beyond our will or our control. We can say that the performance will be comprised of certain elements. There will be music, both early (Frescobaldi, Dowland, Couperin) and contemporary (Jean-Luc Fafchamps, John Adams, Steve Reich, Maurice Ravel, Claude Ledoux, Collard-Neven). There will also be free improvisation, music that doesn’t yet exist but lives only in the realm of possibility. At the same time, there will be images, drawn and reworked, as well as photos that don’t tell a story, a sort of abstract impressionism. Lastly, there will be a painterfilmmaker and a pianist who (re)discovered each other and (re)connnected somewhere beyond time and space and who very much look forward to the unexpected possibilities of their visual and sonic interplay.'

Jean's Studio Artist generated film La Folia is also showing at the festival on October 10th and 14th.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Images According to John

Studio Artist user John Anderson will have some of his Studio Artist generated artwork published in the folio edition of Silvershotz magazine. Silvershotz is an international magazine that will be distributed to over 1200 art dealers and museums as well as book stands throughout the globe.

John has a great online gallery at that showcases his Studio Artist artwork that is well worth checking out.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rays of Light

Studio Artist user Adrian Wagner recently completed his 90 minute film 'Rays of Light'. The film is a journey of light through the spiritual, sacred, and ritual landscapes of the ancient past when centers like Avebury, Callanish, and Stonehenge were created. Rays of Light combines specially composed music with unique moving painted art animation and a narrated account written by John Sharkey, author of the international best selling book Celtic Mysteries.

Adrian says that nearly the entire film was rendered using Studio Artist, with some sections combining together 7 or 8 different layers of auto-rotoscoped paint animation processing. Creating the 90 minute film was a major 8 year odyssey for Adrian, so it's awesome that the finished film is now completed.

Adrian discuses the making of the film and his use of Studio Artist in more depth on his web site. For more information on 'Rays of Light' check out this web link.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

lilac shrieks and scarlet bellowings

"Lilac shrieks and scarlet bellowings" is the result of a collaboration between Studio Artist user Jean Detheux and Mikel Kuehn. It will be shown at the Eastman Computer Music Center in Kilbourn Hall in Rochester New York on October 9th from 8 to 10pm. Jean also has another film entitled "L'ceil écoute" that will be shown with a live score by Pierre Jalbert at Zilkha Hall, The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, in Houston Texas on October 10th from 7:30 to 10pm. Both of these showings are part of associated visual music events in the respective cities. For more information, check out this Rochester link and this Houston link.

Two additional films By Jean, Shade Lost and Shade Recovered, were selected by the "Seeing Sound" event in the UK on September 19th in Bath. You can learn more about this event and the showing times for these 2 films here. For more information on Jean Detheux's work check out his web site here.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Compulsing Through a Tired Millenia: Digital Media by Thorrific

Studio Artist user Thorrific has an art opening tonight August 23rd at the Metrognome Collective in Fort Worth Texas from 7 to 9 pm. There's a live band Twigs and Yarn afterwards from 9 -11pm. Thor's work always puts a smile on my face, so if you're in the Fort Worth area stop by and check it out. The gallery's normal viewing hours are from 4-9 pm thursday-sunday.

The online review states "caustic and needling, Thor's interactive artworks, animations, and static images plainly expose the irony of free-market existence and its sustenance of third world, war-torn suffering."

The Metrognome Collective was formed to educate, promote and assist visual artists, musicians, writers, performers and filmmakers, and is located at 4147 Meadowbroke Dr., Fort Worth, Texas. You can checkout their web site here.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Jean Detheux at Siggraph 2009

Studio Artist animator Jean Detheux will be offering a course at Siggraph in New Orleans on Monday August 3rd from 8:30 to 10:15 am. The course is entitled 'The Making of "Shade Recovered" : Networked Senses at Play'. The course will cover topics like 'An exploration of sense-giving and sense-receiving in the visual aspect of visual music', 'A look at how music informs images, and images inform music', and 'Using Studio Artist in search of fortuitous accidents in time'.

Jean's Studio Artist animated film 'Shade Recovered' is also being presented in the curated reel of the Siggraph 2009 computer animation festival, and will be shown at scheduled times all week during Siggraph 2009. If you are curious about Jean's extensive body of work you can check out his web site at

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Craig Deeley's Hand Drawn Media Presets

Long time Studio Artist user Craig Deeley is an animator and illustrator based in San Diego. An example of his unique artistic style is shown above. This image was grabbed from his art blog GreenLightCD, which is well worth checking out. Craig also has a lot of different hand drawn art examples posted on the Studio Artist User Forum in his photo posts.

Craig has graciously has put together a great collection of Studio Artist 4 paint presets that are especially designed for hand drawing. Studio Artist 4 includes an initial version of this custom preset collection which is called 'CD_hand_draw_media' in the factory preset collection. The categories in this preset collection correspond to different natural media tools and techniques and include things like charcoal, pencil, pastel, ink, watercolor, oils, etc.

You can of course access this manual drawing preset collection in the version 4 preset browser (shown below) like any other preset collection.

But Craig also put together an additional set of custom html documentation for the CD_hand_draw_media collection which you can access in the Studio Artist 4 help browser. This documentation includes detailed instructions and examples for each of the different presets.

You can use the custom CD_hand_draw_media help pages to learn more about what you can do with the individual preset in the collection. The help pages include active links which will load the associated paint presets when clicked.

The initial index page for the CD_hand_draw_media custom preset help pages is shown below. Note how it includes links to more detailed descriptive pages for each preset in the different categories in the collection. You can access Craig's custom preset help pages by pressing the Custom button in the toolbar at the top of the version 4 help browser.

After clicking on the Dry Media Charcoal link you get the following more detailed help page.

Each detailed description page includes examples of what drawing with the preset will look like (as shown above). The blue active links associated with each preset example will load the associated preset when pressed.

Craig's custom help pages for his CD_hand_draw_media paint collection are a great example of what you could do with your own preset collections in Studio Artist 4. Building custom preset help pages for use in the Studio Artist 4 help browser provides a great alternative to the preset browser palette for detailed custom preset organization and access.

Craig recently posted additional manual drawing presets that expand the initial set included with version 4. You can access these new presets for downloading in the Studio Artist User Forum's cool preset sharing group here. Be aware you need to be running Studio Artist 4 to use the presets discussed in this article.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Extending a Black and White MSG Sketch Effect to Color

In a previous Anatomy of a MSG Effect post we discussed the inner workings behind programing a 2 step black and white sketch effect based on 2 different MSG presets combined together in a Paint Action Sequence (PASeq). In this post we'll talk about how that black and white preset could be easily modified to generate color sketch effects.

As you recall from the previous post, our black and white sketch preset consists of 2 different MSG presets. The first generates a thin line continuous sketch of the source image features. The second generated a mass sketch consisting of black circles distributed in an apollonian packing pattern.

For our color sketch effect, we'd like to retain the original black thin feature sketch and combine it with a modified version of the black circle mass sketch preset that renders a colored mass sketch image. The processor chain for the original MSG mass sketch preset is shown below in a screen shot of the MSG Advanced editor palette.

To keep things simple, we'll simply modify the mass sketch preset so it processes the 3 color channels of the source image one by one. So rather than generating a black and white sketch of the luminance, we generate 3 black and white sketches of the 3 source color channels that are then used as the color channels for the output of the MSG preset. This will generate a color mass sketch.

To do this all we have to do is first remove the last 1to3 processor and then duplicate the remaining 2 processors 2 additional times. We then have to modify the IO (input/output) connections for the 2 sets of duplicated processors so that they process the the red and blue channels of the source image. And we want them to output to the associated output color channels. The modified color sketch processor chain is show below.

Once we've edited the mass sketch MSG preset to generate colored output, we now need to edit the original 2 step PASeq so that it uses the new color sketch MSG preset. To do this, simply go to the Paint Action Sequence palette and option click the first keyframe for the second MSG action step.

This will record over the original action step settings with the new color preset you edited. You could also control click the second PASeq action step and run the Interface to Action Step context menu as an alternative to option clicking the first keyframe in the PASeq timeline.

You can export the new PASeq preset if you wish to save it as a new preset file. To run the new sketch effect simply press the play button in the PASeq editor. The result is shown in the image at the top of this post.

If you look closely at the color sketch image at the top of the post you can see that the mass sketch circles associated with the 3 color channels are visually aligned. You can see this by looking at how a black disc appears where ever a circle aligns on the 3 color fields. This alignment is due to the fact that you simply copied the original 1CAbstract7 processor 2 additional times but left the internal parameter settings the same in the copies as the original. If you modify the 2 copies so that they each have a unique random seed parameters then you would get the image below for output when running the preset.

From a distance these 2 images may look very similar. But if you zoom into this new image and compare it with the original one at the top of the post you can see that the circle alignment in the 3 color fields is now gone, along with the associated full black circles. These 2 images can look very different when printed because of the differences in how the colored circles are aligned.

Vector Output from MSG Presets

Another thing to keep in mind is that the vector output or vector printing options discussed in a previous post here for the black and white MSG sketch presets are not going to apply to this modified color sketch preset. You could generate a SVG file from this new MSG color sketch effect, but remember that the SVG vector output stream is based on what gets drawn internally in the MSG preset. The internal drawing is all black and white drawing into single color channels, not integral colored vector drawing. So the streamed SVG vector output would be 3 passes of overlaid black and white vector output. The colored appearance of the output of the MSG effect is due to the combination of the 3 color channels in the raster frame buffer, not due to integral colored vector drawing taking place in a single processor. There are other new MSG processors that do render full color using color vector drawing into 3 color channel output, and those MSG processors would generate colored vector output when streamed into a SVG file.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Dimmer Remissions

Tom Dimuzio's side project Dimmer's latest album called Remissions features some cover artwork generated in Studio Artist 4. The cover image was generated using the new version 4 temporal image processing effects.

The process used to generate the cover photo started with taking a video sequence of a moving truck. The video source footage was then processing with the Studio Artist temporal scan tracker to encapsulate the motion in the video over time into a single static image. A diagonal slit scan setting was used for this particular image with a larger frame tracking setting than some of the other examples shown later in this post to give a courser rendition to the motion encapsulation.

Depending on how you setup the temporal scan tracker settings you can generate very different looking static images off of the same video source footage. One example of the same source video footage processed with different temporal scan tracker settings is shown below.

The next image below again uses the same video footage as the previous 2 images but was generated with different temporal scan tracker settings.

Depending on whether the scan tracker's slit scan setting tracks or inversely tracks object motion in the source video footage you can accent and encapsulate object motion in the output image or diminish or remove moving objects from the output image. You can see this in the 2 images above. Note how the motion of the semi-truck is very noticeable in the second image and almost totally removed from the first image.

There are additional temporal image processing effects in Studio Artist that can generate variations on these kinds of motion effects. And the temporal effects can be used to generate static output images or to generate processed video output.

If you would like to check out some of Tom Dimuzio's music or live performances you can check out his web site here.

Vector Output from MSG Effects

One cool new hidden feature in Studio Artist 4 is the ability to generate vector output from some MSG based effects. I forgot to mention this surprise new feature in the previous blog post on the anatomy of a black and white sketch effect. That particular MSG based sketch effect can be output as a raster canvas image or can be output to SVG or PDF vector files for resolution independent display or printing.

This surprise MSG vector output feature is based on some new vector output capabilities built into Studio Artist 4. Previous versions of Studio Artist could output EPS vector files, and that old vector output support is still available. But it only really worked with the vectorizer and the paint synthesizer. And it was only available as a vector output capability as opposed to being based on direct vector drawing to the screen.

Studio Artist 4 has a number of new features that directly incorporate anti-aliased vector drawing. This includes new vector drawing functions in the paint synthesizer. And some new MSG processors that internally incorporate vector drawing into the effects they create. As it turns out, these new vector drawing MSG processors include the 1CAbstract6 and 1CAbstract7 processors used in the black and white sketch preset described in the previous blog post. Another example of a black and white sketch effect derived from MSG processing that can be output as a vector file is shown below.

The new SVG vector output functionality directly ties into the internal vector drawing engine used in Studio Artist 4. So any Studio Artist functions that incorporate internal vector drawing can be directly spooled to a SVG output file while they are being drawn to the screen. The trick is to just record them as steps in a Paint Action Sequence (PASeq). You can then use the Action : Generate SVG : with Paint Action Sequence menu command to generate a SVG vector file from the PASeq preset.

Remember that only action steps that can generate SVG vector output will work when generating SVG vector output. If some action steps do not support vector output then they will draw on the screen but will not generate any output vectors.

The Generate SVG vector output menus also include a Print with Paint Action Sequence menu. The normal File : Print menu command prints from the raster canvas frame buffer. This additional Action :Generate SVG : Print with Paint Action Sequence menu allows you to print directly from the SVG vector generation process when playing a PASeq. There's an option in that standard print dialog that allows for PDF file output (as opposed to printing),so that's how you could generate a PDF file from a MSG preset effect that supports vector output.

Anatomy of a MSG Effect

I recently was asked how the image above was created. It was generated from a source image of a face that was processed in Studio Artist using a 2 step Paint Action Sequence (PASeq). Both action steps in the PASeq are custom MSG presets I constructed that work together to build the overall BW sketch effect.

The PASeq is a factory preset in Studio Artist 4 called Circle Rendition2, so the effect itself is just one of the thousands of preset effects that are built into Studio Artist. But i thought it would be instructive to delve into the construction of this particular effect in detail to give a feel for the hidden power that lurks within Studio Artist.

MSG stands for Modular Synthesized Graphics and is Studio Artist's modular image processing architecture. In version 4 there are over 500 different MSG image processing modules (called processors) that can be configured together to build an infinite variety of different image or video processing effects.

The particular effect discussed in this article is a black and white sketch effect composed of 2 different internal components. They are a thin line sketch that accents facial features and a mass rendering sketch composed of small black circles. These 2 individual stylistic components work together to build up the overall sketch effect. The Circle Rendition2 PASeq preset is shown below, and you can see that it consists of 2 different MSG action steps.

The thin line sketch is actually based on a MSG processor that solves the traveling salesman problem, but instead of generating an optimal travel route between cities it is plotting an optimal sketch route that travels between different facial features. So it's acting like an artist that does a complete sketch by placing the pen on the canvas and then doing a full sketch while never lifting the pen until the sketch is completed. So the entire sketch is composed of only a single continuously drawn path.

The mass sketch component is again based on a different MSG processor, one that tries to represent the mass of an image using individual black circles placed according to an apollonian packing scheme.

The screenshot below of the MSG Advanced Editor shows the processor chain used to construct the first thin line sketch MSG preset.

The TexFV processor is used to generate a texture or edge map from the source image. The Threshold processor then is used to clip the edge map image output of the TexFV processor. By adjusting the Threshold parameter associated with this Threshold processor you can change the complexity or detail of the sketch. The 1CAbstract6 processor is what generates the traveling salesman sketch based on the clipped edge map input image. It's parameter controls are shown below.

The final 1to3 processor just maps the single channel output of the 1CAbstract6 processor to the full RGB color output channels for the MSG preset.

To recap, the green channel of the source input to the MSG preset was processed to generate an edge map, that was then clipped and used as an input to a path generator that connects all of the clipped edge points in an optimal continuous path. The generated path is the thin line sketch effect. An example of the output from this particular MSG preset effect using a different source image is shown below.

Note how the sketch tries to travel to all of the image feature points without lifting the pen. This particular source image also had a lot of edge detail located at the boundaries of the image. You could use additional processing to remove those features from the sketch if desired.

The second MSG preset used to construct the mass sketch based on apollonian packed circles is very similar in nature to the first preset described above. The preset' processor chain can be seen below.

A key difference between this preset and the previous one is that an edge map is not constructed as a part of the effect. Instead the processing takes place directly using the green source channel as input to a ThresholdRamp MSG processor. Again, the previous preset was trying to generate a sketch to represent the source image details (or edges) while this second preset is trying to represent the mass (or luminance) of the source image with black circles. The ThresholdRamp processor acts to boost the contrast of the mass sketch. By adjusting the Threshold and Radius parameters you could control the amount of contrast enhancement, or dial in a more linear tone range to the sketch.

The 1CAbstract7 processor is what generates the apollonian packed circles. Apollonian packing is a mathematical technique for optimally close packing circles into a constrained area, and has a nice stylized appearance. The output of the ThresholdRamp processor is the input to the 1CAbstract7 process that renders it's input using apollonian packed circles. If you didn't care about contrast enhancement you could skip the ThresholdRamp processor step and just use the source image as a direct input into this processor. Again, the last step is a 1to3 processor which just maps the single channel output image into a 3 channel color output for the MSG preset.

The output of this second MSG mass sketch preset is shown below.

Pay close attention to the packing of the circles. the circles touch but never overlap. The final sketch output from the 2 MSG presets discussed above working together to build a finished sketch effect is shown below.

The more technically sophisticated reader may be wondering why the green source channel was used for creating the 2 component sketch effects since it's not really the source luminance but just a crude approximation. You could easily modify these 2 presets to work off of the source image luminance directly. To do this, you would use a RGBtoYIQ processor as the first step in the processor chain, and then use the Y channel output as the input for the subsequent processing steps.

Also, there's no reason why you couldn't construct a single MSG preset that incorporated the internal components of both of the presets described above into a single preset. But the nice thing about using a PASeq to build up an effect like this is that you can work with a library of MSG presets that are easy to understand and build up specific components that work together to create a more complicated effect. Building the PASes is as simple as running the individual processing effects one at a time while PASeq recording is turned on.