Monday, April 27, 2009

Tucker Stilley at Monte Vista Projects

Studio Artist user Tucker Stilley (aka New Jack Rasputan) has an on-going exhibition at the Monte Vista Projects in LA. The exhibition is part installation, part interactive performance. The walls are covered with digital prints of various sizes, rendered in a loose, lively, collage-like style, as well as passages of printed text — fragments of his own conversation, primarily, as spoken through a computer. The interactive element comes by way of a monitor with a live feed to Stilley’s residence in Pasadena, where he has remained during gallery hours through the duration of the show, watching the activity in the gallery via surveillance camera, making work, demonstrating his methods and chatting with anyone who wishes to communicate.

The exhibition is part of a larger project, “The Permanent Record of NewJack Rasputin,” collected under the aegis of a website at The live feed 'Hole in Space' can be checked out here, or via the site

The LA Times has a great review of the exhibition you can check out here. Tucker's work is pretty inspiring, and it's great that he's using Studio Artist to generate it. You can also check out some of Tucker's additional work via the Studio Artist User Forum here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Jean Detheux April Updates

Studio Artist user Jean Detheux has recently posted a nice collection of some of his newer Studio Artist animation clips to his web site The clips also include some of his live improvised visual performances in addition to the rendered animation pieces. You can check out all this new material at this link.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Christopher Werronen's Stereoscopic 3D Studio Artist Films

Studio Artist user Christopher Werronen has been exploring creating Stereoscopic 3D cartoon style video effects using Studio Artist. There are a few people I'm aware of who have used the Studio Artist paint synthesizer to create 3D stereoscopic painted imagery but this is the first user i'm aware of who is creating cartoon style stereoscopic 3d films.

Christopher works with a twin Canon HV-30 HDV camera rig for shooting his stereographic source footage. The cameras are first mounted on a slide bar, something like a tripod plate that holds 2 cameras at adjustable distances from each other. The minimum distance used on the shoots was 72mm centers, just wider than the 65mm typical of adult human ocular spread. For long vista shots this can extend to a maximum slide bar width of 104mm. The relative angles of the cameras during shooting, as well as the separation between the images as they are combined in post, show depth when viewed through cyan and amber glasses easily and inexpensively available online.

Christopher then processes the 2 matching channels of his raw footage one at a time through Studio Artist using a Paint Action Sequence designed to create a cartoon style effect. He then uses Nuke in post to recombine the procesed footage into a single color coded anaglyph stereoscopic film, which can be viewed in stereo with colored stereoscopic glasses. Here's an example of a stereoscopic color anaglyph frame image.

Christopher has posted several different stereoscopic film examples created with Studio Artist in the user forum here. You will want to wear stereoscopic glasses while watching these to get the 3D effect. For more information on the specifics of Christopher's stereoscopic video generation workflow you can check out this article.

In reading the article on how Christopher creates the final stereoscopic films i'm wondering whether a lot of the processing he's doing in Nuke could be done directly in Studio Artist. For example, you could use Studio Artist image operations to combine the 2 processed left and right movies into a single color coded anaglyph movie. We'll try to explore that as well as how to create stereoscopic paintings in more depth in a future blog post.

Christopher is also looking for other Studio Artist users to collaborate with for creating 3D painted videos. You can contact him here.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Creating Photo Mosaic Effects in Studio Artist

There's an extremely wide range of different photo mosaic style photo effects that can be generated using Studio Artist. These include the traditional regular block photo mosaics to more exotic adaptive irregular shaped photo mosaics or even movie mosaics (movies made up of a collection of smaller movies).

The image below is an example of a photo mosaic image created by Studio Artist user Charis Tsevis. You can check out more of his work here.

There are many different approach you can take to creating photo mosaic imagery in Studio Artist. This post will provide an overview of some of these different techniques.

To build a custom photo mosaic image in Studio Artist, you first need to convert a folder of your custom images into a Quicktime movie. Each frame in the movie file corresponds to one of your custom images. The movie file can then be used in Studio Artist as a movie source brush and/or movie background texture.

Converting a folder of images to a movie file is straightforward in Studio Artist. You build a simple 1 step Paint Action Sequence (PASeq) that sets the canvas to the source image. You then run the action menu command that processes a folder of images with a paint action sequence to a movie file.

Once you have a movie file containing the sub-images you want to use in your photo mosaic, you can then import that movie file as a movie source brush or movie background texture. The easiest way to do this is to use an existing photo mosaic preset and then run the 'File : Paint Synthesizer : New Movie Brush...' menu to import your custom movie brush to replace the existing one in the photo mosaic paint preset.

The 3.5 tutorial movie disk #2 includes tutorials on 'Converting a Folder of Images to a Movie with a PASeq' and 'Photo Mosaic Paint Effects Using a Movie Brush'. These 2 tutorial movies explain the 2 step process i described above to creating a custom photo mosaic preset in much more detail.

There's also a section in the Studio Artist 3.5 User Guide on page 370 called 'Using Movie Brushes to Generate Photo Montage Effects' that explains the 2 steps described above.

There are a number of different paint presets in the '3.5 Collection' and 'Graffiti Brushes' category that can be customized to create regular grid style photo mosaic effects.

To create irregular adaptive shape style photo mosaics you can use one of the path start regionize generators in the paint synthesizer along with the 'region fill as brush' pen mode. There's a news blog post here that includes some example brick wall photo mosaic presets of this type. Again, you can easily customize these presets by using your own custom movie brush.

You can also use the Studio Artist Vectorizer or different Image Operations to create adaptive shapes from a source image that the paint synthesizer could then fill in with a movie source brush to create unique photo mosaic effects. Using the vectorizer to drive paint synth regionization is discussed here.

You can create movie brushes with embedded alpha channels. This is a different approach to creating non-regular photo mosaics where the individual images in the mosaic have individual shapes that are based on an alpha channel for each image. An example and explanation of how to do this is shown in this post. Note that you should use Safari to read this older blog (or if you use Firefox make sure your default text preference is set to something other than black to see the text).

Studio Artist 3.5 also ships with a separate application called MSG Evolver. MSG Evolver includes something called the Art Mapper, which can be used to create photo mosaic effects from a database of images. Instead of using a movie brush, you use a photo database created in Evolver to store your custom images. For more information on MSG Evolver check out this post. For detailed information on using MSG Evolver check out the MSG Evolver User Guide pdf.

To create a custom image database you run the 'Process : ArtMap : Generate Poster Index...' menu. This menu command will ask you to select a folder of images and will then have you name 3 files it will generate (the poster, feature vector, and index files). These 3 generate files are the image database that Evolver uses to create photo mosaic effects. Once your image database is created, you can then use the 'File : Preferences : Choose ArtMap Poster Index...' menu command to select the 3 files associated with your image database. You can build different image databases that access different sets ofimages and use the preference menu to swap them in and out of Evolver.

You should read 'Chapter 5: ArtMap' of the MSG Evolver User Guide for more detailed information on using the ArtMapper. The section of this chapter titled 'Working with Photo Databases in a Poster Index' described in more detail how to generate a custom image database for use in Evolver as described above.

You can also use MSG Evolver to create movie mosaics (movies created from a collection of smaller movies). To do this you just build your Evolver database from a folder of movie files as opposed to a folder of images. For more information on movie mosiacs check out these links post and post1. You can also create movie mosaics directly in Studio Artist using a movie source brush and 2D indexing into the movie brush.

You can also use Studio Artist to create moving photo mosaic animations. An example of this is shown in this post.

Note: Some of the links on this blog entry point to the old Studio Artist 3.5 blog. As mentioned above you should really use Safari to read those older blog posts. If you do use Firefox, you will need to make sure your Firefox default text color preference is set to something other than black in order to read the text properly.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Visual Music Marathon 2009

If you are in or near New York City on April 11th be sure to check out the 2009 Visual Music Marathon. The marathon includes works from Studio Artist animators Jean Detheux, Michael Theodore and Dennis Miller. The Visual Music Marathon will be held at the Visual Arts Theatre, 333 West 23rd Street, New York City.

The works in the Marathon represent a vast range of approaches to “visual music,” from pieces in which the images and music are directly tied by the sharing of parameters, to those in which the images “interpret” the music (or vice versa), to works where the visuals are edited in tight synchrony with cues in the music.

For more information including the complete schedule check out this link.