Monday, December 27, 2010

Studio Artist 4.03 Update


By now Santa should have delivered download links to all Studio Artist 4 customers for the latest Studio Artist 4.03 application update.

Santa's Elves have also been busy at work on a new set of Paint and Vectorizer presets specifically designed for Studio Artist 4.03. More information on the new 4.03 preset collections along with associated download links are available here.

If you are a Studio Artist 4 customer and you are still running a version 4 build prior to the 4.03 application update, you should contact techsupport AT synthetik DOT com so that we can resend you your 4.03 application file update download.

If you are still running Studio Artist 3.5 or an even older version, now is the time to upgrade to Studio Artist 4. If you don't yet own a copy of Studio Artist, Studio Artist 4 is the premier digital art software tool and is now available for Windows as well as Apple computer users.

Quick Overview of Studio Artist 4 Features

Studio Artist 4 is the next generation of Studio Artist digital art, image and video processing software.  With version 4 we’ve now opened up the Studio Artist experience to Windows as well as Mac users.  Mac users will be pleased that version 4 is a universal binary application with faster native processing speed on both Intel and PPC Macs.  Windows users will be pleased that they can now run Studio Artist on their Windows computers. Studio Artist 4 is compatible with Apple computers running OSX 10.4 through the latest OSX 10.6, and with Windows computers running Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and Windows 7.


Studio Artist 4 still provides the same graphics synthesizer editing metaphors, intelligent visual processing and smart automatic drawing capabilities developed in previous versions of Studio Artist.  But the underlying code base was extensively rewritten in version 4 to allow for support of existing features while also providing a solid platform for future development. We also added a ton of new features, enhancements, workflow and speed optimizations.


The new Studio Artist 4 workspace is much more modular in nature and can be custom configured depending on your particular workflow. You can dock and reposition your working palettes and toolbars anywhere at the edges of the main workspace. Palettes can be tab nested on top of each other to conserve screen space. Palettes can also be floated outside the main workspace, which is very useful in dual monitor and live performance setups. You can switch on the fly while working between 4 different user configurable workspace memories and a full screen display mode. Multiple levels of undo are also now supported.


Studio Artist 4 provides enhanced functionality and new features while maintaining compatibility with all of your old Studio Artist presets. The factory preset collection has also been significantly expanded, providing thousands of new presets to explore and modify.  A new Favorites preset toolbar allows you to custom organize sets of working favorites presets in a space saving moveable toolbar.  The new integrated help browser allows you to document, organize, and access presets via custom html help pages.


Studio Artist 4 includes new real time interaction features. Loop Action allows you to switch between different processing presets on the fly while they run in a live processing loop.  Effect and paint parameters can also be live adjusted while Studio Artist is auto painting or processing in loop action.  Paint Synthesizer Time Particles take on a whole new life with live editing while they are painting.  Live video capture can also be incorporated into loop action processing along with live interactive editing for live visual performance or live video synthesis.  The new Gallery Show features allow you to build custom free running art shows or automatically generate an infinite range of new presets and/or art images.


The Paint Synthesizer now has 500 adjustable parameters and is capable of an even wider range of potential styles and effects. Hybrid vector-raster paint effects can now be created, like painting a vector region that then has it's edges melted or smeared with water using a single paint preset. The new Live Extend path shape option allows for wild dynamic paint styles with physics based behavior. Photo mosaic, movie brush, and paint regionization features have been enhanced to expand your creative potential. The new Dual Paint operation mode allows you to combine digital painting and live image processing together to create dynamic organic paint presets as well as amazing interactive visual effects.


The Paint Synthesizer and Vectorizer now provide direct anti-aliased vector drawing and vector output.  Vector files can be output to eps, pdf, or svg vector file formats for resolution independent output.  Bezier paths can be embedded in a paint preset and then animated over time, creating dynamic animation or cross hatching effects. Bezier path editing for creating morph or warp effects has been streamlined for faster workflow.


The old Layer and Paint Action Sequence (PASeq) timeline functionality have been integrated into a single new PASeq timeline editor. PASeq batch processing features allow for enhanced professional workflow when auto-rotoscoping multiple movie files. The new Movie Layer features allow for Quicktime movie files to be embedded in multiple canvas layers when building animation effects or doing manual touchup to individual movie frames.


The Image Operation effects have been extensively enhanced and expanded. New intelligent Image Operation effects like Sketch Edge and Sketch Mass effects can now directly generate Bezier paths in addition to raster processing effects.  The new intelligent path generation features can be combined with the infinite variability of the Paint Synthesizer’s drawing engine to create an endless range of different art styles and processing effects limited only by your imagination.


The new Temporal Image Processing operation mode provides a number of new time based image processing effects.  These new temporal effects can be used for video processing.  They can also be used to generate static images from video sequences that encapsulate the motion in a video sequence into a single static image.  They can also generate a static panorama view based on the video camera’s panning and movement in a scene.  Slit scan temporal effects can be used to expand, contract, extract or remove motion from a scene as well as create amazing looking visual effects.


Much of the old MSG Evolver modular image processing editing capabilities are now accessible directly in version 4 via the new MSG Advanced Editor and MSG Evolution palettes. You can use directed evolution to generate an infinite variety of different abstract procedural art images as well as image and video processing effects without delving into the technical aspects of MSG editing. There are now over 500 MSG processors available that can be combined together for constructing custom modular image processing effects.  MSG presets can also be used to expand the Paint Synthesizer's capabilities through the use of MSG source brushes, brush load processing, path start, and path shape generators.


More information on Studio Artist 4 can be found at the Studio Artist Tips site.


How to Get Studio Artist 4

The list price for Studio Artist 4 for new customers is $399. There is special upgrade pricing for existing Studio Artist customers. For more information on purchasing Studio Artist 4, here's a link to our online store.

Studio Artist 4 Information Resources

In addition to the 551 page User Guide pdf that ships with Studio Artist 4, there's a ton of on-line tutorial and information resources available to learn more about the vast range of Studio Artist features and special effect capabilities.

If you haven't checked out the Studio Artist User Forum, you should really do so. It's a great place to ask Studio Artist related questions and receive answers from Synthetik Software as well as other expert Studio Artist users. There's also a photo gallery of user artwork created in Studio Artist, as well as a video gallery. New paint and effect presets from Synthetik Software and from other Studio Artist users are available for download from the forum. You can also construct your own custom home page and Studio Artist blog if you wish to. You can access the Studio Artist User Forum here.

The Studio Artist Tips site provides online documentation, getting started and tutorial tips for Studio Artist 4. You can access the Studio Artist Tips site here.

The new Studio Artist Daily Effects blog highlights a different Studio Artist effect or feature everyday. Each effect or feature is explained in detail, and you can ask questions via the comments section for additional clarification. The new daily effects blog is available here.

The Studio Artist Users Showcase is available on Vimeo and highlights different Studio Artist processed video effects and animation. You can access the Studio Artist Users Showcase on Vimeo here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Studio Artist Visits Ko Lanta


Many people dream of traveling the globe with a powerbook, taking in the exotic sights and creating digital art on the go. Studio Artist user Lee Roskin has been living that dream for several years now.

Lee and his wife have been extensively traveling throughout Asia and the Pacific, and are currently on the beautiful island of Ko Lanta in southern Thailand. Lee runs Studio Artist on his MacBook Pro while sitting at the beach or in his Bali-style bungalow (which comes with free wireless), creating abstract animations with synthesized music backdrops.

Lee has been actively involved in digital video and animation production since the early 80s, when he first started using a Commodore Amiga 100 with an old program called DeLuxe Paint. Later, he got into a video system called Music Visions, using it to make over 250 hours of video recordings. His realtime video performance system used 3 Amiga Computers, 2 genlocks, a video digitizer, 2 Visual Aurals, and a video camera for video feedback purposes.

Eventually Lee got into Mac computers during the Power PC era and started using Studio Artist. In the last few years he has been making videos with Studio Artist in conjunction with Adobe Premiere for non linear editing.


Lee says, "From the beginning, I used Techno music and attempted to match the video with the music in Psychedelic Lightshow fashion. With Studio Artist, I make clips of about one minute using MSG's (often multiple times) and these are sequenced and manipulated in Premiere with effects, layers, opacity. The Techno music (Ambient, Industrial, Trance) goes well with the electronic nature of the video. When I have about one hour of about 6 videos, I burn them to DVD. I'm working on the 8th series of DVD now."

Lee recently posted a short except from one of his trance inspired abstract animations to vimeo. I've seen some of Lee's finished DVDs, and they are a really nice combination of psychedelic MSG derived abstract visual animation combined with some great techno music.


I traveled through southern Thailand many years ago, so i get a big personal kick out of seeing Studio Artist running on Lee's powerbook at Pra Ae Beach in Ko Lanta. I also thought that Lee's story would be inspiring to Studio Artist users, both young and old. It's fascinating how technology has advanced over the years so that animation work that required massive amounts of physical hardware to pull off in the past can now be generated on the go with a small portable computer (and Studio Artist) while traveling the world.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

New Blog for Studio Artist Effect Ideas


I've started a new personal art blog at studioartist.posterous.com that provides information on creating different kinds of artistic effects using Studio Artist.

The goal is to provide a forum to quickly post short tutorial tips. The emphasis is more on 'how to create a specific art example' kinds of posts, as opposed to the more technical reference oriented posts at the Studio Artist tips site.

This new blog is just getting started, but over time i hope it will build into another useful information resource for Studio Artist users.

Also, don't forget to check out the main Studio Artist User Forum at studioartist.ning.com. The forum always has some kind of interesting art related discussion going on, and is an excellent place to ask a question if you are stumped on how to do something in Studio Artist, or just want to meet and hang out with other Studio Artist users. The User Forum is a complete social web 2.0 destination, so you can make you own personal home page with it's own integrated blog posts, post your own Studio Artist generated art, and check out other users's posted art and movie projects created with Studio Artist. There's also a preset sharing group that provides ongoing access to new Studio Artist presets.

Anyone specifically interested in animation or movie processing using Studio Artist should also check out the new Studio Artist User's Showcase at vimeo. If you are a Studio Artist animator and have some of your work on vimeo, pleas join the new showcase and cross post your Studio Artist generated animations or movie processing effects to the showcase for others to share.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Paper Cup to Heaven


'Paper Cup to Heaven' is a short film created by Studio Artist animator Barbara Carroll that was recently accepted into the HDFest in Portland Oregon taking place this December 2010. The short film deals with loss and the fragility of life. More information on the film and show times can be found on Barbara's web site.

Barbara is an award-winning director, animator, and video game designer. You can check out the trailer for Paper Cup to Heaven here.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ellen Horovitz's Media Manipulations


Studio Artist user Ellen Horovitz has recently been blogging about different approaches to working with or subverting various kinds of digital printer media to achieve different analog style artistic effects. One recent post discusses a low cost approach to generating digitally printed transfers onto substrates that emulates the look of old Polaroid 669 film at a much lower cost. Another post describes using Sheer Heaven ink jet paper with color laser printing to achieve the look of Fuji analog film.

There's a long history of experimentation with different printer inks, papers, transparency materials, subverting their normal prescribed uses to achieve different artistic effects. A willing nature to experiment is the key for this kind of work, trying out different combinations of materials and printing techniques and noting what combinations work or not for your particular stylistic interests. Ellen likes the look of analog film, but the price is prohibitive for her students and some of her experimental techniques can achieve the same kind of analog print aesthetic looks at a fraction of the cost of more traditional approaches to generating the print.

Dr Horovitz is the Director of Graduate Art Therapy at Nazareth College in Rochester. She's also finishing up a new book that will feature some of her recent experiments working with Studio Artist.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Charis Tsevis's Digital Styling


Peraformi recently posted an article on Studio Artist user Charis Tsevis. In it he talks about his fascination with the concept of 'media mosaics', relating the notion of complexity in photo mosaic imagery to chaotic systems. He also talks about his work designing Studio Artist generated photo mosaics during the Obama 08 campaign for the 'Designing Obama book.


Charis is a big user of the paint synthesizer movie brush feature in Studio Artist for constructing his stunning photo mosaic work.

I'm also very curious to see how he will use the new Stretch2 Source Brush feature in the upcoming Studio Artist 4.03 release after viewing the top illustration he made for the publication RAM depicting a media interconnected businessman. The new Stretch2 Brush Type used in conjunction with a movie brush allows for innovative new kinds of photo mosaic imagery where the individual sub-image elements of the mosaic can twist and flow while following a paint path.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

John Neel's Studio Artist Explorations


Studio Artist user John Neel is a fine art photographer who also teaches at Nazareth College in Rochester New York. He also is a contributor to a new digital photography blog called Pixiq just announced at Photokina in Cologne. Here's a link to a recent article he posted there on working with Studio Artist.

John is currently finishing up a digital photography book that will include some sections devoted to working with Studio Artist. More on John's upcoming book when the publication schedule gets finalized.

John's web site is at jngallery.com. He also has an online gallery at thestudiowall.com.

Friday, August 27, 2010

No Man's Land


Scottish/Burmese composer and vocalist Fiona Soe Paing, in a collaboration with New Zealand based Studio Artist animation artist Zennor Alexander, perform the surreal live cinema show No Man's Land, featuring experimental electronica, original animation and live vocals, at the Roxy Art House in Edinburgh on Sunday August 29th. (more info)

Zennor's latest animation called "Tah Stin Koh Mpor" uses quite a bit of Studio Artist generated animation, and has a really interesting and unique visual style. You can check out this animation along with other examples of Zennor's Colliderscope work here.

Colliderscope combines off-world, skeletal electronica, live vocals and surreal storybook animations in their ethereal live cinema performance and DVDs. With vocals in Burmese, English, and invented "No Man's" language, Colliderscope explores the space between dreaming and waking, lost identities and found objects, where meaning is created from random events, and definition from the blurring of boundaries. Zennor and Paing's Colliderscope project also had a successful new DVD launch recently in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Stack Filtering Portrait Images


The image above is an example of stack filtering a series of painted portrait images. The individual painted portraits were generated in Studio Artist by artist Michael Wright, and are documented in his ongoing personal portrait virus blog.

The Studio Artist generated image shown above is an example of stack filtering 197 individual painted portraits used as input to a stack filtering process. This particular stack filtering process generates a normalized average of all of the individual painted portraits. So in some sense you could think of it as being the 'generic' self portrait of Michael (based on the series of painted self portraits he created which were used as input to the stack filtering process).

Another way to view this particular stack filtering effect is that it acts as a kind of visualization tool that allows you to visualize various properties of the set of input images feed into it. This is just one of an infinite variety of potential stack filtering effects. We will explore how it was created as well as different variations on the mechanics of stack filtering below.

What is Stack Filtering?


Stack filtering is an approach to building artistic imagery by processing a series of individual images (the stack) as input to some kind of algorithmic processing effect that generates a single output image. Multiple images in, one image out. I think stack filtering can produce some amazing effects that are quite unique from what you may be familiar with for creating digital art, so we'll be discussing the whole process of stack filtering below in detail.

We recently discussed a specific example of stack filtering in a previous news post.

I've been told that some people find the 'stack' terminology confusing, so just think of the stack as being a folder of images if that makes visualizing the process easier. The key point to get is that you are using a set of multiple images as an input to some kind of processing effect that will take those multiple image inputs, process them in some way, and then output the result as a single processed output image.

Normal canvas layering could actually be thought of as a kind of stack filtering, so there's an example that everyone is familiar with. The 'stack' metaphor is much more literal when you think about a stack of layered images. However, the kinds of processing effects used for layer compositing are rather limited, just % mix and the composite operation itself. And the composite effects are sequential from image to image, 2 images in and one image out in series through the individual layers.

Stack filtering is different from layers in that you can have an arbitrary number of input images to the stack filtering algorithmic process. And the range of potential processing algorithms is dramatically expanded over simple layer mix and composite operations.

Most stack filtering processes are also non-real time, so you setup the stack filtering effect and then wait for the output to be generated. The time to generate the processed effect could be almost instantaneous or could take several minutes to run depending on what you are doing and how many individual images are used as input to the stack filtering process.

My initial conception of the stack filtering concept involved taking a temporal image processing effect and using a stack of arbitrary images as input to the temporal or time-based image processing effect. Temporal image processing effects are designed to process movie files. They different from normal image processing effects (which can also be used to process movie files), because they use multiple movie frames as input to the temporal processing effect.

If you are processing a movie file with a normal image processing effect you are processing a single input frame to generate a single output frame. Temporal image processing used multiple input frames to generate a single processed output frame.

Here's an example of an early stack filtering experiment I tried, using a folder of random graffiti images to build the image stack, and then using a temporal motion reduction filter to process the stack of graffiti images.


So this initial notion of stack filtering is an example of subverting a processing effect. Taking some normal process, and turning it on it's head, or twisting it around and using it in a different way than it was normally intended to be used. In this particular case, rather than using a movie file of sequential frame images from a video as input to a temporal image processing effect, you build a movie file from an arbitrary collection of individual images and then use this 'stacked image' movie file as input to the temporal processing effect.

The temporal processing effect will think that the set of individual images you used to build your stacked image movie are sequential frames in a video. And will try to process them accordingly. So if the temporal processing effect is based on computing motion from frame to frame, it will try to do so, but using your set of unique frame images that are not based on normal video.

Relationship to Movie Brushes


Studio Artist users who have worked with movie brushes or with building photo mosaic effects from movie brushes should be familiar with the concept of converting a folder of images into a movie file. The details of how to do this are described in this Studio Artist tip on building a movie brush to create a photo mosaic effect.

The same custom movie brush used as the basis for building a photo mosaic image could be used as a source movie within Studio Artist to generate stack filtering processing operations. In both cases a series of individual image files in a folder are converted into a single movie file that acts as a container for the set of images. The set of images encapsulated in the movie file are then used to create an artistic effect.

The same artistic decisions used to compose a set of images for creating a photo mosaic effect also apply to building a set of images for stack filtering effects. The images could be totally disparate with no specific interrelationships. Or they could be specifically chosen to relate in some way. It all depends on what you are trying to achieve artistically. Your initial decisions about which images to use will affect the output of the stack filtering process.

Stack filtering at some level is all about exploring the similarities or differences of the individual images used to create the stack. It's also different from photo mosaic effects in that the specific ordering of images in the stack is going to influence the output of the processing effect for most stack filtering operations. That is typically not the case for photo mosaic image generation based on the use of movie brushes.

Creating the Generic Self Portrait

As mentioned above, the stack filtering example shown at the top of this post can be thought of as the generic portrait from Michael's self portrait virus project. Here's a slightly different stack filtering variation of this particular effect.


The effect was generated by using a temporal image processing effect available in Studio Artist 4. It's also based on using a spatially normalized set of images for building the image stack. What this means is that Michael's individual painted portraits were inverse warped to spatially map to a specific 'standard' portrait. The standard portrait was just one of the self portraits that was chosen to be used as the standard. All of the other individual portraits were then inverse warped to spatially match the feature positioning in the standard portrait.

So, there are 2 different components to building this particular stack filtering effect. A source movie was first constructed from the original series of Michael's self portraits. This movie was then used as a source movie in Studio Artist for the inverse warp processing. Each frame in the source movie was inverse warped to match the standard portrait. The set of inverse warped portraits was then used as the set of source images for stack filtering.

Of course you don't have to perform the spatial normalization step to generate stack filtering effects. The example below shows the same stack filtering time based avering effect used to create the generic portrait at the top of the post, but using the original portraits as opposed to the spatially normalized portrait stack.


Note that there are similarities and differences between this stack filtered image and the one at the top of this post. Again, if you think about the stack filtering operation as being a visualization tool, then this processed image tells us something about Michael's set of self portraits. It tells us that on average they do tend to be centered. It also tells us something about the shape of a head.

But the details of the facial relationships between the individual self portraits is lost. Adding the additional spatial normalization processing lets us examine those details as a part of the stack filtering process. For example, the image below shows a different stack filtering effect applied to the entire stack of normalized portraits.


Running the same stack filter effect using the original portrait images generates the very different image shown below.


Both images are interesting. Whether you choose to use some kind of spatial normalization as a part of your personal stack filtering process is really a function of what you are trying to achieve.

For many applications of stack filtering effects a spatial normalization processing stage is not necessary. For the particular case of working with Michael's painted self portraits as input to the stack filtering effect and what processing effects i was trying to achieve, spatial normalization was very useful because it enabled me to focus on features of the facial portraits and the inter-relationships between facial portraits as opposed to focusing on the variations of where the faces are positioned, which is what the stack filtering of the original portrait stack focuses on examining.

Building the Inverse Warp Normalized Stack

A single step paint action sequence (PASeq) was used to do the inverse warp processing. The PASeq used an Inverse Warp Context action step to perform the inverse warp processing.


The standard portrait image shown above was used as the first frame of the source movie for processing. A set of bezier curves were drawn around the features of interest. For this particular experiment a very simple set of marker paths were used to define the face normalization. A bezier path was drawn around each eye, the mouth, and the overall head. So 4 bezier paths are used for each frame in the source movie. They are recorded as a series of keyframes for the single inverse warp context action step in the PASeq timeline.


It's easy to use Studio Artist's bezier editing features to do the frame by frame bezier curve editing to build the inverse warp keyframes. I used the source onion skin transparency feature as an aid in editing the individual curves from frame to frame. The image below shows the edited set of 4 bezier curves used for the inverse warp keyframe for a frame image different than the initial standard frame image.


Inverse Warping is a specific kind of warp operation that matches each subsequent frame to the initial frame. So the bezier curve positions in the first frame define the standard positioning and the curves in subsequent frames along with their associated image feature areas will be warped back to the standard positions. This is the inverse from how a normal warp works. Inverse Warping is a new feature in Studio Artist 4 that makes it very simple to perform this kind of spatial normalization effect.

Studio Artist 4 uses Context action steps to perform actions such as warping, morphing, spatially variant filtering. The Context action steps can store references to specific image or movie files as well as sets of bezier curves whose movement is used to define the warp or morph operations. This new approach to warping and morphing is much easier to use than the old Timeline Animation Operation mode approach in earlier versions of Studio Artist that worked with the old Layer Timeline.


For More Information

Stack filtering is a powerful new approach to building artistic processing effects. I hope this detailed post will get you thinking about how to use stack filtering to create your own artwork in Studio Artist.

For more information on my personal explorations with stack filtering Michael Wright's portrait virus imagergy check out this portrait virus mutations blog. More information on Michael's portrait Virus project can be found here.

Studio Artist 4 has a wide range of different temporal image processing effects. Here's a news post that provides an overview of the temporal processing effects. For more detailed information on working with temporal image processing effects check out this tip.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Stacked Mutations from Mali


Studio Artist user Dennis Miller recently corresponded with me regarding a new project he's been working on. It involves a variation of a technique i've also recently been exploring, one i call stack filtering.

Dennis spent six months in Africa this spring he chronicled in his trip blog, primarily in Ghana, but he also spent some time traveling in Mali. Dennis's project involves taking a series of photographs from his trip to Mali, all men's faces, then mix/merge/blend/stack/compositing them with other photographs of various elements from the Mali African culture. Those could be images of a sandy yard, brick wall, cloth pattern, etc. Dennis is working with Studio Artist to do some of the compositing and image processing, but has also been exploring with merging disparate images using HDR programs.

For those of you unfamiliar with the terminology, HDR stands for high dynamic range. There are a number of different software programs that can be used to combine multiple exposures of a single scene into a high dynamic range image. So you expose one image for the shadows, another for the highlights, etc, then combine them together to create the HDR image.

Now the whole point of my portrait virus mutation project involves stack filtering sets of disparate images using time based temporal processing algorithms. Even though the images being processed are not successive frames of video, but are arbitrary stacks of images. If the stack terminology throws you think of the stack as being a folder of images. Dennis is doing something very similar with his approach of subverting HDR image recombination algorithms by feeding them disparate imagery rather than multiple exposures of the same scene.

Dennis was very influenced by the cultural influences of Mali, very different than what he was exposed to during his stay in Ghana. "We were struck by this amazing environment, with its traditional colors (indigo is a natural dye that is used in many styles of art work), the browns and yellows of the landscapes, the abstract patterns in the weaving, the Muslim architecture (the mosque at Jenne is the largest all mud building in the world and nearly every town we visited had its own "replica"), the many, many ethnic groups (Fulani, Bambara, Taureg, etc) and each of cultural icons... So many factors and such a rich experience.

I took a bunch of pictures during the trip and when I got home, I decided I would do a "photo art" series using a number of men's portraits blended with images of the different cultural elements, be they simply the indigo color, the texture of a brick wall or a mud mosque, a weaving pattern of a certain ethnic group... you get the idea. I also wanted to partially obscure the faces to indicate some of the mystery and remoteness of the people.. such was our experience."

Dennis's plan is to put together a series of 10 final images for presentation at a variety of venues. He's also interested in exploring some less-common printing methods to create the final images for exhibition. So it will be fascinating to see how his current stack filtering project evolves.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

NY Counterpoint in London


Jean Detheux's latest film 'NY Counterpoint' will be appearing in the London International Animation Festival on Saturday September 4th. This Studio Artist animated film appears in the International Programme 8 : Abstract Showcase. A web version of the film is available for viewing here.

The film features music by Steve Reich arranged for tape and piano, recorded and performed by Belgain pianist Jean-Philippe Collard-Neven.

NY Counterpoint was also featured at the Melbourne International Animation Festival and the Montreal Festival du Nouveau Cinema.

Jean has also been busy lately preparing new material for live visual performance that explores various aspects of the trance, featuring music by John Adams, Giacinto Scelsi, and Morton Feldman. Jean-Philippe Collard-Neven will be performing this music live with Jean on October 18th at the University of Montreal. More information on this upcoming performance is available here.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Portrait Virus 2010


Studio Artist user Michael Wright is presenting his Portrait Virus Project in the Studio of the SIGGRAPH 2010 Conference in Los Angeles from July 25th through July 29th. Wright will use Studio Artist to create portraits of attendees to form a gallery of images printed, projected, blogged at portraitvirussiggraph2010.blogspot.com and placed in his Castle Gallery in Second Life.

Michael also has an ongoing daily self portrait virus project going at mrwstudios.blogspot.com. Michael will be speaking about this project at the Digital Artistry Workshops at Siggraph, held in the Siggraph Studio, room 151, Tuesday July 27th from 2 - 3:30 PM.

If you're at Siggraph in LA this month make sure to stop by the Studio and say hello to Michael.

We've mentioned some other daily art post projects from Studio Artist users here before. I think these kinds of daily art posting projects can be a great source of inspiration and artistic growth for anyone who undertakes them.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Studio Artist Imagery in Wired UK


The July Issue of Wired UK magazine featured a photo mosaic image generated by Studio Artist user Charis Tsevis. Charis was also featured in an article in the Guardian UK that discusses some of his other high profile Studio Artist generated photo mosaic images.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Charis Tsevis's PhotoStream


There's a large collection of amazing artwork created by Studio Artist user Charis Tsevis available for your viewing pleasure on Flickr. Charis is a master of using movie brushes to create photo mosaic effects in Studio Artist. His new experiments using Studio Artist to create NeoCubism effects are also pretty cool.

Charis's artwork is widely used in advertising and commercial illustration. Charis also teaches at the AKTO College of Art and Design in Athens Greece. You can check out Charis's artwork via this link.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Paint Regionization Fill Strategies


This tutorial continues our recent series delving into the secrets of fine tuning auto-regionizing paint effects using the Studio Artist 4 paint synthesizer. In this post we'll be examining different fill strategies for auto-painting in individual regions. The example above was created by using 3 different auto-regionization action steps incorporated into a paint action sequence to build up the final paint styling.

The automatic regionization effects discussed in this tutorial are all created using the path start regionize generator options available in the Path Start control panel of the paint synthesizer. The path start control panel specifies how individual paint strokes are initially positioned in the canvas.

The path start regionize generator options are unique, in that they first intelligently analysis the current source image, breaking it up into a series of individual regions for painting. So in addition to generating a series of start points they also generate a series of region outlines that can then be filled in using the controls in the Path Shape control panel.



For the examples below we'll be using an Adaptive Block Regionize DM path start generator. This particular regionize generator produces a series of rectangular regions that are adaptively positioned and sized to represent the source image. We're using the DM option to then additionally split the blocks to better reproduce the source image details.

As discussed in the previous tutorial post, there are 2 Path Type parameter options in the Path Shape control panel that are specifically designed to be used with path start regionization effects. These are the Path Start Regionize and Path Start Regionize Use RegionDraw Pen Mode path type options.

Path Start Regionize Shape Types



We'll start by examining the different options available using the Path Start Regionize path type. This path type is specifically designed to be used with path start regionize generators, and will not do anything useful when used with other path start generators that don't perform adaptive regionization. When you select this particular path type you are presented with some additional editing controls that allow you to determine different fill patterns for painting in each generated region.

The simplest region pattern type is outline, which just generates a path for the region outline with no internal fill patterning. As seen in the example below, using this option generates a preset that only paints in the outlines of the individual path start regions.



This example is useful to get a sense of how the adaptive block regionize path start generator is breaking apart the source image of a face into different individual regions. Because we used the DM option we can also see how the individual rectangular blocks were additionally split to better reproduce the original facial features in the source image we are using for these examples. By working with the Max Stroke count and the Block Option controls in the path start control panel we could adjust the number of generated regions and how they are adaptively positioned.

Most of the Region Pattern Type options specify some kind of internal fill pattern for painting in the individual regions. The Hatch1 option shown in the example below fills in the regions with a one-dimensional hatching pattern.



The spacing between hatch lines is determined by the Region Pattern Spacing control. Depending on the size of the source brush you are painting with you can adjust this parameter accordingly. For this example we left some blank space between hatch lines, but by using a larger brush size or a smaller region pattern spacing we could introduce overlap between the individual painted hatch lines.

The Path Angle control panel settings also influence the appearance of the generated fill patterning. In this particular example above the orientation of each regions hatch patterning is determined by the Path Angle option, which is set to Orient. This setting means that the angular orientation of each hatching pattern is trying to best match the associated local visual orientation of the source image.

Outline Fill is another popular region pattern type, and is shown in the example below. Outline Fill paints in the entire region starting with the outer boundary and then moving inward towards the center with progressively smaller internal boundary circling.



Path Start Regionize Use RegionDraw Pen Mode Gen Shape Types

The other path type associated with path start regionization is the Path Start Regionize Use RegionDraw Pen Mode Gen path type. When you select this particular path type, the generated region fill patterning will be based on the current settings of the RegionDraw pen mode controls, which are located in the Pen Mode control panel.

RegionDraw pen mode normally works by having a user interactively draw a local region with the pen, either by extending an ellipse or rectangular shape, or by working with a temporary lasso pen line. After the interactive region is specified, it is then painted in with an algorithmically generating path pattern. The fill pattern is specified by the Region Fill Type and Region Spacing controls in the Pen Mode control panel. These same controls specify the region fill patterning when used with the Path Start Regionize Use RegionDraw Pen Mode Gen path type.

The example below shows off using the ellipse edge scribble fill option for the region fill type parameter.



Region Draw as Pen Solid Fill

Up until now we have been discussing different strategies for painting in path start regions with paint paths following various fill patterns. However, there's an entirely different approach you can take when generating automatic regionization paint effects where each generated region is filled like it is a single brush nib. So the region can be thought of as a solid area fill, as opposed to a collection of individual fill paths painted in with paint on a brush following the path lines. To do this you want to take advantage of Studio Artist's Region Fill as Brush pen modes.

The Region Fill as Brush and Auto Region Fill as Brush pen modes work very differently than the other Studio Artist pen modes. Most pen modes generate a painting path and then fill it in by painting over the internal generated path with a series of nibs of paint. This emulates a paint brush filled with paint following a painting path over an area to distribute paint onto a canvas.

Region Fill as Brush treats the initially drawn path as the outline of a specified region. The region is then filled with a single brush nib whose shape is the specified region. So when used with path start regionization this pen mode will treat each of the generated regions as a single dynamic brush that is filled based on the settings in the Region Fill as Brush control panel. One example of this kind of path start regionization is shown below.



This example uses the default region fill as brush control panel settings, so each of the generated path start regions is filled with solid color. For this simple example we used the Outline region pattern type option for the path start regionize path type used in the outline painting example above. Because we are using the region fill as brush pen mode, the generated outline path is used to define a solid fill region as opposed to defining a painting path.

By working with the different controls in the region fill as brush control panel, and by selecting different path type options for building the fill paths for each path start region, you can generate a wide range of different paint effects that are very different than the more conventional paint in each region with a fill pattern examples we've shown up until this point.



The example above shows off using the Ragged Feather and Inverse Radial Gradient processing options in the region as brush mode control panel. This example also uses a stylized region generator to distort the initial shapes of the auto-generated regions. The other example below shows off using a Linear Gradient processing option with a rectangle generator.



The first example at the very top of this post used 3 different applications of auto-regionization using the region fill as brush pen mode to build a more sophisticated aesthetic painting style. By working with multiple passes of auto-regionization effects and working with the different regionization approaches discussed in this tutorial you can create an immense range of different potential stylistic effects.

The region fill as brush options detailed above are particularly effective for building watercolor effects. This pen mode also offers dual paint options that allow for an initial solid coloring of a region followed by a second application of conventional paint nibs along the region outline path. So you could fill with solid color and then automatically apply a water wash to the region edges.

For More Information

The first tutorial in this series, which focuses on editing strategies for building paint regionzation effects is available here.

The Paint Synthesizer chapter in the Studio Artist User Guide pdf includes detailed descriptions of all of the various paint synthesizer editing controls discussed above.

Some of the paint action sequence (PASeq) presets used in this tutorial are available for download here.