Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Artist: Lucas Krech

Studio Artist user Lucas Krech is a bit of a modern renaissance man. Besides pursuing a very busy career as a professional lighting designer, Lucas also works with digital still and photo fine art, and as a video artist. Lucas took to working with Studio Artist very quickly after getting a copy, and has used Studio Artist quite extensively across the wide range of all of his different diverse artistic interests.

I asked the New York based artist to talk about his work philosophy a little bit.

"My image making is rooted in the world of traditional photography as mediated by digital tools. I enjoy working with my own images and found content. I exploit traditional analog styles through the means of digital manipulation. When designing video content for live performance I root my work in the historical period of the show. This can mean finding public domain content for more recent settings or utilizing physical media styles like oils and watercolor for further back. I mix this found content with my own original images to construct the final design."

In addition to digital still art and photo manipulation for fine art printing, Lucas uses Studio Artist to process video footage to create stylized dynamic moving art backdrops for use in live theatre productions.

"For the Coronation of Poppea we set the opera in 1962 and thus our visual style was based around the pop art movement just then bursting on to the international scene. I found material from of that period and then used Studio Artist to rotoscope the content into a pop art look. For this project I was primarily using the MSG Image processor to build the look of each piece of video. The ability to rough in a look and then evolve it in software allows for both precision and happy accidents, a combination I love to find in my art making."

Because Studio Artist's extensive features bridge the gaps across many different traditional art software boundaries (digital painting, photo manipulation, procedural art, auto-rotoscoping and video effects) inside a single software package, it's a perfect fit for an artist like Lucas. For more information on featured Studio Artist user Lucas Krech, check out his website at .

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Expand Your Photographic Horizons with Slit Scan Imagery

Wired magazine recently ran an article featuring a photographer who was trying to expand his horizons by lugging a desktop scanner underwater to capture slit scan imagery. As soon as i read the article, i realized that Studio Artist gives you the ability to do what this person is doing without the intensive requirements associated with lugging a desktop scanner around with you to generate slit scan images. You can do everything this photographer is doing and more just by using Studio Artist in conjunction with a portable digital video camera.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Creating Hand Drawn Animation in Studio Artist

Award winning animator Sharon Katz has been a Studio Artist user and beta tester for many years. She recently completed a 4 part series of tutorials and product reviews associated with learning the basics of animating on your own. Her most recent tutorial post on 'Teaching Yourself Animation' includes a nice description and review of Studio Artist. It also lays out some of the compelling advantages for adding Studio Artist to your personal arsenal of digital effects tools.

The example animation frame above was totally hand drawn by Sharon in Studio Artist, and is a part of a completed hand animated film totally made within Studio Artist. Sharon has in fact used Studio Artist for all of her award winning animated films except the first 2 she ever made, which were probably done before she was even aware of Studio Artist. And she chooses to use Studio Artist even though she is very familiar with every other option available for digital artists. And she discusses the pros and cons of all of them in her tutorial article.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

MauiCanvasPrint Interview

Many of our Studio Artist users have expressed a fasciation with printing their digital artwork on Aluminum. As opposed to printing on paper or canvas, the normal traditional surfaces available for giclee digital fine art printing.  One Studio Artist user, John Anderson, has achieved considerable commercial success selling large format aluminum prints of his Studio Artist created artwork for corporate art installation projects.

So i was really happy when MauiCanvasPrint company owner Ian Haywood was up for submitting to an interview, to help us all understand the finer points of printing digital artwork on aluminum.

MauiCanvasPrint's new location is in the recently becoming trendy Pauwela Cannery, located on the north shore of Maui. Where you can grab an espresso and a meal for outdoor dining, or a fine fresh pastry from Baked on Maui. And by baked they mean fresh bread and pastries, not other things Maui might be known for.

I met Ian one afternoon recently, and he gave me a tour of his very cool combo printshop / local art gallery, located inside of the main old Pauwela Cannery building.

Ian's company specifically invested in a new Epson 7890 printer specially devoted to printing on aluminum. In addition to their existing Epson Stylus Pro 11880 for paper and canvas printing
Digital fine art printing on aluminum is really a two stage process. At least the way they do it.

I have heard of people trying to run a piece of aluminum through an ink jet printer at home. We actually had an article here that discussed that experimental do-it-yourself approach previously.

But high quality commercial digital fine art printing on aluminum is really a two stage process.
Involving first printing a reversed image print onto a sublimation dye transfer sheet.
And then using a heat and pressure transfer process to transfer the inverted printed image from the printed sublimation dye transfer sheet onto the actual piece of aluminum.
Where the reversed transfer sheet print image then becomes the original orientation final artwork dye based print image on the aluminum backing surface of that completed metal print.

Sunday, July 6, 2014


Studio Artist user Zennor Alexander is currently hard at work pushing the limits of running Studio Artist on his newly acquired Mac Pro. His video collaborations with Scottish/Burmese musician and vocalist Fiona Soe Paing create haunting audio and visual landscapes filled with a potent combination of evocative electronica and animated visuals. You can check out an awesome playlist of their recent work here.

There's a really magical visual transformation that starts happening about 1:30 into their Tah Stin Koh Mpor video. You can see a single frame of that transformation above screen captured at around 1:33. But i was so entranced by the piece that i wanted to visualize the entire imaginary landscape the video was leading me into at that particular moment. So i loaded the original video as a movie source into Studio Artist and then used the Scan Tracker temporal ip op effect to create an extended view of the imaginary world the video transports you through, as seen below.
This extended view was created by processing 180 frames of the original source video with the new Scan Tracker 2 temporal ip op to create an extended single image panorama view derived from those 180 frames of the original music video, using the settings shown below.

Here's a few still frames from their video 'Little Reminders', which is just one of the many awesome videos available on this colliderscope youtube playlist that were created using Studio Artist.

When i talked to Zennor about the decisions he went through choosing the optimal configuration for his new mac pro, he mentioned settling on the 6 core 3.5 Ghz configuration. Like many professionals looking at the new mac pros, choosing the optimal core configuration for your new computer is a complicated issue. Since the overall processor speed decreases as you increase the number of cores in your custom configured mac pro computer. So while you might think just maxing our the number of cores in your new machines would be the best solution, that's not necessarily the case due to the processor speed decrease as the number of cores increases. Most people feel there is a sweet spot somewhere in the middle of the range of possible machine configurations that is the optimal solution for their particular needs.

Even though he moved from an older 8 core mac pro tower to a 6 core configuration with the new mac pro, he's reporting speed increases of approximately 60% when running Studio Artist Paint Action Sequences on the new mac pro vs the old aluminum tower one. The increased bus and openGL rendering speeds of the new mac pros are probably a big factor in the increased Studio Artist rendering speeds. So when evaluating any complex computer configuration, you need to factor in everything associated with getting optimal speed on the new machine, not just the number of processor cores its using.

You can learn more about Fiona Soe Paing's work here. And the Tower of Babel EP accompanied by a limited edition DVD of music videos by Zennor Alexander is available here.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Exhibitions Without Walls

Studio Artist user John Anderson has a series of his paintings presented in Exhibitions Without Walls. The series is called Longing, and 'reflects the inner yearning we all have to create meaningfulness in the midst of a postmodern age of nihilism'.

It also includes an insightful interview with John Anderson, where he talks about his approach to art, the creative process, and his use of StudioArtist to generate his digital art imagery.

John is a great believer in printing on aluminum for final exhibition of his digital artwork. He says it 'creates a vividness in both color and depth that cannot be achieved on any other print surface'.

Friday, April 18, 2014

New Morton Subotnick CD Cover Art

Studio Artist user H. J. Kropp recently created the cover artwork for some Morton Subotnick cd releases. These new CD covers are just the latest in a long history of exciting cover artwork for electronic music CD releases created by Kropp.

Kropp used Studio Artist's innovative DualMode Paint effect features to generate the cover artwork in this new CD series. DualMode Paint allows for live image processing effects to be embedded into a digital paint preset, creating an unlimited palette of interactive visual synthesis and generative paint effects.

To check out more of Kropp's amazing Studio Artist generated artwork, go to his visual sketch blog here.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Pixel Revolution

Studio Artist user Otto Laske is curating an invitational exhibition of Animation Based Photography and Digital Paintings. Pixel Revolution features several different internationally known artists who use Studio Artist to stretch the boundaries between animation and digital printmaking.

Pixel Revolution takes place at the Cultural Center at Rock Neck in Gloucester MA. The exhibition dates are May 15 through June 1, 2014. The opening reception is on Saturday May 17th, from 3 to 6 pm. Gallery hours are Thursday-Sunday, 12-4 pm. More information on Rocky Neck Art Colony is available here.

RNAC and the Cape Ann Cinema will also present a special program of digitally created animations by four of the artists in this show. Pixel Revolution : Visual Music Animations, will take place at the Cape Ann Community Cinema in Gloucester on Sunday, May 25, at 4pm.  More information on Cape Ann Cinema is available here.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Studio Artist at West Edge Opera

There is a new article in the current issue of Stage Directions by Studio Artist user Lucas Krech on 'Creating Pop Art Animations for a Production'. Lucas discusses how he used Studio Artist to generate custom pop-art style animations for the West Edge Opera's 2013 production of L'Incoronatzione di Poppea. The production re-envisions the late Renaissance period opera in an alternate history 1962, where Nero and Poppea were conceived as JFK and Marilyn Monroe leaving their respective Jackie and Joe in the dust.

Lucas drew heavily from the work of Warhol and Lichtenstein for his visual research and inspiration for the production of the opera. He wanted the images of Poppea herself to be Warhol-esque silkscreens. By working with auto-rotoscoping in Studio Artist using custom paint action sequences that he designed, he was able to create a variety of stylized visual animations to be used in the performance. All within his limited budget for the show.

Lucas had this to say about the advantages of working with Studio Artist for creating visual effects for use in live performances.

"Building Paint Actions Sequences with different painting tools created different pop art looks for different scenes and characters, all of which was then auto-rotoscoped into several hours of animated video projections. Thus, someone with middling drawing skills was able to create custom animations in the style of 1962 pop art. The same could, of course, be done for Rembrandt, Van Gogh, Matisse or whatever your production requires. I did a dance piece a while back with animated Renaissance style oil paintings as projections for example. This is a far superior solution than a typical “comic book effect” or “oil panting filter” in traditional video editing software, as it can be uniquely tailored to the needs of your production."

Lucas discuses his workflow for creating the visual effects for the performance in depth in the article. You can read the article online here.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Studio Artist Exhibition Near Paris

An exhibition of Studio Artist user Florence Artur's recent work will be shown at the gallery L'Escalier in Montreuil sous Bois, near Paris, from the 6th to the 15th of February. On Saturday, February 15, there will also be a projection of some of her Studio Artist generated video animations at the gallery.

Florence had this to say about her working process within Studio Artist:
"How I work: starting with a blank canvas, I paint more or less randomly, changing presets and source images often, and also alternating hand-painted strokes with automatic painting (using the action button). When I like what I see on the canvas, I save it as an image and then keep painting. As a result, I obtain a series of images that are individual snapshots of a single process. When I start a new painting session, I usually start with the last image of the previous session. Sometimes I go back and pick an earlier image as a starting point, and sometimes I start again with a blank canvas."

For more information on Florence's Studio Artist artwork, check out her web site and her Studio Artist User Forum homepage. More information on the gallery can be found here.