John and all at Synthetik,

Glad to see this forum and all up and running.

I am still using an older version of Studio Artist: 3.04
Because I have not updated, I may end up referring to features that already exist in the newest version(s). I will suggest an item in this post and follow up with more.
Items I would like to see that I will list below are entirely (selfishly) in reference to the way I work with SA.

One way I am using SA is to also add color (paint) to black and white line art.
Combining Adobe Illustrator type vector line art with SA bitmap painting.

With this process I encounter a few things I would like more control over. The first (my first step in this process) would be:

Toggle Onion Skin.
This is a very helpful feature... But...
The way it works in v3.04 the onion skin behaves like it is an semi transparent overlay on top of the drawing area. There is a lot of white (in my line art) that hazes the art work being created.
-I would like to see transparency controls for the way the onion skin works like making the onion "darken" or "multiply" like the Photoshop blend options.
I do understand that the actual "toggle" menu item allows me to preview the arts intensity by toggling... My argument for more control over blending mode (so to speak) would be based on the need to see my art and the onion skin continuously as I work rather than needing to break the focus to toggle. When I am painting under the onion skin I miscalculate the color intensity frequently and always need to adjust it as a post process.


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So you want a onion skin composite option in preferences?

And would the particular composite operation you are looking for in this case be min or multiply?

"Min" seems to be perfect.
Multiply 1 seems to do something similar - darker than Min.

Thanks - Particularly for listening and giving these little things consideration.

Craig, i seem to remember you being one of the people from a discussion a while ago who wanted us to support loading 'mixed paint' onto a brush. I'm messing around with implementing this feature now and was wondering if you or anyone else had any comments on what specific details they would like to see implemented for this kind of feature.

I also recently added some new watercolor and waterflow features you will probably find useful.

If I am very mistaken - I think I was agitating for something like this:

I was looking for something like having a gradation of color mixed across the width of a "brush". Something like the image "grad.jpg"... This (faked in Photoshop)approximates having different color paint occurring along the flat of a brush.
The idea would be that if color is different along the broad flat of a "brush" it could be dragged across a surface laying down a gradation or streaked color that would be continuous - until the brush is turned - causing the colors to cross and mix.

I wasn't able to get the controls in the Paint Synth in SA_v304 to approximate this.
The closest I got was a crude Preset: "cd_tilt02" this did something with the multipen option and different tones per nib...

I was thinking it would be nice to be able to define color variety like in "grad.jpg" thru a gradient that is editable.

There are color controls for cycling color as a Preset brush is applied. The color being applied cycles in sequence repeating along the length of the stroke... The example: "cycle_mix.jpg" shows this roughly.

let me know if I am explaining this clearly...


There is a fairly easy way to do what you describe above. If you use the Gradient Generator Paint Brush Load option in the paint synthisizer you can use the source gradient in the brush load nib. You can use the Algorithm setting Flat Angular Src Grad to use the straight source gradient. Flat Angular Src Grad Shift will use the source gradient but modulate the colors based on the current source color.

We've been adding a lot more multi nib modulation options so what you'll be able to do with that will increase quite a bit in the future.

What i was talking about in my post had more to do with mixing paint in another layer or some area and then taking the mixed paint (with whatever gradients might be in the mix) and using that as the paint nib.
Ah ha,

I recall talking about liking the idea of a small window that I could mess with color and brushes (Presets) to get just the right settings before touching the main canvas.
Many times I have the Paint Synth options up and am working with variables as I go... If I get way off track with the variations and am messing with my "canvas", I may end up totally killing that picture.

The solution you gave me at the time was to create a new layer and treat that as a mix and mess area.

I never did do that beyond trying it. My Presets were too variable with alpha on or off to get a clear idea from messing on a new layer where the layers setting didn't act like the bottom canvas... Basically I gave up because it was taking a lot of time to get the information I needed or no help at all from the messing around... I opted to just make the canvas big and paint into a portion of it while leaving a side for messing...
Not the best solution when it comes to replaying the file tho... Fine for still images and just taking what I get.

I liked the little mixer that is in the newer Painters. Nice idea.
A mini canvas for experimenting with Presets...?
I also like the brush getting dirty in ArtRage...
Mixing in mess. The persistent aspect of mixing paint.

Well you can have the brush get dirty as you paint now by recursively picking up the canvas color in the Paint Color Source panel by using the Recursive Source Blend controls. Start would be Source, Blend To would be Canvas with a recursive source blend value of less than 100%.

The thing i'm noticing about implementing the idea of mixing real paint and then loading the mix as an actual image is that you have this issue of are you loading just a static color or an actual image into the pen and how does the user specify which they are doing at a particular time. I have some ideas but i'm curious how you would expect this to work?

I never have considered the mechanics of the idea - that is recreating the mechanics thru code - so to speak.

When mixing at the canvas level - basically pigments get muddied when the interact. (Thats more or less whats going on with the Recursive Source Blend.)

But if the brush isn't cleaned - the next stroke is a mix of the first colors and some new colors mixing.
I am not entirely sure I like that muddying. Even the Painter or ArtRage mixing muddies the color. I have to admit - I like un-muddied pigment. Digital painting is one place I can control my color.

If I were to envision a mixing environment I would see two things. One If I mixed to a specific blend I would want to be able to take that blend and paint with it. I get this already with good palettes (Color Choosers)

If I was looking for a mixed blend. As if the brush was picking up a few colors together that I could set down in the form of a stroke with multi color mixed in but not averaged down to a single color - I would look at it as creating a gradient on the fly that I could paint with. Essentially a gradient that is constantly being edited - at least each time I "mix" colors. The on-the-fly would be more like an artist mixing on a palette than constantly trying to edit a gradient color picker.

That would suggest that any mixing would have to sample off of a section of a mixing palette. If a mixing palette was a small canvas (250x250 pixels) the sample might be across a section (selection) of the small canvas.

I (am not sure, but) I think I would rather have a section (selection) create (be the source for) a color picker type gradient than an actual brush or a graphic that would act as a brush. With options to hang on to several "mixes" (gradients) included.

Deriving a gradient off of a sampled mix area is kind of a fascinating idea so i'll think about that one.

You could do it now in Studio Artist by having a small hidden layer, option clicking its record button to transfer a sub area of the current paint layer into it, then running the edit command that generates the color gradient from the canvas after temporarily switching to that layer. A little cumbersome but doable. Of course whenever you automatically generate gradients you have the issue of how you position the derived colors and that would be a big part of the actual appearance of a gradient derived paint stroke.

This is an interesting discussion because i'm trying to understand the real appeal for people of mixing actual virtual paint (which would be an image) in some secondary area as opposed to just using a color picker (which would be a single color value). And in some sense you seem to be leaning to wanting the color picker or a color gradient as opposed to an actual simulation of physically grabbing a big hunk of paint onto a brush and then moving that around.

The nice thing about the digital virtual paint chunk is that it can refresh itself each stroke, so it doesn't have to stay dirty when you start the second stroke. In fact i was thinking that would be the default behavior.


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