I thought i'd start a new discussion thread that focuses on some of the new or enhanced features in Studio Artist 5. Rather than dump a ton of information here all at once, i'll be posting information over time in this thread about new features that might be of interest to people. And of course, feel free to ask questions, and i'll be happy to answer them.

One heavily used feature in previous versions of Studio Artist was movie brushes. They have been around since SA V1, and were the basis for all of the wonderful photo mosaic imagery made by Studio Artist users like Charis Tsevis.

A movie brush is a Brush Source type in the paint synthesizer that allows painting to be done with a quicktime movie file. So, the movie provided a way to encapsulate a series of different images into a single paint brush tool. While photo mosaic imagery is an extremely popular usage of movie brushes within Studio Artist, they can be used for all kinds of other things.

1D or 2D index modulation within the individual frames of a movie brush allows for interactive modulators like pen pressure or tilt to interactively access different frame images in the movie brush. So you could simulate a stylized pen tip that changes size and orientation based on how you interactively worked with a Wacom Intuos pen tool.

Of course there are all kinds of other ways to simulate dynamically shaped pen tools without resorting to using a movie brush in Studio Artist. The point i wanted to get across is that how you can use something like a movie brush within the paint synthesizer is extremely flexible. Charis is of course very famous for how he combined the paint synthesizers tiling capabilities along with the ability to embed a collection of individual mosaic images in a movie brush to create his interleaved tiling photo mosaic stylings.

Studio Artist 5 extends what you can do creatively with movie brushes by introducing a new brush type called an image folder brush. An image folder brush allows one to paint with a collection of images stored inside of a folder on your hard disk. So, you are no longer restricted to having to build a movie file of your individual images to create photo mosaic effects, or other paint stylings that are based on working with collections of individual images in a paint tool.

Many beginning Studio Artist users seemed to experienced difficulty getting over the hump of converting an folder of images into a movie file for use as a movie brush. It's not hard to do, but in V5 they can get started with photo mosaic effects without having to learn how to do that additional step. They can just work with a folder of images directly. 

Making a new image folder brush is easy. And we provide a large set of factory paint synthesizer presets to show off some of the things you can do with them.

In later posts here, i'll continue to discuss more individual new features available in Studio Artist 5.

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There are a ton of new features and associated editable parameters inside of the V5 paint synthesizer. One area of particular interest i wanted to point out can be characterized as 'tighter paint'. Here's an example of a painting generated with an oil paint styling in V5.

The thing to focus on in this particular painting is that although some of the individual paint strokes have a very loose feel, the overall painting at the same time does a very good job of generating a very tight representation of the source image it was derived from. 

So what's going on in this particular painting. Well, it's using a number of new V5 features.

As you may recall, the underlying generic model for how the paint synthesizer auto-painting works is that a series of path start points are specified (path start), paint paths are then grown out from those start points (path shape, path angle), conditions may be setup to terminate path growth (path end), and conditions may be specified to drop out individual paint nibs when a generated path is painted in with a series of individual paint nibs (path application, brush modulation).

SA V5 offers many new editable controls in all of the paint synthesizer control panels mentioned above that can be used to tighten up a painting. If you think about the generic model of how auto-painting works described above, a given paint path is dynamically generated, and then painted in with individual paint nibs. In previous versions of Studio Artist, the path end conditions could be used to terminate paint path generation, but the end of a generated path would still be filled in with a paint nib that might overextend the conditions used to terminate the path generation, leading to a lack of tightness in the final painted image. An example of a path end condition might be a color range tolerance. 

V5 has new options that allow for the path end calculation to be performed at the radius of a given paint nib associated with a particular path point, as opposed to just at the center position of the paint nib. There are also new controls that allow the generated path to be backed up when it hits a path end termination point. These 2 new controls discussed above in Path End are the Path Calc, and Path Backup controls. They allow for more visually intelligent painting than was achievable in previous versions of Studio Artist.

We also moved the old Path Divergence controls from the Path End to the Path Angle control panel 9where it really belongs). And we improved their performance quite a bit. And we added new Diverge Calc and Diverge backup controls that work in the same fashion as the new ones just discussed in the Path End control panel. Path Divergence allows you to setup conditions that will cause an automatically generating paint path to diverge from it's previously generated growth direction. If you think about how an artist would manually draw out a paint stroke, if they wanted to generate a tight representation of the source image they were painting, when a given paint path got close to image detailing (like an edge or a color boundary), they would change the direction of the manually drawn paint stroke so that it didn't overdraw the source details they wanted to represent. The Path Divergence controls allow you to program this kind of visually intelligent paint stroke behavior into an automatic painting preset.

There are also new options in the Path Application and Brush Modulation control panels that allow for color range nib dropout or brush size modulation to be computed at the radius of a given paint nib, as opposed to only at the center point like in previous versions of Studio Artist. Again, this allows for extremely tight painting effects to be generated (if you want that kind of tight effect). Because dropout or size modulation for individual paint nibs can be calculated along the entire nib radius (if you wish), that insures no overdrawing over feature areas you want to keep sharp.

All of these new features were used in the example painting above, leading to a very tight painterly representation of the source image it was derived off of, while at the same time allowing for loose paint strokes in non detailed areas of the source image. It's an example of multiple new V5 features working together intelligently to generate a whole new level of painterly realism.

Thanks John for your descriptions of new features under the hood.

I always try to look for the controls and tweak them to further my understanding of how they work. Can you list a few Paint Presets in the new presets you created for SA5 that use some of these new path controls... so that I might then turn the controls on and off and see the resulting "tight" and "loose" results?  thanks.

To be honest, the best way to check out those features is to use the Paint Synthesizer Macro Edit called ReInitialize to default the paint synthesizer to a very simple set of default settings, then turn on or off individual features to see what they are doing.

I guess i should point out that there are new Init and Random buttons at the bottom of the Editor control panels.

As the help tip above says, clicking Init initializes the current control panel only, shift clicking initializes the entire set of control panels. Random randomizes settings (for those of you who like to experiment).

perfect. thanks

Hello Mr. Dalton:

Thanks for explaining these new features.

I found the Edit: Paint Synthesizer menu in the user guide. But on my version I only have these sub-menus:

Pen Eraser
Fixed Color1,2
Patch Memory1,2,3,4
Path Memory1,2
Brush Memory1,2

All sub-menus below these say Play or Record.

Do I have to be in a specific mode to get Macro Edit to show up?

TIA.

Regards..

Macro Edit commands are in the integrated Help Browser. they aren't menu commands.

Hello Mr. Dalton:

I ran the macro-edits successfully a few days ago. I had some questions about it that I wanted to check out. I was running the trial version for the Mac.

Then I purchased my license and it works well so far.

But now I cannot find the micro-edits in the Integrated Browser.

I am having a time with the small font, but the last item in the browser is "Training Videos".

TIA.

Press the Index button at the top of the help browser.

That will take you to an index page with entries into different help pages, including the paint synthesizer macro edits.

In previous versions of Studio Artist the main index page came up first, but our sales staff wanted the getting started help to come up as a default every time you start the program in V5. So you need to hit the Index button to get to the main help index now.

Hello Mr. Dalton:

I would second VictorI’s request for example presets demonstrating the plethora of new features you have added which makes my head explode!

After I have read one of your well-written sentences 2-3 times, it would be great to just turn a preset loose on one of my sources. I will probably immediately says “Ahhh! that’s what he meant! makes sense”.

I think it could just help your wonderful product and immense feature set be even more accessible.

TIA.

Regards..

Once our technical documentation tips site is back online on our new web site, the plan is to post specific tutorial tips on all of this stuff being briefly covered here. So we'll include presets with those new tip posts. 

But i'm going to re-iterate what i told Victor to you, which is that the simplest way to experiment with those particular tighten settings i described is to start with a super basic initialized default setting paint synth, and then just turn on and off the individual controls and see what they do to change the appearance of auto-painting.

I've done a lot of all kind of dynamic brush-presets and experimenting furthermore, but I could not get such tight representations like in your picture;-)

for one of the next updates I wish me an additionally macro in the help-browser, that provides such "tight" settings for dynamic brush regionize. Thank You!

You should play with the new Size Modulation options in the Brush Modulation control panel in the paint synthesizer. Color Range and Color Range at Radius are 2 to play with to get the tight effect. Decrease the Range setting associated with it and see what i mean.

In a separate post today you mentioned the issue with the selection buffer being set to the contents of individual path start regions when painting using a path start regionization effect. This can be used as a feature if you are looking for tight paint effects. By using the Selection at Radius option for the Size Modulation. Since the selection buffer is set to each individual region when the paint start regionization process is painting in, you can mask to each individual region to get a tight paint effect for the individual regions.

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