Studio Artist Version 4 versus Version 5--Two Parallel Galaxies?

Granted, SA5 is a very significant structural upgrade from SA4, both in terms of the efficiency and sophistication of its underlying code, and in its greatly increased user programmability.  

However, it is easy to forget that what we users are most in contact with, when using either version, are the included presets themselves, in terms of what they can do to change our initial images in artistic ways.  But in comparing SA4 and SA5 presets, I’m immediately struck by how different these collections are.  Even though SA5 has many more non-MSG presets than SA4--12,266 compared with 6,261---I’m very surprised that so few of the named non-MSG SA4 presets have survived into SA5 (at least, if they haven’t been disguised with new names in SA5).  

I don’t view this as a bad thing, but instead what we now have is two mainly distinct, parallel galaxies of presets to play around with in the SA universe--letting literally many thousands of new flowers bloom. The artistic landscapes of the presets provided by SA4 and SA5 potentially seem to be as different as the artistic landscapes of eg England and France, and long may their differences survive!

As to how best to implement this two-galaxies view of the SA4 and SA5 presets, here’s my suggestion.  Since the underlying processing is greatly improved in SA5, simply move all of the SA4 preset categories that you want to keep into the preset directory structure of the new SA5 program, using their old names prefixed with ‘SA4_’ to visually show them together, and to avoid confusion with the SA5 categories.  (This seems to work fine, but please add comments if this might be problematic).

Also, perhaps John Dalton and others involved in producing the new SA5 presets could comment on their intentions.  Were these primarily thought of as a better and more comprehensive way of covering the same artistic territory as was covered by the SA4 presets, or did anyone have something in mind closer to the current two-galaxies, hence two different artistic landscapes, view?

As a specific example of the SA4 versus SA5 differences, the word ‘geodesic’ doesn’t occur in any of the SA5 presets, even though it is included in over 40 names of various SA4 ImageOp presets.  I’ve made liberal use of several of these in my own artistic work, but haven’t yet found any SA5 equivalents (unless they’re well hidden with different names..?)

Also, as a side benefit of my suggested inclusion of the SA4 presets in the new SA5 presets folder, this would fit better with the updated SA5 user manual, which retains the SA4 nomenclature in describing ImageOp etc presets, even though many are not actually present in the factory SA5 presets.  So we can restore accuracy to the SA5 user manual by suitable additions to the territory it describes. (Unlike the political landscape, where ‘alternative facts’ simply aren’t possible..:-)

--Comments, please, on any of this!

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I think copying your V4 preset categories over to V5 is a great thing to do if you are a V4 customer. That way you can continue to work with factory or custom presets you are familiar with while also exploring the new stuff. I still keep and use all of my V1-V3 preset collections. So my personal preset folder is ridiculous in terms of all of the stuff that is in there, but that way if i want to grab an old preset i'm familiar with using for a particular task, it's right there to use.

Adding a 'V4_' to the V4 category folder names as a totally acceptable way to help distinguish between similarly named V5 collection folders. The collection folders are really the only thing you'd have to do that to if you want to modify the naming to distinguish between V4 and V5. 

The people involved in designing and organizing any of the different version preset collections are always trying to balance out several different and conflicting goals. Trying to organize things in a way that new users will find useful, showcase the program in the best light, redesigning old presets in light of new features available in the new version, don't overwhelm people, etc.

The contents of the V4 preset folder actually changed in one of the V4 point updates. Originally, it had all of the old presets in it. Then at a later date, that was changed to try and make the program more accessible to beginning users and/or people exploring the trial to see if they are interested in purchasing it. So depending on when you purchased V4, you might have one of 2 very different preset folder contents.

Up until that mid stream V4 preset folder change, we had always included all of the old presets collections in each new release. This was great for existing customers for the most part. At the same time, we were getting a lot of feedback from new users that they found this overwhelming and confusing. So that's why we tried changing things to better organize while at the same time not including all of the old stuff.

The other thing is that one person's 'perfect' preset effect might be someone else's 'piece of junk' preset effect. Different people have different opinions about what they like and dislike. That includes the people who put together our various preset collections. 

But the whole point of how the Preset folder is organized is to make it easy for people to customize it. So feel free to re-organize, rename or extend your preset collections based on your personal needs and aesthetics.

At this point i would normally point people at the appropriate studio artist tips site article that discusses the organization of the preset folder. However, our website is right in the middle of being tweaked. so i'm going to wait until that settles (might be a few days) before i point you at that blog post link.

Presets are organized by type - collection-category- preset files. So inside the main Preset folder are a series of individual type folder. Inside of each type folder is a set of Collection folders. Inside of each Collection folder is a series of Category folders. inside each Category folder are the individual preset files.

The names and organization you see in the preset browser mirror this Collection-Category-PresetFile naming and organization. Changing the naming or contents of those folders will reflect in the preset browser the next time you run Studio Artist.

Thanks, John, that’s very helpful.  It suggests that my comparison of V4 versus V5 presets in terms of one artistic territory versus two is over-simplified.  What we actually have is individual presets--whether from V1, V5 or whatever--each of which generates its own unique artistic world-view.  If you don’t like it, everything you try it on turns into a world of garbage.  If you do like it, exciting artistic possibilities unfold in this other new world.

But we agree on the main point that, though V5 processing replaces V4’s because it is better, V4 (and earlier) presets fully retain their original integrity and value, in spite of all the newer alternative presets that are now available in V5.  I view this as great news for all of us!

I have found that my experience of working with V5 entirely different than with V4. Eventually I do intend to copy my Presets from V4 to V5. For the present I feel it is in my best interests to learn V5 and gain what it has to offer with only occasional fallbacks to V4 presets. V5 is such a fascinating program that it is shifting the way I have to think and how I create. I don't know how to place that into words . Yet the confidence I gained using V4 is allowing me to navigate this unknown territory and gain greater trust in the creative process. That in itself is incredible. One thing I have noticed is that in working with Paseq in V5 I see a flowing of imagery that leads to greater filmic possibilities. I see a more fluid transaction in the process that is stimulating my desire to create a unique animation. I also know that SA continues to shine in the world of color. A pigment manufacturer would be wise to play with SA to discover new color options. I do see a shift in colors I achieve using V5, yet once gain lack the words to describe what is happening at present. It is a joy to meet the challenges of V5, even though I feel I only lived in a small portion of V4. 

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