Is there a single location where we can go to find out what each MSG operator does and how their parameters work?
I've been trying to eliminate some rectangular artifacts from a MSG preset. (They are artifacts for me, at least. For someone else they might be a desired effect.) It was really difficult to know where to start looking in the MSG chain, so I simply started at the top and worked my way down. After an hour or so, I found an operator that had a strong influence on the effect (RGBMinMaxRangeArea). But it had a parameter that is simply labelled "Area Type". Knowing what such parameters do would allow a user to search for relevant operators more efficiently.
More detailed documentation in reference form would have been a great help to this process. The tutorials are great, as far as they go, but information on the individual operators is scattered across several tutorials, making it hard to find quickly.
There is documentation for the RGBMinMaxRangeArea processor in the doc/msgprocessor folder (inside of the main Studio Artist 4 folder).
Processes a color image with a spatial area nonlinear minmax range filter.
In R -Input red image stream
In G -Input green image stream
In B -Input blue image stream
Out R -Output red image stream
Out G -Output green image stream
Out B -Output blue image stream
Spatial Area -Adjusts the size of the spatial kernel as a percent of the overall image area.
Area Type -Specifies different types of processing kernels.
MSG development has definitely raced ahead of MSG documentation. To be honest that probably won't be fully resolved until the next full version is released. It's kind of a crushing work load to be honest. While at the same time most users don't really get very involved with advanced MSG editing. So it's a huge amount of work to address a very small percentage of users who actually care about it.
All of the older MSG processors are documented in the old Evolver user guide pdf. In the Processor Reference section. I've attached that below. But there are a large number of newer msg processors that are not documented in there.
Inside of the doc folder in the main Studio Artist 4 folder there is a folder called msgprocessor. Inside of there are html documentation pages for a larger set of msg processors then presented in the older reference guide section of the evolver user guide.
I do understand that the lack of a complete reference for all of the msg processors and associated editable parameters can be a hindrance for people who want to do advanced editing. It's not an issue at all for people who just use directed evolution to build new msg effects.
Thanks very much for the explanation and the resources. This information is a great help!
I would be happy to be one of those who uses directed evolution for all my needs. What I am finding is that some of the evolved MSG presets come with issues that need to be corrected, though. For a single image, this is easily done by hand, but an automatic solution is required for video processing. For instance, the RGBMinMaxRangeArea processor appears in several wonderful presents. But it generates straight edges separating major areas of hue shift in some video frames. I can't determine whether there is a subtle artifact in the video source (perhaps a compression artifact), or if this is triggered by the nature of the material.
The resources you provided are very helpful. I certainly understand how documenting all the MSG processors is an overwhelming task, particularly for a small subgroup of users.
I'd like to see us move to using popup controls for some msg parameters. Like the Area Type parameter you mentioned. Since it selects from a small set of kernel options. So seeing those options in text in a popup control would make the editing a little more obvious.
Our original design plan was to have a way to bring up the msg html help pages for the processors in the integrated help browser. That hasn't happened, but the help pages themselves are in the doc folder. All of the msg processors that initially shipped with version 4 should be in there. We added a ton of additional msg processors in the first v4 incremental updates, and those will currently be missing from the doc folder.