How to emulate the old MSG Evolver ArtMapper in SA V5.

SA 5 has some features that make it fairly easy to get going simulating the old MSG Evolver ArtMapper. The SA5 paint synthesizer is very flexible, and can emulate what the old ArtMapper did. 

I posted this as an answer to a forum discussion today, but i'm duplicating it here for future reference for people interested in the topic.

First, you want to make a path start regionize paint preset.

So, there is a paint synth macro edit command that allows you to create a default path start regionization preset in one click.

Running the Default Fill Regionize Edit macro edit command (click the arrow to run the command) edits the paint synthesizer settings to use a default path start regionize effect. It fills the individual regions with solid color.

And another one that lets you build a MSG brush off of the current MSG preset in one click.

So, clicking the Make MSG Preset macro edit command edits the current paint synthesizer so that the fill is coming from the MSG Brush Load.

This default msg brush load is going to use whatever the current msg preset is for the MSG effect. So if it's a black and white msg output texture, then every path start region will be painted with the MSG effect (which is a bw texture that might have no relationship to the source image.

SA 5 has an additional Algorithm 2 option at the bottom of the MSG Brush Load control panel. You can use that to bring up different colorization or other effects that get run on the MSG output prior to using it as a paint fill.

In the screen shot above, i have the Algorithm 2 option set to the PaintColor MeanShift effect algorithm. this performs a colorization effect based on the local source image statistics for the region being painted.

Here's a simple example.

The current MSG preset is a simple bw texture generator.

Running the Default Fill Regionize edit gives the following output.

Note that the MSG effect is not being used.

If you then run the Make MSG Paint macro edit, you get the following result.

Note how the BW texture MSG effect is now being used for each region fill.

Algorithm 2 in the MSG Brush Load control panel is set to None in this example. If i then set it to the PaintColor MeanShift option i get the following result.

Note how the individual MSG generated regions are now colorized.

There are lots of different colorization options available for Algorithm2. they all look different. Experimentation is the best way to figure out how they look.

To use a different path start regionize generator with a different visual appearance, just got the Path Start control panel and change the generator to a different regionize option. The default macro edit is using the AdvWatershed generator as seen below.

If you change that generator setting to a different regionize option ( i used Adaptive Block Regionize below), then you can generate a different visual appearence for the generated MSG filled regions.

Here's the output for generator edit shown above.

Note how the visual appearance of the individual path start regions has changed.

If you don't know how to get to the paint synth macro edit commands, they are located in the integrated help browser. Open the Help window if it's not already up in your main workspace.

Then click on the Index button at the top help toolbar to bring up the index.

Then click on the Paint Synth macro Edit link. That will bring up the paint synth macro edit commands. Clicking on any of the active link edit commands will run that macro edit.

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MSG Effects that use color gradients or color palettes to generate their color output allow for additional source colorization options when used for path start regionize paint fills as described above.

Here's a simple example.

I modified the simple bw texture msg preset used in my post above so that it colorizes it's output based on a color gradient.

If i then use this modified msg preset for my msg painted path start regionization based on the Adaptive Block Regionize generator (as described in the original post), this is what i get for output.

Here's what the  Paint Brush Load control panel settings in the paint synthesizer looked like for above.

Note that Gradient Map, Palette map, and Algorithm2 are all set to None. So, the paint synthesizer paints directly with the MSG preset, so all of the blocks have the same color, based on the color gradient built into the msg preset.

If i change the Gradient Map to use MSG SrcGen rather then None,

then the color gradient used in the MSG generation will be modified for each region so that the color gradient is derived from the spatially mapped source color within each individual region.

Note that this gradient map colorization looks very different than using the Paint Color MeanShift option for Algorithm2 (as described in the original post above).


So, what about using Palette Mapping. let's continue our simple example.

I modified the MSG preset to use a color palette for output colorization rather then a color gradient.

If i use this modified MSG for painting with no colorization options on in the Paint Brush Load control panel, then i get the following output for the path start regionize paint derived off of the new MSG preset.

If i then set the Palette Map option in the Paint Brush Load control panel from None to MSG SrcGen,

i get the following output.

Again, this looks very different then if i used the paint Color MeanShift Algorithm 2 option for colorization (as described earlier in the post). If i also turn on Color MeanShift for Algorithm2 while also doing the palette Map shown above, i get something that looks different from either on it's own.

Note that this dual colorized set of settings output looks different then either of the 2 options run on it's own.

You could of course potentially build a better MSG preset for use with Palette Mapping. 

You could also build src generated color gradient and color palettes directly into the MSG preset. if you did that, no need to use the Gradient Map or Palette Map options in the Paint brush Load control panel. that source colorization would be built directly into the MSG effect.

Someone asked about the Source option in the Paint Brush Load control panel. They were referring to MSG brush load, but the image processing and lighting effect brush loads also have source options. 

The Source refers to what is used as input into the Brush Load processing module. In the case of MSG Brush Load, it's what is used as the 3 channel color input to the MSG preset being used in the MSG Brush Load processing. So it could be the source image, or the current canvas contents, but also many other potential options as well (as seen above). 

Some of the potential options use 2 different inputs added together. 'Canvas + Brush' would be a combination of the current canvas mixed with the current Brush Source.

Note that the potential source options for MSG processing in the the Brush Load modulate in the paint synthesizer are much more extensive then the source options if you just run the MSG preset directly in MSG operation mode. Those options just include the source image, the current canvas, and the 2 of them mixed together.

I have just seen this, it is really really useful!! thankyou

ps. a problem occurs when I use the 64 bit vers on my macbook pro: if I minimise it from sceen to dock I am unable to open back on the screen even though it's still technically open, I can work around by going to full screen then then unclicking that, then it is back.

I kept meaning to mention this.

This post is really helpful but would want to know how to achieve  this results (i.e where the brush orient or is applied according to the source color gradient) using image brush or movie brush.

Can you explain in a little bit more detail what you are looking to achieve. 

I want to create an effect where the applied brush shows two color range within the source image. Again would want to setup the paint synthesizer so that it doesn't use the full frame of the brush being applied but will be clipped to only portions (of the brush) that best represents the tonal flow within the source image.

You can turn on Nib Masking in the Paint Fill Apply control panel to Local Image Range. That will clip the brush nib to a local color range in the source image. It's using the Color Range Value in the Path End control panel for the range.


I read the tip on simulating the art mapper effect and there is a portion which states that the Art mapper created composite art images and photo mosaic effect by running multiple applications of MSG presets. 

The question then is if multiple msg presets could be combined to to use a database of images, then one can create this awesome effect if he/she have access to these specific presets or the individual processors responsible for the creation of the effect.

One particularly cool feature of the art mapper is its ability to produce bi-level color photo mosaic effect which currently cannot be achieved in SA. So if the evolver could use multiple msg presets together with a database of images then possibly movie brushes and the like can also be used together with an msg preset within the paint synth. 

So John, we would be grateful if you could share these msg presets or processors that  combined to create the effect. This tip you shared is really helpful but it uses msg preset as brush but we would want to know how to simulate the effect using movie brushes or image folder brush.


The Source options in the Brush Load control panel of the paint synthesizer include options that use the current Source Brush. Brush being the obvious one. But there are others like Canvas + Brush or Source + Brush that combine the brush with the current canvas or source. So if you are working with a movie brush or image folder brush then they can be routed through the MSG Brush Load effect.

Bi Level color. One way would be to palette map to a 2 color palette. You could also try that with a 2 color gradient as well. Also, in Algorithm2 there is a Map Fixed Color 1-2. So that's going to use the current output of the Fixed Color control panel (fixed colors 1 and 2).

There are also Threshold options in Algorithm2. So you could threshold and then use a Fill From Mod in the Paint Fill Setup control panel that colorizes based on the source or current paint color.

Thanks for the response. But please could you explain a bit don't understand.


Again I set the source under the msg brush load options to brush but when I paint I still see the msg preset being used as the brush.


If the Source is set to Brush, then the output of the Brush Source control panel is used as the input to the MSG preset you are using in MSG Brush Load. So yes, the msg preset is going to be used as the output of the Brush Load processing. If you are using a msg preset that processes it's input, then the brush image input will be processed accordingly by the msg preset. If you are using a msg preset that is just generative (doesn't process any input io streams), then the source setting won't have any effect because the msg preset isn't using it internally.

If you just want the Source option to be routed out of the brush load processing (maybe with some additional Algorithm processing), you could use Image Processing Brush Load as opposed to MSG Brush Load.


The Evolver ArtMapper Color panel screen capture you emailed me indicates you aren't using any colorization processing for that particular Evolver setup.


If you show me an example of bi-level color output you like here i can take a look at it and try to show you how to emulate it in Studio Artist.


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