Suppose you want to find out more about what kind of artist you are, or would like to be. There are two features of MSG that make it a very powerful jump-starter for these kinds of artistic self-discovery or improvement. (To follow along, start by choosing 'MSG Advanced Editor' from the SA Windows menu).

The first jump-starter is provided by the Help menu (press Cmd-8 on a Mac to bring it up), when you choose 'MSG Editing Commands', and then some specific item such as
'Abstract Generation/Angular Gradient Cen4N2'. This immediately brings up an MSG preview window with a generated image having the feature you have just chosen.

Then the second powerful jump-starter is the ability to directly manipulate that resulting MSG image using the t, r and h hotkeys. Here's a description:

There are also a few common parameters that can be adjusted interactively with the mouse in the preview image if you hold down the appropriate hot key prior to clicking the preview image. For example, if you hold down the t key and then mouse down in the preview image moving the mouse horizontally will translate adjust the preset (if it support internal parameters for translation). Other hot keys include r for rotate and h for spatial frequency adjustment. The preview image will adjust accordingly in real time as you make these generic interactive adjustments.

What makes these combined MSG facilities so powerful is that you now have complete freedom of choice as to what the final image will look like after you've manipulated it with the hotkeys. So ask yourself--why did you choose the one specific configuration you finally settled on, rather than any of the gazillion other possible choices that appeared as you moved the mouse with a hotkey down? What does that choice show about what kind of artist you are, or might become?

The MSG system also makes it easy to get an even more synoptic view of the kind of artist you currently are, given the choices that you make. If you activate the MSG memories (SA Preferences/MSG/MSG Editor Memories on), you can drag your final choice into one of the memories. Then you can repeat the whole process as many times as you want, using a different MSG editing command plus different mouse hotkeys each time, and save the results into other MSG memory cells. At the end of this process you'll have a complete profile of the kinds of choices you currently like to make, given your various very different starting-points.

Are you completely happy with the results? If not, you now have a compelling reason to grow yourself in some other artistic direction, until you are more satisfied with the eventual results. It is in such ways that these specific parts of the MSG system can be a significant help in jump-starting or bootstrapping your continuing artistic development.

--What do you think? Comments please!

You need to be a member of Studio Artist to add comments!

Join Studio Artist

Email me when people reply –


  • If you hold the cursor above the MSG Advanced Editor Preview cell, you get a list of the hot key options available for it down int he status area (bottom left of the main workspace).


    So, t-translate, r-rotate, and h-scale can be used to interactively translate, rotate, and scale the preview. The other hot key options influence what happens when you click the preview cell to propagate the MSG preset into the Evolution Editor.

    • Thanks, I hadn't seen that hotkey options list before, because I usually keep the MSG editor in a separate window--it has to be inside the main window for the cursor to display the options list.

       Also, those Preview-applied hotkeys that affect the Evolution grid seem to work in the same way when directly applied to an Evolution cell, which then affects the other cells--is that correct?  (But they look useful anyway).

This reply was deleted.