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Varying Effects over Time in Studio Artist
[Page 2 of 3]

5. Switch to the Paint Synthesizer and open up the palette called Path Start. Right at the top you'll see a field labeled "Max Strokes." Change the value to 0.

6. Now Option-click on the first frame in your PASeq timeline. You've now set the first and all subsequent frames to render zero strokes. Simple? It surely is.

7. Now you want to be thinking about how many strokes you're going to want in the full animation and how long it should take to phase in from zero strokes to that final number. The number of strokes is highly dependent upon the type of strokes you're using. So I can't really tell you that; it's a matter of taste and too many variables. Timing is also a matter of taste, but here's some advice. Animations in Studio Artist tend to look best at 10 frames per second. Why? When they get much higher than that, they stop looking like graceful animations and more like noise. This is owing to the fact that every single stroke in every single frame looks slightly different. So try to keep your frame rate in the 10 FPS range.

Tip: You can change the frame rate of your animation in the Timeline Animation palette. This will have a direct effect on how your final processed piece looks.

This also has a direct effect on timing. At 10 FPS, your transition should be complete somewhere in the neighborhood of frame 20 to 30 (two or three seconds). For this example, we're using frame 25 to mark the full phase in.

So for this example, I now want to click on frame 25 in the PASeq timeline and enter in the final number of strokes. Then I will Option-click on frame 25. Studio Artist will handle everything in between for me, adding strokes from frame 1 until it reaches the final stroke count I've set at frame 25.

Phase out
If you want to fade out the same way, the process is similar. First, you're going to need to know the total length of the piece you're going to process. If you're creating your PASeq with the footage that you plan to use for your final render, then Studio Artist has already given you an appropriate number of frames in your PASeq timeline. If you're not using your footage for this, you're going to have to do some calculating. Multiply the length of your movie (in seconds) by 10 to get a frame count that correlates in Studio Artist. If you are working with a 10-second piece, that's 100 frames. By default, Studio Artist's PASeq window only gives you 20 frames to work with. You can change this number in the Timeline Animation palette.

Note: Extending the bar in the Timeline Animation palette gives you a maximum of 100 frame. You can manually enter a longer number in the frame filed.

So let's say you're dealing with 100 frames, and you want a 25-frame fade out. The first thing you want to do is Option-click on frame 76. This will let Studio Artist know that you want to maintain maximum strokes until frame 76, at which point it will start decreasing strokes to whatever number you set at frame 100, which is your final frame.

To set the value to 0 at frame 100, click on frame 100 in your PASeq timeline. Then go back into the Paint Synthesizer and enter 0 in the Max Strokes field, and then Option-click on frame 100.

You now have a complete phase in and phase out.

So now let's say you want to add in a second set of strokes that phases in at a different rate from the first set. It's almost exactly the same process, but with one exception.

First, check the Record button in your PASeq window again; select your preset; and click Action. When you stop it, this new action will appear in your PASeq window right underneath your first one. Set the first frame to zero strokes using the method outlined above.

Now I want this second set of strokes to begin phasing in just as the first set finishes (frame 25). So after I've set my first keyframe at zero strokes, I'm going to add another keyframe at frame 24 just by Option-clicking on that frame in the PASeq timeline. This tells Studio Artist to draw zero strokes from frame 1 to frame 24.

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Dave Nagel is the producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications.