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Background Textures in Studio Artist, Part 2

Working with the Texture Synthesizer By Dave Nagel
In our last journey through Studio Artist's Paint Synthesizer, we explored ways to incorporate image-based background textures in your paint brushes. But Studio Artist also offers its own texture generation functions, including a complete texture synthesis engine called (logically enough) Texture Synthesizer. While not nearly as deep as the Paint Synthesizer itself, the Texture Synthesizer does provide numerous controls for generating homespun textures for use in your paint patches.

Before we get started, if you haven't done so already, you'll want to go back and read the first installment in this series, which covers the basics of incorporating background textures into brushes. You can find it by clicking here.  Having read this previous installment, you may be wondering why you'd want to use the Texture Synthesizer instead. Good question. There are two disadvantages to using images as background textures. The most significant is that image textures are static. They don't respond to or interact with the source or canvas; they're just there. And the secondary disadvantage is that you may not have access to software that can produce the texture you want, so you need a way to create your own.

Enter the Texture Synthesizer.

Now, I should note that the Texture Synth is not designed solely to produce background textures for brushes. It can be used as a modulator for a number of functions in Studio Artist. It can even be used on its own simply to place a texture onto your canvas or the "texturize" an existing image. (We'll get into this in a separate tutorial.)

Adding Texture Synth backgrounds to your brushes
Using the Texture Synthesizer for your brush textures is similar to that of using an image texture, which we covered in our previous tutorial. To load the Texture Synth into your brush, simply go into the Paint Synthesizer's Background Texture parameter pane and switch the Texture Type to "Texture Synthesizer."

All of the other brush settings remain the same. So now all that's left to do is to modify the texture in the Texture Synthesizer to get it where you want it.

Creating textures: canvas
For this example, we'll use the Texture Synth to generate a canvas-like texture for our brushes. This type of texture is fairly easy to create and can be modified to produce a number of related variants, like paper, parchment and similar textiles. To begin, simply switch over from the Paint Synthesizer to the texture Synthesizer in the left-hand pane of the Studio Artist Interface. From there, go directly into the Generator parameters, as this is the best starting point for creating a new texture.

There are several ways to create a canvas texture, but I'll walk you through the settings I used to create this canvas-like texture.

It shouldn't be too difficult for you to modify your Texture Synth parameters to achieve something closer to the effect you're looking for.

First off, for a canvas-like texture, you're going to want to change the first three settings to create straight geometry, rather than swirly lines. To do this, switch the Interpolate setting to Sin Grate, the Modifier setting to Mod2 and the Algorithm to Sin Grate.

Notice that in the little square on the bottom, Studio Artist is giving you a full-scale representation of the progress of your texture, as it woul look if you were simply to apply it to your canvas. Here's what we have so far.

Now to make this look a bit more like a canvas, we need to make some changes to the rest of the Generator parameters. Rather than list them, I'll just show you what I'm using to create my canvas texture.

But if you look down at the preview of this particular texture, you'll see it still doesn't look all that canvas-like. However, if you hit the Action button and apply this texture to a white canvas, you'll see what's clearly beginning to resemble an enlarged view of a tightly woven, fabric-like surface.

So now, to bring it home, we just need to start adjusting the Spatial parameters: that is, to shrink it down and bring it to a point where it resembles a canvas texture at a 1:1 scale. To do this, go into the texture Synth's Spatial settings and move all of the sliders there all the way tot he left except for Directionality. This one you should move all the way tot he right (up to a value of 99). And that gets us pretty close to where we want to be.

Ah ha! Now you can begin to see the canvas texture taking shape.

For the final step, we'll make just a few fine-tuning adjustments in the Mapping parameters. First off, I'm going to switch the Scaling parameter to "Absolute," which will shrink down the texture even further. Then I'll make some slight adjustments to Bias and Gain, which you'll see below. (Bias and Gain can be used to soften a texture or to bring in more contrast. To adjust the brightness of the texture, play around with the In Min and In Max settings.) Make sure as well that you have Warp turned off, or your canvas will not be straight.

This texture is now ready for use.

But, if you want to add some dynamics to your texture for use with brushes, you can apply various modifiers to the texture's properties. In the Spatial settings, you can use the source image, canvas, orient and layers (busses, according to the labels) to modify texture depth, angle and horizontal and vertical scale. And, in the Generator settings, you can use the same properties to modify depth, ratio and falloff. The degree to which these properties modify the texture is set by using the sliders to the right of the pull-down menu. A setting of 0 means the property has no effect on the texture; a setting of 200 means that it has an extreme effect.

Play around with these modifier settings and apply them to your canvas to fine tune them to your liking.

Saving Texture Synth presets
So now that you have your texture ready for use, you can save it just as you save a paint patch. Go to File > Export > Texture Synth Patch Export. Then save it to the directory /Applications/Studio Artist 3.0/TexSynth/Default, and place the texture inside a folder within the Default folder. The next time you launch Studio Artist, they'll be available as presets, just like paint patches.

Once you save the texture itself, you'll also want to save the paint brush that uses the Texture Synth texture for its background. To do this, just save the brush as usual using File > Export > Paint Patch Export, and save it into a normal brush directory (/Applications/Studio Artist 3.0/Preset/Default/). Note that you do not necessarily need to save your texture separate from your brush. When you save your brush, your texture settings will be saved along with it. So the next time you load the brush, the appropriate texture from the Texture Synth will be loaded along with it.

Next time around, we'll look into yet another method for generating background textures--one that's a bit less complicated than the Texture Synthesizer: procedural textures. In the meantime, if you have any further questions, be sure to visit me in the Synthetik Studio Artist forum by clicking here.

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Related Keywords:synthetik studio artist, texture synthesizer, background texture, canvas, paper

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