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Inside the Studio Artist Paint Synthesizer

Part 1: An introduction to Time Particles By Dave Nagel
It's a sheer act of willpower that I get any writing done at all here at DMN. If I were to succumb to my temptations, I would hook myself up to life support, strap on a colostomy sack and play with Synthetik Studio Artist until I died of sleep deprivation. They'd find my skeletal corpse draped over my Wacom tablet, and, after they'd scraped the dried, applesauce-like goo off my mouth, they'd discover an expression on my face at once felicitous and manic. Here's one of the reasons why.

This week we begin a new series of tutorials on Synthetik Studio Artist 2.0, specifically covering each individual aspect of this program's Paint Synthesizer. Why a series? Well, to put it simply, Studio Artist offers about a bazillion customizable parameters within its Paint Synthesizer, each one dependent on another, and there's no way to cover them all in just a few tutorials.

To kick the series off, we're going to take a look at a function unique to Studio Artist called Time Particles. Those of you who use Studio Artist already have probably seen the tutorial (either in person on on the tutorial CD) covering the basic use of Time Particles. But that tutorial covers just one variation on the effect and doesn't go into methods for creating your own particle effects.

Time Particles used to animate an abstract image. (Click the play button to watch.)

What is a Time Particle? In effect, it's a self-animating brush stroke. It can be any brush Preset included with Studio Artist, or it can be applied just as easily to custom-made brushes. It can be used simply to animate strokes to provide an animated reveal of a still image or video. It can also be used--and I particularly like this point--to create recursive variations on existing still or video images, as well for producing a series of still images or videos. You can control the direction, spacing and flow of the particles created by your brush strokes, and you can also set which areas of the image will be animated.

Time Particles used to reveal an underlying image. (Click the play button to watch.)

Today we'll look at some of the basics of Time Particles--how to create them and how to control them--and see how they can be used on still images. We'll cover half of the parameters today and get to the rest next week.

Time Particles used to break apart an underlying image. (Click the play button to watch.)

Incidentally, you can download a collection of presets that includes 32 Time Particle brushes from this Web site. You can access this weekly download by clicking the "Features" button at the top of this page or in the left menu.

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