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Inside the Studio Artist Paint Synthesizer, Part 3

The Pen Mode parameter By Dave Nagel
We continue our romp through the Synthetik Studio Artist paint synthesizer this week with a look at two parameter sets new in Studio Artist 2.0: Pen Mode. Studio Artist, of course, is a Mac-based paint, rotoscoping and animation tool that I can't seem to stop raving about. The paint Synthesizer is this program's core painting and rendering engine, which includes so many options that nobody really knows what they all do. But we'll continue to try to clear up some of the mystery.

Now, the Studio Artist Paint Synthesizer is built around the metaphor used by many audio synthesizer applications and plugins. That is, you adjust parameters to come up with a unique "instrument," and then you can save it out as a preset, or "patch," to be used in the future. (Think of these patches as brushes with unique properties, and you get the idea.) Within the Studio Artist Paint Synthesizer, there are 21 general parameters encompassing hundreds of subparameters encompassing thousands of options. So creating brushes isn't just a matter of setting size/opacity/flow, as is the case with many non-dedicated paint programs. There's a lot more going on here, and this explains why--in case you're wondering--we're doing this feature exploration one or two parameters at a time.

Previously, we discussed the Time Particles features available in the Paint Synthesizer and came up with a Quick Reference Guide for their use. (You can read Part 1 here, Part 2 here and the Quick Reference Guide here.) Now we move on to two less complex parameters, Pen Mode and Multipen Mode. Before we get started, if you'd like to follow along, you can download a demo version of Studio Artist from http://www.synthetik.com.

Mode selection
In Studio Artist, you can use any Paint Patch with any kind of Pen Mode. Pen modes are determined by selecting the Mode from the pull-down menu right up above the canvas.

The choices are:

  • Interactive Pen, which is simply a stroke that works just like brush strokes in any graphics program;
  • Freestyle, which is a freehand path that draws itself on mouseup;
  • Freestyle Autodraw, which is like Freestyle but follows the contours of the source image as it draws itself on mouseup;
  • Autodraw One-Click, which draws a stroke based on a single click of the mouse/pen;
  • Autodraw Interactive, which interactively renders a stroke as you draw (similar to Interactive Pen), but follows the contours of the source image;
  • Region Draw, which fills a specified region;
  • Bezier Curve;
  • Particle Paint, which draws multiple strokes as you move your pen across the canvas;
  • Interactive Multipen, which follows your stroke with additional instances of the brush, or Paint Patch, that you're using.

It's not too tricky. Experimenting with each one will show you what they do.

Stroke appearance when using Interactive Pen, Freestyle or Bezier Curve.

Stroke appearance when using various Autodraw modes.

Stroke using Region Draw.

Stroke using Particle Paint.

Stroke using Interactive Multipen.

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