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Inside the Studio Artist Paint Synthesizer, Part 4

Exploring MultiPen Mode parameters By Dave Nagel
We continue our exploration of the Studio Artist Paint Synthesizer this week with a look at MultiPen parameters. MultiPen is a mode in Studio Artist that allows you to take any Paint Patch and turn it into a brush that appears to have multiple tips. Sound simple? Well, it is, but the results can be quite complex. And, as with all things Studio Artist, there are about a bazillion ways to tweak the settings to change the behavior of a MultiPen brush.

Note that I use the word "behavior" rather than "appearance." As I say, a MultiPen brush can be made out of any of the thousand or so preset Paint Patches included with Studio Artist, not to mention the millions of yet-to-be invented ones. So the appearance of the nib itself (an instance of the brush preset) is controlled outside of the confines of the MultiPen parameters and, thus, outside the scope of this installment. Instead we're going to focus on how the MultiPen parameters affect the behavior of the nibs. (Note that if you do not yet own Studio Artist, you can get the demo from http://www.synthetik.com.)

Now, what's the big deal about using brush tips? It's a pretty basic concept: Instead of applying a single tip with a single brush stroke, you get multiple tips with a single brush stroke. But you also get to control the ways in which the multiple tips are applied. Hence the big deal.

Take, for example, the piece of artwork at the beginning of this article. That was just a single, short, straight stroke using the MultiPen setting on one of the Paint Patches I made available for download earlier this year. (You can find that set of Paint Patches here.) And that's just one of the many ways MultiPen mode can be used to affect the behavior of a stroke. There's a total of 12 controlling parameters for MultiPen strokes, and each one has several subparameters for further affecting the behavior.

Getting started
Let's start with a basic stroke. For this example, we'll use one of the presets included with Studio Artist so that you don't have to download or install anything additional. In the Default presets, choose the 3D Lighting Wet category, and select the "LightingWet 2" patch. This has a nice, fluid stroke that looks something like this:

To make this a MultiPen brush, locate the Mode pull-down menu at the top of the canvas, and switch it from "Interactive Pen" to "Interactive MultiPen." You'll see a difference in your stroke right away.

Now, to modify the way this stroke behaves, we're going to switch over to the Paint Synthesizer. So in the left area of the workspace, switch from Presets to Paint Synthesizer, and then choose the parameter called MultiPen Mode. The settings below are the default whenever you use a brush in MultiPen mode.

From the top
The first setting, Line Track, has two options: On or Off. Line Track tells Studio Artist, essentially, to fill the spaces in between a stroke to provide continuity. This can be important for fast strokes, where, in MultiPen mode, the spacing of the tips can't keep up with the speed of the application. The image below shows a fast stroke with Line Track set to Off.

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