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Synthetik Debuts Studio Artist 3.0

New version adds vectorization tools, expanded paint parameters, enhanced animation and effects capabilities By Dave Nagel
Synthetik Software has announced Studio Artist 3.0, an update to the company's paint, animation, rotoscoping and effects suite. The new version adds a variety of improvements and new features, including vectorization tools, expanded paint parameters, enhanced animation and effects capabilities and the ability to save sessions with layer content in tact. The new version is being shown at the Macworld Expo (booth 2619) this week in San Francisco and is available for purchase now.

Studio Artist is a multi-purpose application, with an emphasis on drawing and painting features through its Paint Synthesizer. The previous version had about 200 controls for creating and modifying paint brushes in a variety of styles, including emulations of traditional media (wet paints, chalk, charcoal, crayons, pencils, inks and the like) and a wide range of parameters for creating experimental still and animated brushes. The new version expands these capabilities extensively, with about double the parameters, including expanded Time Particles settings for creating animated brush strokes. It also includes about 3,000 brush presets.

For still art and film and video work, Studio Artist includes automatic rotoscoping functionality, which incorporates all of the parameters of the Paint Synthesizer but allows users to paint on the canvas (or to a series of frames or to QuickTime files) automatically for generating hand-drawn paint effects from source footage. It also offers complete, manual painting for frame by frame animations with onionskinning or rotoscoping, or Bezier-based animation with automatic tweening. New Paint Synthesizer functions, aside from additional parameters, include:

  • Additional pen modes, including Autodraw Multipen;
  • The ability to capture live video feeds to the source or canvas areas for painting and rotoscoping on the fly;
  • Manual and automatic region painting, including access to all Paint Synthesizer parameters;
  • New Particle Paints, with swarming behaviors, for the ability to create flowing liquid strokes or pattern effects.

For animation, Studio Artist 3.0 includes full layer alpha support with the ability to keyframe Bezier paths, position, content, and background (still or video); New methods for capturing every kind of stroke or warp on a frame by frame basis for creating animated effects interactively (such as write-on effects with no limits tot he types of paint brushes you can use); and enhanced capabilities for keyframing Bezier warps, morphs and paint animations.

In the area of image processing, Studio Artist 3.0 incorporates several completely new functions, including a new Vectorizer feature, which, as its name implies, converts raster images into vector artwork. The process can be used either as an effect or as actual vector region output (in the EPS format), with controls over filtering (pre and post), size and cleaning, and it includes 10 primary algorithms for generating different vector styles, which can be used for still or video work (using sequentially numbered EPS output files).

Also added is an entirely new image processing and effects plugin architecture called MSG--Modular Stylized Graphics--which provides users with the ability to use and combine a wide range of effects plugins for processing video or still images. Studio Artist 3.0 ships initially with more than 600 MSG effects.

The new version also includes several workflow tweaks, the most significant of which is the ability to save sessions with complete layer content intact. But it also gains some ease of use enhancements, with elements rearranged for easier access, such as layer alpha settings in the Layers palette (seen in the first screen shot, above).

And, finally, it also includes more than eight hours of new video training materials and 800 pages of documentation in PDF format.

Studio Artist 3.0 is available now for Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X for $379. Upgrades sell for $179. We'll bring you more details in our forthcoming "first look" article covering this new software. For more information, visit

Contact the author: Dave Nagel is the editor and producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Apple DVD Studio Pro, Mac OS, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications. You can reach him at

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