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Synthetik Studio Artist 2.0

Painting, rotoscoping and effects package for Macintosh and Mac OS X By Dave Nagel
I'm not going to keep you in suspense on this one. Synthetik Studio Artist 2.0 is my favorite application of all time, regardless of platform or genre. It's a painting program. It's a rotoscoper. It's an animation package. And it's an effects suite. It does it all, and it offers creative tools no other package can meet no matter how much money you spend.

Studio Artist isn't a simple tool for all occasions though. It's built primarily around a paint and effects engine, and so its practicality as an image editor, for example, is limited by the fact that the program is geared toward high-impact results rather than mundane chores. This is not to say that it can't be used to remove blemishes from a photograph or wires from a video. But, by far, it's on the creative end that Studio Artist stands alone.

Personally, I use Studio Artist in conjunction with a number of other creative tools. I use it for painting, while I use Photoshop for image editing. I use it as a post-processor for video, including 3D animations, though I do my compositing in either Combustion or After Effects. And I use it for creating animations, though, if I were producing a Saturday morning cartoon, I would certainly want to do most of the work in a dedicated animation package. So Studio Artist is not a replacement for many of the tools already on the market. It's a tool that, on its own, offers creative flexibility that's unmatched, but that tends to be better used in conjunction with your standard suite of tools.

Studio Artist 2 in OS X

I know this is a concept that eludes a whole lot of digital artists out there. How can a program be (as I consider it) the most significant visual arts package on the market and not serve as a replacement for Photoshop or After Effects or Combustion? Oh, man, it's all in the tools--the power, the versatility and the process. It's a program with expansive--almost limitless--creative options, and it provides the kind of addictive user experience that forces you to lose sleep, ignore your family and wish you could get a colostomy just so you wouldn't have to move away from your computer even for a second.

For a reviewer like me, Studio Artist is a difficult one to explain simply because it does so much. I'm going to try to approach this in a way that will be accessible for those of you who've never seen the program. But, just in case my words fail to do this program justice, I highly recommend that you download the demo version at (Incidentally, this program is currently exclusive to Macintosh and now fully supports Mac OS X.)

What it does
Studio Artist is a tool for artists who work with still imagery, motion graphics and video. In my coverage of this program, I have to be fairly arbitrary in what I include simply because there isn't enough time in the world to cover everything sufficiently. So, before I get started on the specifics, I thought I'd break it down for you in general terms.

  • First, Studio Artist is a painting application. You use the program's "Paint Synthesizer" to create painting tools, and then you paint on the canvas layers with them. Or you let the program do it for you. (See below.)
  • Studio Artist is also a rotoscoping tool, especially tailored for creating paint effects on video. Rotoscoping can be manual (frame by frame) or automatic--a remarkable process that I'll get into later.
  • The program also includes a ton of general effects, similar in approach to filters you might use in Photoshop. These include paint effects, of course, but they also include color tools, gradients, "trippy" effects and more.
  • It's also an animation tool, allowing you to do cel-style animation manually or control vectors through keyframes.
  • It also allows you to warp images (or portions of images) in sometimes bizarre ways.
  • And it includes a built-in morphing engine.

I'm not going to try to address each one of these general features completely. There's just too much to get into. But I'll try to give you a general idea of what each one does and how they work. But, as I say, it's a complex program. I've been covering this program extensively for about two years now, and I still don't know everything it does. So bear with me.

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Related Keywords:Synthetik Studio Artist 2.0 Painting, rotoscoping and effects package for Macintosh and Mac OS X


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