Studio Artist

Studio Artist is a digital art program i first started developing in the late 90s. Studio Artist has grown and matured quite a bit over the years, and continues to be actively developed. 

If you are interested in learning more about or purchasing Studio Artist, please check out the Synthetik Software site

Studio Artist is very unique, and is probably the most 'art' oriented of all of the digital art programs currently available. Most others being designed by committees of marketing people focused on the lowest common denominator to a large extent. 

The design of Studio Artist is heavily influenced by my background in digital audio and music synthesis. In a previous life i was one of the founders in the 90's of the San Francisco software company OSC, which was responsible for developing a number of ground breaking digital audio programs including, Deck, Pro Tools, and Avid Media Mix. I'm also a musician and composer with a long history of working with music synthesis. So part of what i tried to do with Studio Artist is bring a lot of ideas and work metaphors from music synthesis and digital audio to the realm of graphic synthesis and digital painting.

I also have a long history of working in the high tech research and development community, specializing in electronic publishing, color printing, image processing, artificial intelligence, and the application of biological modeling of human vision to engineering problems. So all of this diverse engineering background was also brought to bear on the conception and design of Studio Artist. Studio Artist is the only digital paint program that includes computational modeling of the human visual system embedded within the paint software. This allows for 'intelligent-assisted' painting, and is a key component of the auto-paint and auto-rotoscoping capabilities of Studio Artist.

What is Studio Artist?

Studio Artist transcends a lot of existing graphics software product categories. It's a digital paint program. Its an image processing and photo manipulation program. It's a video processing program. It's a paint animation program. It's a procedural art generation program. You can create 2D imagery, but you can also create time based animation or video processing effects. By straddling existing product boundaries it isn't restricted by the artificial marketing categories that have been created by restricting software products to be just a photo manipulation or digital paint or video processing program. Studio Artist is all of these things and more.

Studio Artist is a Graphics Synthesizer. This means it's a tool for synthesizing artistic visual imagery as well as a tool for building an infinite variety of custom visual effects.

Studio Artist takes working metaphors from music synthesis and applies them to digital painting, photo manipulation, and video processing. Studio Artist also incorporates advanced visual modeling based on human perception of imagery in the brain and applies that visual intelligence to control automatic painting as well as image and video processing effects. Studio Artist provides intelligent assistance that helps you create artistic imagery much faster and with more fun than other programs.

You can do everything in Studio Artist manually by hand if you wish. Or you can select a preset, press a button and let Studio Artist do all the work. You can also work interactively while Studio Artist intelligently works behind the scenes to dynamically assist your manual hand work.

What i love about Studio Artist is that it helps you create artistic imagery. So you can quickly generate an infinite variety of different artistic images or processing effects. You're still in the loop as an artist, making decisions about what you like and don't like. But at the same time you don't have to do all the work. Unless you really want to, and even then intelligent assistance is working behind the scenes to make your work more organic, visually complex and compelling.

When i sit down to use other digital painting or visual effects programs i tend to get frustrated very quickly. I also tend to get very little accomplished, even after putting a lot of work into a project. Because nothing happens in those other programs that isn't directly instigated and driven by the user. So creating a single painting or artistic image or visual effect is a very tedious and time consuming task. One that is limited by the physical motor skills you have available to you. One that is limited by your internal energy and concentration to preserver until the job is finished. What should be a fun and creative process quickly becomes a chore. A marathon of internal energy is required to actually create something.

After using one of these other digital art program, returning to Studio Artist is like a breath of fresh air. I can immediately start generating an infinite variety of different artistic images very quickly.

My work could be derived off of source images, source video, or it could be complete visual abstraction generated from no prior imagery. Work derived from source imagery could be realistic, or very abstracted output that is nothing like a conventional clone effect and has no direct relationship to the content of the original source imagery.

I can try out different pre-built intelligent presets to stimulate my visual creativity. When i find something i like i can then edit it to customize or further enhance the visual effect. When i create something new i like i can then save it as a new custom preset for use at a later date. I can do detailed editing, potentially adjusting hundreds of different parameters that affect the look and feel of a digital paint tool. Or i can press a button and have Studio Artist generate new sets of presets automatically for me to cull through looking for keepers.

I can generate sets of procedural abstractions or modular image processing effects at the click of the mouse, working with directed evolution over time to build amazing artistic imagery i could never have created or even conceived of if i had to manually build them from scratch. At the same time i have the ability to get under the hood and fine tune modular image processing or procedural art effects via detailed editing if i wish to refine or fine tune a particular effect or image. With over 500 modular image processing modules that can be combined together in an unlimited number of different ways i have access to an endless supply of different visual effects.

I can generate free running gallery shows that generate new artwork and visual effects unattended. Gallery show can be used to build dynamic customized art displays, visual performance pieces, or as a way to automatically generate new presets effects or sets of art images that can be culled through later for keepers.

I can work with live visual synthesis in real time. Building recursive visual effects that feed back on themselves. Processing live video captures. Changing between different preset effects on the fly without interrupting my visual performance. Live editing effects and watching them adjust in real time. Streaming my live visual performance out to a video file to capture a visual performance.

Studio Artist is all this and more.

I've included some additional information below that covers some of the specific features available in Studio Artist.

Studio Artist Features

Studio Artist is the first and only software program that can automatically paint, draw, and auto-rotosocope. Studio Artist intelligently examines a source image or video and then re-renders it in the visual style you choose, automatically or interactively.

Studio Artist includes thousands of paint presets and other factory visual effects that are all completely editable. Apply any effect on a still image or video. Instantly create paintings, vector art, effect processed images, or keyframe animations. Add warping, morphing, texture synthesis, and much more. Anything you can do with a still image can be applied automatically to a video source creating stunning one-of-a-kind effects.

Endless Paint Effects
Unlike other paint programs with a small number of editable parameters, Studio Artist's Paint Synthesizer has hundreds of editable controls. This kind of control enables Studio Artist to produce unlimited lush dynamic and visually complex paints while allowing for the randomness or happy accidents of real art materials. But realistic oil, chalk, water color or wet paints are only part of the picture. Studio Artist travels way beyond the world of natural media and into the realm of Wow! Watch paint brushes interact with a virtual canvas to create truly unique paintings, drawings, and processed video.

Animation and Auto-Rotoscoping
Studio Artist can auto-paint or rotoscope video frame by frame automatically. Design a series of paint and image processing operations on one frame and then let Studio Artist generate a hand-painted and/or image processed video sequence automatically. Completely resolution independent. Use low-res source video and output to any resolution, even IMAX!

Extensive image Processing Suite
Studio Artist has a full range of image processing filters and unique visual effects. Custom art processes can be designed that combine paint operations and image processing filters as Paint Action Sequence presets. Image processing brush loading within the Paint Synthesizer allows for pen controlled image processing, opening up a whole new world for interactive painting.

Modular Image Processing Architecture
Studio Artist includes a modular MSG image processing architecture that includes over 500 image processing modules that can be combined together to create an unlimited number of visual processing effects, or abstract procedural imagery. Automatic visual effect evolution features allow you to generate amazing still or animated abstract imagery at the touch of a button. MSG presets can either be used as stand alone effects, or encapsulated into the Paint Synthesizer to create cool custom paint tools providing unlimited user creativity and expandability.

Vector Art and Animation
Studio Artist's Vectorizer automatically converts a raster image into a resolution independent vector visual effect. Go mild to wild! Adjustable settings let you tweak an existing preset effect or build a new one from scratch. The Paint Synthesizer can also be configured to produce a wide range of vector paint styles. Output vector effects as eps or svg vector files for resolution independent printing.

Unlimited keyframe Paint Animation and Video Effects
Every editable parameter in Studio Artist can be keyframe animated over time creating an unlimited range of dynamic video effects. This includes paint strokes, both manual and automatic, as well as the many image processing, texture synthesis, vectorizer, warp, and selection tools. Design keyframed vector based warps, morphs, or video processing effects.

Purchasing Studio Artist
Studio Artist 4 is the latest Studio Artist release. For more information on purchasing Studio Artist 4, here's a link to the Synthetik Software online store.

Quick Overview of Studio Artist 4 Features

Studio Artist 4 is the next generation of Studio Artist digital art, image and video processing software. With version 4 we’ve now opened up the Studio Artist experience to Windows as well as Mac users. Mac users will be pleased that version 4 is a universal binary application with faster native processing speed on both Intel and PPC Macs. Windows users will be pleased that they can now run Studio Artist on their Windows computers. Studio Artist 4 is compatible with Apple computers running OSX 10.4 through the latest OSX 10.7, and with Windows computers running Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and Windows 7.

Studio Artist 4 still provides the same graphics synthesizer editing metaphors, intelligent visual processing and smart automatic drawing capabilities developed in previous versions of Studio Artist. But the underlying code base was extensively rewritten in version 4 to allow for support of existing features while also providing a solid platform for future development. We also added a ton of new features, enhancements, workflow and speed optimizations.

The new Studio Artist 4 workspace is much more modular in nature and can be custom configured depending on your particular workflow. You can dock and reposition your working palettes and toolbars anywhere at the edges of the main workspace. Palettes can be tab nested on top of each other to conserve screen space. Palettes can also be floated outside the main workspace, which is very useful in dual monitor and live performance setups. You can switch on the fly while working between 4 different user configurable workspace memories and a full screen display mode. Multiple levels of undo are also now supported.

Studio Artist 4 provides enhanced functionality and new features while maintaining compatibility with all of your old Studio Artist presets. The factory preset collection has also been significantly expanded, providing thousands of new presets to explore and modify. A new Favorites preset toolbar allows you to custom organize sets of working favorites presets in a space saving moveable toolbar.

The new integrated help browser allows you to document, organize, and access presets via custom html help pages.

Studio Artist 4 includes new real time interaction features. Loop Action allows you to switch between different processing presets on the fly while they run in a live processing loop. Effect and paint parameters can also be live adjusted while Studio Artist is auto painting or processing in loop action. Paint Synthesizer Time Particles take on a whole new life with live editing while they are painting. Live video capture can also be incorporated into loop action processing along with live interactive editing for live visual performance or live video synthesis. The new Gallery Show features allow you to build custom free running art shows or automatically generate an infinite range of new presets and/or art images.

The Paint Synthesizer now has over 500 adjustable parameters and is capable of an even wider range of potential styles and effects. Hybrid vector-raster paint effects can now be created, like painting a vector region that then has it's edges melted or smeared with water using a single paint preset. The new Live Extend path shape option allows for wild dynamic paint styles with physics based behavior. Photo mosaic, movie brush, and paint regionization features have been enhanced to expand your creative potential. The new Dual Paint operation mode allows you to combine digital painting and live image processing together to create dynamic organic paint presets as well as amazing interactive visual effects.

The Paint Synthesizer and Vectorizer now provide direct anti-aliased vector drawing and vector output. Vector files can be output to eps, pdf, or svg vector file formats for resolution independent output. Bezier paths can be embedded in a paint preset and then animated over time, creating dynamic animation or cross hatching effects. Bezier path editing for creating morph or warp effects has been streamlined for faster workflow.

The old Layer and Paint Action Sequence (PASeq) timeline functionality have been integrated into a single new PASeq timeline editor. PASeq batch processing features allow for enhanced professional workflow when auto-rotoscoping multiple movie files. The new Movie Layer features allow for Quicktime movie files to be embedded in multiple canvas layers when building animation effects or doing manual touchup to individual movie frames.

The Image Operation effects have been extensively enhanced and expanded. New intelligent Image Operation effects like Sketch Edge and Sketch Mass effects can now directly generate Bezier paths in addition to raster processing effects. The new intelligent path generation features can be combined with the infinite variability of the Paint Synthesizer’s drawing engine to create an endless range of different art styles and processing effects limited only by your imagination.

The new Temporal Image Processing operation mode provides a number of new time based image processing effects. These new temporal effects can be used for video processing. They can also be used to generate static images from video sequences that encapsulate the motion in a video sequence into a single static image. They can also generate a static panorama view based on the video camera’s panning and movement in a scene. Slit scan temporal effects can be used to expand, contract, extract or remove motion from a scene as well as create amazing looking visual effects.

Much of the old MSG Evolver modular image processing editing capabilities are now accessible directly in version 4 via the new MSG Advanced Editor and MSG Evolution palettes. You can use directed evolution to generate an infinite variety of different abstract procedural art images as well as image and video processing effects without delving into the technical aspects of MSG editing. There are now over 500 MSG processors available that can be combined together for constructing custom modular image processing effects. MSG presets can also be used to expand the Paint Synthesizer's capabilities through the use of MSG source brushes, brush load processing, path start, and path shape generators.

How to Get Studio Artist 4
The list price for Studio Artist 4 for new customers is $399. There is special upgrade pricing for existing Studio Artist customers. For more information on purchasing Studio Artist 4, here's a link to our online store.

Studio Artist 4 Information Resources
In addition to the 551 page User Guide pdf that ships with Studio Artist 4, there's a ton of on-line tutorial and information resources available to learn more about the vast range of Studio Artist features and special effect capabilities.

If you haven't checked out the Studio Artist User Forum, you should really do so. It's a great place to ask Studio Artist related questions and receive answers from Synthetik Software as well as other expert Studio Artist users. There's also a photo gallery of user artwork created in Studio Artist, as well as a video gallery. New paint and effect presets from Synthetik Software and from other Studio Artist users are available for download from the forum. You can also construct your own custom home page and Studio Artist blog if you wish to. You can access the Studio Artist User Forum here.

The Studio Artist Tips site provides online documentation, getting started and tutorial tips for Studio Artist 4. You can access the Studio Artist Tips site here.

The old Studio Artist Daily Effects blog highlighted a series of different Studio Artist effects and features everyday for a long period of time. The daily effects blog was originally available on Posterous, but was archived on the Synthetik main blog here after Posterous ceased to exist after an acquisition by Twitter (thanks Twitter not).

The Studio Artist Users Showcase is available on Vimeo and highlights different Studio Artist processed video effects and animation. You can access the Studio Artist Users Showcase on Vimeo here.

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