Studio Artist uses a special folder called the Brush folder as a container for storing individual image or movie files used in Studio Artist paint presets. This tip will discuss how to work with the Brush folder.
Many Studio Artist paint presets are defined computationally by the information stored in a paint preset file. However, some paint presets do reference specific image or movie files that are used to help build the paint preset. For example:
- An Image Source Brush uses an image file as a a brush source.
- A Movie Source Brush uses a movie file as a brush source.
- An Image Background Texture uses an image file to generate a texture.
- A Movie Background Texture uses a movie file to generate a texture.
These image or movie files are not stored in the paint preset file. A file path reference to the image or movie file is stored in the paint preset file. So when you open a paint preset that uses an image or movie file as a part of it’s specification Studio Artist needs to look on your hard disk for the referenced image or movie file and load it in order for the preset to paint properly.
The problem with file references is that the given image or movie file specified by the file path reference may have been moved or perhaps even deleted when you try and use the paint preset at a later date. The Brush folder provides a convenient way to store any image or movie files you use in your Studio Artist paint presets so that this does not happen.
Whenever Studio Artist is unable to find a particular image or movie file reference stored in a paint preset file during the import process, it then looks for that file name inside the Brush folder. The Brush folder needs to be located inside of the main Studio Artist folder next to the Studio Artist application and the other folders like the doc and Preset folders.
It’s highly recommended that if you build your own custom image or movie brush presets that you store their associated image or movie files in the Brush folder. That way Studio Artist will always be able to locate the specific image or movie files used in those paint presets. This will be true even if you move the location of your studio artist folder on your computer, or even if you move the folder to a different computer.
Many paint programs refer to specific paint tools as ‘brushes’. So it’s easy to fall into using the term ‘brush’ to refer to some specific paint preset.
Internally, paint synthesizer classic paint tools consist of a virtual brush consisting of a source and a type. The source is specified in the Brush Source control panel and the type is specified in the Brush Type control panel.
The Brush Modulation control panel parameter options provide additional control over the generation of the dynamic virtual brush. If you are working with an image brush for example, interactive modulators like pen pressure or tile could be used to dynamically modulate the size and orientation of an image brush. An additional dynamic texture field could also be interactively mixed into the dynamic virtual brush.
Some brush types like the geodesic brush types ignore the brush source control panel settings since they are dynamic computational processes. Region fill as brush pen mode also overrides the brush source controls and generates a virtual source brush on the fly based on the region you specified with your manual or automatic painting. It’s also possible to construct a virtual brush by using path randomization or multi pen features to scatter a small brush nib around while drawing to simulate a larger virtual brush area.
Virtual dabs of paint are placed on the virtual brush and then applied to the draw canvas. Both how the virtual brush nib is generated, how the paint dab is generated, and how the brush nib loaded with the paint dab is applied to the canvas can all be dynamic processes in Studio Artist. By dynamic we mean they can be constantly varying and can also be interactively modulated by your mouse or pen gestures as you paint.
Many paint programs are internally based on an image brush for painting, end of story. So when they refer to a brush they are referring to the image used as a representation of a paint brush that is dragged around the canvas applying paint.
Studio Artist’s paint synthesizer has a much more elaborate and sophisticated painting engine as detailed above that is capable of creating much richer, more organic digital painting effects. While you can certainly work with a simple image brush if you want to, many Studio Artist paint presets actually use generative computational brushes that are dynamically computed in real time as you paint.
The same is true for generating textures used for digital painting. You can generate a texture derived off of a single texture image in Studio Artist if you want to. But most presets use a combination of different computational procedural texture generators to create dynamic textures that are always changing, just like textures in the real world that are always varying and different rather than being a repeatable tiled pattern based on a single small image.
Movie brushes are a unique feature in Studio Artist that allow for collections of images to be used to build a paint tool. You can use movie brushes to build a dynamically modulatable virtual brush. You can also use movie brushes to build special effects like photo mosaic imagery.
Movie brushes can also be used in paint synthesizer time particles. The movie plays back as the painting time particle moves over time.
Movie brushes can also be used to build sophisticated hatching patterns for representing different tonal values in a sketch using the Movie Pixel Indexing feature in the Background Texture control panel.
The use of the term Brush in the first part of this tip is referring to the Studio Artist Brush folder. Preset files you use for painting are not stored in the brush folder. They are stored in the Preset : Paint folder. The brush folder is just used to store any image or movie files that are used internally within specific paint presets.
For More Information
A more detailed introduction into how the paint synthesizer works is available here.
More information on Studio Artist presets and how they are organized is available here.
The Studio Artist User Guide pdf is the definitive reference for all of the user adjustable parameters available in the paint synthesizer. The User Guide pdf is located in your main Studio Artist folder.
More information on how to build a movie brush is located here.
More information on working with movie pixel indexed background textures to build custom hatching patterns is detailed here.