[Review] Studio Artist 1.5, Paint For Beginners, Pros, And Even Movies
Studio Artist 1.5
Contact And Other Information
|Product Home Page:
||Studio Artist 1.5
30, Sheridan Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
||US$329 (with manual) at Synthetik
US$295 (no manual) at Synthetik
Mac OS 8 or later
32 MB RAM (minimum)
|System Used For Testing:
||Power Mac G3 All-in-one
128 MB RAM
Mac OS 9.0.4
Dual Power Mac G4 (450 MHz)
256 MB RAM
Mac OS 9.0.4
by Michael Munger
Studio Artist is an illustration solution for people who may be looking for different kinds of options and may need some help when it comes to designing images from scratch.
It opens a canvas and allows you to use an image as a model. Synthetik Software illustrates the concept with a comparison of Studio Artist to a music synthesizer, allowing you to compose and play while adjusting hundreds of potential options.
With such power, you can achieve something and create outstanding design, especially if you are creative. It closes the gap between you and great artwork.
The process is very Microsoftian (the new Mac Microsoft approach, that is). Drag the folder of the program to your hard disk (or partition) and you are ready to go. You should note that Studio Artist requires you to have QuickTime installed. See the table with system requirements for other requirements.
On the CD, you also get: stock photography; QuickTime 3 and 4 installers; tutorial movies, movie examples. (It is quite interesting to compare the movies to each other to see the source of a painted movie and its result once touched. It gives an artistic touch to a QuickTime movie.)
Unlike some other software makers, Synthetik Software ships two printed manuals with the product. The first one is a user guide that explains everything for you to understand your software inside and out. The tutorial manual should help you to practice and learn how to paint.
The software's interface is rather clean and easy to understand. It has a main canvas, a source image window and then an operations window. The menus include a lot of options, especially the movie painting actions and then menu equivalents for all the paint patches and presets.
Click the thumbnail for a larger view.
Let's get dirty and paint!
Does this stuff really work? Yes. Although yours truly is not the next Michelangelo, it was possible to produce a few samples, though no museum would ever accept them!
The most important feature of the application is its Paint Synthesizer, which allows you to adjust all the parameters from the starting point where a paint patch will start drawing to how the software handles colors. Once you know what you want to do with your synthesizer, you try to paint and use it to control your image.
The program offers many presets to paint an image from the model or to modify it.
An interesting category is the Tutorial 1.1 option. It allows you to use easy paint patches in order to draw from the model image. What you see is a thumbnail of visualization that gives you hints as to how the image will look once the action is performed. Some of these thumbs will display portraits, so you can guess that designing people's faces is better with such patches.
Using the Watercolor Dry paint patch, a desktop picture was turned from its original form to what could be a very realistic painting made by hand once blurred with the "smart blur" image operation.
All the categories offer you varied options to design and modify an image. You can design an image and then edit it with other patches for better results. Layering is also available to mix images together and further allow you to do whatever you want with your source images. You can still retouch your artwork manually with the same brushes used by the paint patches.
One of the most interesting features is to save paint sequences to perform several paint patches one after another on an image. This is handy if you want to do a certain type of painting regularly.
There are enough canvas commands to adjust it according to your needs before, during and after creation.
You read it; you can paint movies with Studio Artist. You will have to load the movie into RAM, select the preset that you want to use on all the frames, and then paint frame by frame from first to last. These takes a lot of time but can produce amazing results.
New 1.5 features
- Editable keyframe time animation for all the features.
- New colorization and brush texture options, movie brush capabilities, auto-regionization, full support for pen tilt recording in paint action sequences, and new gradient effects.
- 3D Paint Lighting Effects (New Paint Synthesizer panel called Paint Brush Load.)
- New Movie and Background Texture Options.
- Background Texture Module expanded.
- User Color Palettes and Improved Color Options.
- New control settings in the Paint Synthesizer (Paint Color Source).
- New Image Processing Operations Watershed Regionize, Morpholizer and Smart Morpholizer.)
- Morphing and Warping (better quality and more options).
- Timeline animation window is now an integral part of the Canvas Layers window.
- Enhanced Time-Based Effects.
- Studio Artist 1.5 Paint Action Sequences automatable.
- Quicktime movies can be loaded directly into the Image Source.
- New Core Processing Modules (Texture Synthesizer and Interactive Adjust.).
- New Wacom Intuos Demo Projects and Presets examples.
The program allows you to do more than mere painting. It has sets of images operations and sequences to apply to images in order to enhance creations. It also provides Bezier Edit and Bezier Draw to draw and edit paths.
The possibilities are almost limitless. They include masking, different mouse modes and many, many more items to allow you to illustrate productively. There is not enough space - even on the Web - to list them all.
Studio Artist gives you almost unlimited options when you see all the modes, paint patches, operations and other such features. It has a useful assisted mode that allows you to train yourself if you are a beginner.
It requires a lot of RAM to accomplish more than very basic operations, though one could easily rationalize that it is normal in the design and illustration business.
There is no balloon help, which would have been the absolute best way to guide the user throughout all the process of identifying what mode and what option does what in what circumstances.
If you want to design, this software seems like a nice solution whether you have painting abilities or not. The product's potential is rather amazing.
Final Score (Maximum Score is 5 Gadgies)
- Very powerful.
- Plenty of new features
- Unlimited possibilities.
- Nice interface.
- Useful for beginners and pros
- No balloon help! (This is needed).
- Requires lots of RAM.