Jan 25 2011

Making a Self-Tiling Pattern using the Paint Synthesizer

by Synthetik in Uncategorized

The gallery above shows a simple self-tiling pattern followed by a 2×2 and 4×4 tile of the original pattern. This post will discuss how to generate self-tiling effects in the paint synthesizer. We’ll also take a look at the simple MSG preset we used to generate the 2×2 and 4×4 tiling shown above.

The trick to generating self-tiling paint effects in the paint synthesizer resides inside of the Path End control panel.


Note that there’s a parameter in the Path End control panel called Wrap Path at Edge. Normally it is turned Off, which leads to normal drawing behavior. So if the pen moves off the edge of the canvas no drawing takes place on the canvas.

However, if the Wrap Path at Edge control is turned On, then when the pen leaves the edge of the canvas it immediately wraps and appears at the alternating side of the canvas. So anything you draw that draws off of the side of the canvas fills in on the other side. This leads to a self tiling image. You can observe the Wrap at Path Edge On behavior in the simple video example.

A Simple MSG Tiling Effect

To show off the fact that the pattern we made at the top of this post actually is self-tiling, i built a simple MSG preset that generates a 2×2 tiling effect. You can see the tiling MSG preset below in the MSG Advanced Editor.

The simple MSG preset shown above consists of a single 3C Tile processor. Note the IO (input-output connections used to route the 3 RGB color channel inputs to the MSG effect through the 3C Tile processor and then out to the RGB output channels of the MSG effect.

Since we want the MSG preset to process the canvas (as opposed to the source image), i’ve shown the Editor in MSG operation mode with the IP Source set to Current Layer. If the IP Source was set to Source Image, then the source image would tile as opposed to the canvas when the MSG preset was run.

Remember that the preview image in the MSG Advanced Editor always works with the source image as it’s IP Source. That’s the reason why you see an image being tiled in the 1st gallery image above as opposed to our canvas painted pattern image.

A Caveat

One thing to keep in mind is that the Wrap Path at Edge control does not currently effect vector paint presets in Studio Artist ( as of the 4.03 release). We hope to fix this issue in the future, but it’s something to be aware of if you are going to use this feature. For more information on the difference between a normal paint synthesizer raster paint preset vs a vector paint preset, you can check out this tip.

Tomorrow we will further examine how to work with self tiling patterns to build a movie background texture which can be used for pixel accurate hatching effects.