Jan 19 2011

Tricks with Adaptive Blocks

by Synthetik in Uncategorized

Today’s post will focus on some tricks you can use to generate interesting abstractions using the Block Abstraction image operation as a starting point .

The paint action sequence (PASeq) below shows the steps used in creating the effects shown above.

I was interested in generating a color randmoized set of adatpive blocks that losely represent the source image. By represent i mean then adaptively arrange themselves to represent the source image shapes, but not the soure image coloring. I wanted to use a random color palette for the coloring of the blocks.

You could of course build a color palette by hand or automatically generate one from another source image. I decided to use the Edit : Palette : Generate From : Random CoinToss menu command to generate a random source color palette (2nd gallery image above).

I then used the Adaptive Block image operation effect (2nd action step in the PASeq) with the control setting shown in the 3rd gallery image above. The resulting effect output is shown in the 4th gallery image above. Note that the effect generates adaptive blocks positioned to abstract the source image shape, but randomly colored with the source color palette.

I wanted to loosen up the feel of the hard edges block representation. So, i used 2 passes with the vectorizer to do that. Each pass processes the canvas as it’s source, and uses a Region Effect to distort the vectorized representation. Since the effect is being run more than once it recursively modifies the canvas. You might want to use more passes than i did to get a more abstracted look. The vectorizer Drawing control panel in the 6th gallery image above shows that the Background Fill control is set to None, which is important for the effect i’m trying to achieve with this processing. And the 7th gallery image above shows that the Mix is set to 50% so the vectorizer output is mixing with the existing canvas. The end result of the vectorizer processing is shown in the last gallery image above, which is a softer looser feel for the randomized color blocks.

I then wanted to use a source modulated interactive warp to bring some source edge features into the abstracted loose block representation in the canvas. I did this by first using the Canvas : Selection : Set to : Source image menu command.

This menu command sets the selection buffer to the source image. I then used the Selection Modulate Rotate interactive warp option (2nd gallery image above) to modulate a rotation warp based on the source image (which is stored in the current selection buffer). You can see in the 3rd gallery image above how the source modulated rotation warp pulls source features into the abstracted random color block representation we previously generated in the current canvas layer.

It’s an interesting approach to adding source edge features to an abstracted image that adds a kind of visual ambiguity to the resulting canvas. This is because the local luminance changes that exist on either side of the real source image edge features are not reproduced in the canvas when you run this particular effect, but the nature of how the warp affects the existing canvas gives the viewer a feel for those source features none the less. hence the tentative nature of the resulting image and it’s associated ambiguous feel.

I usually do some fine tuning to finish up an image like this, using the image compressor or a few sharpen effects to tighten up the image and associated contrast a little before outputting my final effect.