Pseudo Organic Looking MSG Abstract Procedural Imagery

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This menu command takes the current source color (green in this case), and generates a random color palette by randomizing the luminance and saturation of the current source color to build the new source palette (as shown in the 2nd gallery image above). Note how our new custom color palette is green.

Now we need to transfer our new custom designed source color palette into the MSG Advanced Editor. Each MSG preset has 3 unique color palettes, named ColorPalette, ColorPalette1, and ColorPalette2. If you select the Palette tab on the right side of the MSG Advanced Editor (3rd gallery image above) you will see the 3 color palettes available in the current preset displayed vertically.

Both the processors in the MSG preset that use color palette streams as inputs are currently connected to the first ColorPalette stream (the one at the top of the Palette tab display on the right side of the MSG Advanced Editor). So we want to copy our custom green source color palette into the middle color palette in the 3rd gallery image above, since the middle palette corresponds to the ColorPalette1 palette. To do this we use a context menu command.

Context menu commands are activated for specific interface elements by holding down the control key on the mac and clicking the interface element ( hold down the right mouse button if you are running windows ). The 3rd gallery image above shows the context menus available for the ColorPalette1 control area in the MSG Advanced Editor. The one we used is called Set from Source Palette, and when run copies the current Source Area color palette into the context clicked MSG Advanced Editor color palette.

The 4th gallery image above shows the 3 color palettes in the MSG Advanced Editor after running the Set from Source Palette context menu command, and you can see that the middle ColorPalette1 is now the custom green color palette we initially designed in the Source Area.

We would now like to hook this new custom color palette (ColorPalette1) up as the IO input connection for the In Color Palette input Port associated with the 3C Abstract12 CP processor. In order to do this we first need to add ColorPalette1 to the current Bus list associated with the current MSG preset.

Each MSG preset contains a Bus. The Bus is a list of different Streams. Streams can be image buffers, color gradients, color palettes, etc. To make this edit, we first select the Bus tab on the left side of the MSG Advanced Editor. When we select the Bus tab the current Bus list will be displayed on the left side of the Advanced Editor. We then drag and drop the ColorPalette1 Source element from the source list on the right side of the MSG Advanced Editor over to the Bus list on the left side of the MSG Advanced Editor (as shown in the 5th gallery image).

After adding the CorlorPalette1 stream to the current Bus list, we’re ready to connect it up to the 3C Abstract12 CP processor. To do that we first select the Processor tab on the left side of the MSG Advanced Editor. When we select the Processor tab then the processor chain list will appear on the left side of the Advanced Editor. We then select the 3rd processor in the processor chain list, which is the 3C Abstract12 CP processor. We then select the IO (input-output) tab on the right side of the MSG Advanced Editor. At this point the interface should look like the 6th gallery image shown above).

If you don’t see anything when you initially select the IO tab, select the specific processor you wish to edit, and then the IO connections for the selected processor will appear in the IO tab area.

In order to change the stream connected to the selected processors’s In ColorPalette Port, we click on the current BusStream setting for that Port. The BusStream setting will then become a popup menu, that lets us choose from any of the streams on the current Bus list. Change the BusStream popup selection for the In ColorPalette from ColorPalette to ColorPalette1 (our custom green palette).

After doing this your IO connections for the selected processor should look like the 7th gallery image above. Note how the color of the leaf-like overlay that is generated from the third 3C Abstract12 CP processor has changed to a green coloring derived from our custom green color palette. You can see this color change in the resulting MSG abstract output by looking at the preview cell in the 7th gallery image above.

In Conclusion

We’ve covered a lot of ground in this post, so let’s review what we have learned. First, we took a look at 2 different MSG Abstract processors that generate pseudo-organic stylized abstract procedural imagery. We also showed how you can configure these processors to overlay their imagery into an existing 3 channel image, which allows for complex visual imagery to be built up by repeated overlay of procedural shape abstractions using a series of multiple processors in the processor chain editor.

There are all kinds of different 1C and 3C Abstract processors available for your use, distinguished by a number after the Abstract part of the naming. They all generate different kinds of 1 channel or 3 channel abstract imagery. The abstract imagery they generate is also based on vector drawing, so it typically builds anti-aliased shapes and lines (although you can turn off the anti-aliasing if you want hard edges as a prelude to some form of image processing like one of the interpolation ip ops that need hard edges in order to work properly). Most of them are also designed to overlay their generated imagery, so they can be chained in a MSG preset to build up visual complexity.

We took a look in depth at the color palettes used to build MSG presets. We showed how you can build your own custom color palette in the Source Area, and then transfer it to the MSG Advanced Editor for use in building or customizing a MSG preset. You can also use a similar context menu to copy a MSG preset color palette back to the Source Area if you want to edit it there using the associated Edit Color Palette menu commands which work on the Source Area color palette. Or you can import or export color palettes directly from their associated MSGAdvanced Editor interface elements to color palette files on your hard disk.

We delved into the underlying MSG design philosophy, which consists of a series of different Streams loaded into a Bus list. Streams can be image buffers, color palettes, color gradients, etc. The current Bus list is the list of specificStreams that can be hooked up to IO ports associated with individual MSG processors. So streams and how they are connected to processor IO Ports determine how signals flow through a MSG preset.

All MSG presets are requires to have 3 output image streams on the current Bus, named ROut, GOut, and BOut. Any other streams placed on the current preset’s Bus list are a design decision determined by what you are trying to achieve with the given MSG preset.

If a MSG preset is going to process it’s IP Source input, then it needs to have the RSrc, GSrc, and BSrc streams on the current preset’s Bus list. You don’t actually need all 3 color channel streams for the input source to process the IP Source. Many MSG presets may only use the GSrc Stream, which can be considered a crude approximation of the IP Source image luminance channel. For a more accurate calculation based on true input luminance, you could use the RGBtoYIQ processor to convert the 3 (RSrc, GSrc, BSrc) color channel input streams into 3 output image streams that represent the source image in YIQ color space, where the Y channel corresponds to image luminance.

For more information on evolving and editing MSG presets check out this tip.

For detailed information on using the MSG Advanced Editor check out tip.

Category: MSG
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