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PlantStudio Kurtz-Fernhout Software
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Making a Painter Image Hose Nozzle

MetaCreations Painter has an Image Hose brush (in versions 3.0 and up) that "paints" bitmaps onto a picture. Painter uses "nozzles" to store the bitmaps you paint with. PlantStudio can help you create Painter nozzles from your plants.

The process of making Painter nozzles from PlantStudio plants is not completely automated and requires some knowledge of Painter. Also, we may not have all these instructions correct for your version of Painter. If any of our instructions don't make sense in Painter, check your Painter documentation for help.

Step 1: Make the nozzle bitmap file in PlantStudio
Select the plants you want to include in your nozzle in the PlantStudio main window.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Choose Save Nozzle/Tube Bitmap from the File menu. The Save Nozzle/Tube Bitmap window will appear.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif First choose which plants you want to use in the nozzle -- the ones you already selected, or all visible plants, or all the plants in the open plant file.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Choose a resolution and color depth to use for the plant pictures. Pay attention to the file size reported at the bottom of the window.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Choose a background color to draw behind the plants. Normally you will want to leave this color as black, because you need a color you don't find in any of your plants. If you have any black parts in your plants you can change this to a color you don't have, like white.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif At the bottom of the window you can see the number of items and the nozzle cell size. Painter needs this information to import the nozzle. But you don't have to write it down, because PlantStudio also uses this information to name the file you create.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Click Save, then choose a directory to place the bitmap file in. Don't change the file name, because you will need this information in Painter.

Step 2: Select the plants in Painter and save as a RIF file
Open Painter, choose Open from the Painter File menu, and choose the bitmap file you just saved. You should see your plants there against the black background.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Now we need to make selections for all the plants (this is the hardest part). Use Painter's Color Select or Magic Wand to select all the non-black areas of the picture. See the Painter help on how to use these features. Make sure that all the plants are selected, with complete coverage (not spotty or thin). The trick is to select all black areas, then invert the selection.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Once each plant is selected and has a marquee running around it, choose Save As from the Painter File menu. Save the file as a Painter RIF file with the same name as the bitmap file you saved from PlantStudio. Again, don't change the file name, because you will need it.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Don't close the file! Leave it open in Painter.

Step 3: Load the nozzle in Painter
Go to the Painter Brushes window and choose Load Nozzle from the Nozzle menu. Choose the nozzle RIF file you just saved. A nozzle definition window will appear.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Now we are going to use those numbers in the file name. Move the nozzle definition window until you can see the title bar of the window that has your nozzle file in it. The file name should read something like "nozzle1 117x160x4.RIF".
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif In the nozzle definition window, type the file name's first number as the "Item width", the second number as the "Item height", and the third number as the number of "Rank 1 items". In our example, we would type in 117, 160, and 4. Usually you won't need to change the "Item height" because PlantStudio writes the plants out in one row.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Click OK. If the window goes away and nothing seems to happen, it worked and you are the proud parent of a nozzle! If Painter beeps or otherwise complains, check your numbers and try again.

Step 4: Use the nozzle in Painter
Now open a new Painter file to test out your nozzle. Make it big enough to spread the plants around.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif In the Brushes window, choose the Image Hose brush.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif In the Tools window, choose the Brush tool.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Paint on your picture! You can change how big the plants are using the Scale slider on the Nozzles window.

Step 5: Save the nozzle in the Painter nozzle library
If you don't save your new nozzle to the nozzle library, it will disappear when you leave Painter.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif In the Painter Brushes window, choose Add Nozzle To Library from the Nozzle menu.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif Type in a name for the nozzle.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif You can remove the nozzle later if you want using Painter's nozzle mover.

Tips on making and using nozzles
You can change how large or small the plants come out in Painter by changing the Scale slider on the nozzles window (choose Nozzles from the Brushes window Nozzle menu).
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif If you have several nozzle tries in your Painter nozzle library, Painter may take a long time to load, and the nozzle file may be huge. You can clear out old nozzles using the Painter nozzle mover.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif This version of PlantStudio only creates Rank 1 Painter nozzles. You can make Rank 2 and 3 nozzles yourself by arranging plants in the
drawing order (for example by size, color, etc). You will have to change how many Rank 1 and Rank 2 items you enter in the Painter nozzle definition window (and ignore what PlantStudio says about it). Look at the Painter documentation on how Rank 2 and 3 nozzles work.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif If you renamed your nozzle file while you were making the nozzle (even though we told you not to) or otherwise lost the important numbers, don't panic. Just count how many plants are in the nozzle file. Then in the Painter nozzle definition window, divide the number already in the Painter "Item width" box (which is the total width) by the number of items, and enter that number in the "Item width" box.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif If the plants in your nozzle come out faded or thin, it means you didn't select enough pixels (or with enough opacity) when you made the selection (in step 2 above). Include a larger color range and decrease the feathering.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif If you load a nozzle file a second time in Painter, Painter helpfully doesn't ask you again to enter the numbers for cell size, etc. This is normally fine, but if you screwed up the first time, you don't get a second chance. You have to open the file, save it with another name, then try again.

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Updated: March 10, 1999. Questions/comments on site to
Copyright © 1998, 1999 Paul D. Fernhout & Cynthia F. Kurtz.