Imaja Bliss Paint 2
Innovative Live Performance
and Video Animation System
for Mac OS 9
Bliss Paint FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
These questions and answers are useful for both Bliss Paint 1.0 and Bliss Paint 2.0.
Table of Contents
How do I get Bliss Paint out to my television/VCR/video projector?
- Bliss Paint can be output to other devices such as video monitors, VCR for recording, and video projectors. See the Bliss Paint 2 Manual in version 2.3.2 or later for new detailed video setup information. See the Using Bliss Paint With Video and Video Setup Checklist pages for the latest info.
Will Bliss Paint run in Mac OS X?
- Bliss Paint will be difficult if not impossible to port to Mac OS X with the current user interface and animation model. Mac OS X requires Thousands or Millions of Colors for the monitor setting to display all of its drop shadows and other effects. Bliss Paint requires the monitor to be set to 256 colors (8-bit video) for its color table animation technology. You need to startup your computer in Mac OS 9, Mac OS 8 or System 7 to run Bliss Paint. If you have Mac OS X running, then use the System Preferences:Startup Disk to restart with Mac OS 9. Bliss Paint needs to be compatible with Carbon to operate in Mac OS X, requiring many changes. Both Apple and Metrowerks have discontinued support for Object Pascal, the language Bliss Paint was written in, so we need to do a translation to C++ (very time consuming). Check out our Astral Blossom Mac OS X screen saver in the meantime.
Will Bliss Paint display what I create in millions of colors? Is there any time that I can get it to display more than 256 colors if I want, depending on the application? --
- The native animation mode of Bliss Paint uses color table cycling to make a continuous flow of colors (from a range of millions) flow through the 256-color palette, controlling all of the pixels in the animation. While there's only 256 colors displayed at one moment, the color table is constantly being updated with new colors, typically 15-30 frames per second for smooth animation. In parallel with this are the painting actions while draw, layer and manipulate the shapes on the screen while the color flow through. When you save Bliss Paint animations to QuickTime, you need to save them with thousands or millions of colors using the Animation compressor to capture the full range of color effects. Then the QuickTime movie can be used in other digital video editing and effects applications.
There is also a mode of Bliss Paint where you can use the algorithmic and brush painting tools, but without the color cycling, using Thousands or Millions of colors on your monitor. This lets you do paintings and 'animations', even QuickTime movies, using transparency effects and other effects. Bliss Paint was not really designed to be used this way, but there are some interesting effects possible in this mode.
What can I do about the 'jaggies' in Bliss Paint animations?
- The jaggies are due to rendering for color cycling. You can't have true anti-aliased pixels in 256-color, especially when the colors are constantly changing with color cycling. There is a useful 'scribbler' in Bliss Paint, Smooth, that filters the image, and blends the edges; using it several times in sequence will give images a melted look, and the jaggies are transformed to smooth (but short) ramps or edges to shapes. The color flows through these edges in interesting ways. Another solution would be to record the Bliss QuickTime movie at double the final size and then scale it down for final output, which is sort of how anti-aliasing works.
You could record Bliss to QuickTime and then use a blur filter in QuickTime Pro, Adobe Premiere or Final Cut to soften the edges or add other effects.
What kind of video card can I use for the video input? --
Why does Bliss Paint slow down on my PowerBook?
- This is sometimes because the PowerBooks have system software controls to prolong battery life, for instance "processor cycling". The Energy Saver Control Panel lets you configure your PowerBook for maximum performance or for battery economy. Try turning of processor cycling in this control panel.
How can I make Bliss Paint run fast and smooth?
- For the fastest Bliss Paint performance, you can tune your System software to optimize your machine.
- Turn off Virtual Memory in the Memory Control Panel in the Apple menu.
- Turn off AppleTalk in the Chooser in the Apple menu.
- Build an extension set using the Extensions Manager control panel with the minimum set of extensions needed to run Bliss Paint.
- Turn off Buffer Paint Window and Sequence Tracking in Preferences in the File menu.
- For faster color cycling, set the Color Animation Speed (a Misc. Event) to 1, 2 or 3 ticks in the Sequence window. For slower cycling try values in the range of 4-8 ticks or so. Longer intervals make for a stop motion or stepped feel for another effect.
- Turn on Ignore Outside Apps in the Bliss menu. (See the Bliss Paint manual for side effects of this feature.)
How do I work with transitions, such as wipes and irises?
- To control transitions, use the New menu in the Sequencer window create a Misc Event/Transition Style in the sequencer window where you want the transition style to start.
Click the second line of the Transition Style event to choose the type of transition from the popup menu. On the third line of the event, the first number is the frame interval in ticks (1/60ths of a second). If it is set to 0 then the transition frame interval defaults to 3 ticks. Use 1-2 ticks for faster transitions, and 4-8 or higher for slower transitions. The larger numbers may cause the transition to appear flickery, as the frame rate is too slow.
The second number is the frame size in pixels. This is how wide the band of new image is for each frame of the transition. Typical numbers would be 10 or 20 for a medium paced transition. Use 1-4 for a slower transition, and larger numbers for a faster transition.
Does Bliss Paint accept standard MIDI-format messages only, or can other forms of realtime data flow also be sent usefully?
- Sound input can also be used to trigger Bliss Paint's color synthesizer. Volume is mapped onto one of the color oscillators. Options can be controlled in the Configure Sound dialog of Bliss Paint.
What essentially does it do with a MIDI stream? For example, can I send midi-streams algorithmically generated in MAX to BlissPaint, perhaps only comprising controller messages?
- Yes. There is an Octopus mode with many different Bliss Paint features mapped to MIDI controller messages.
Does the user have control over which paramaters of BlissPaint the MIDI stream affects?
- Bliss Paint 2 has much more access through MIDI controller messages to the parameters of many of Bliss Paint's features, painting algorithms, and more.
Is it possible to send a MIDI stream from one application on the same computer to Bliss Paint on that computer? (As one can use IAC to send MAX info to other software?)
- Yes, although Bliss Paint must be in the foreground to do the animation, so the other application must run in the background.
The color cycling and rendering is really slow on the second monitor on my Power Macintosh 8500. What's wrong?
- There's a bug in the firmware on the 8500 video output board that affects color cycling. We have a utility program that you can run just before Bliss Paint that temporarily fixes the problem. Download it here: PowerMac 8500 Color Cycling Fix (34K bytes)
Is there a Windows versions?
- No, Bliss Paint is Macintosh only. It would be a major task to port Bliss Paint because of the difference in graphics toolboxes. Imaja is more productive in extending the Macintosh version of Bliss Paint with it's Macintosh expertise.
Is there anything like Bliss Paint for Windows?
- Imaja doesn't know of anything like Bliss Paint for Windows. There are a lot of simple screen saver-like toys which you can find on the Web for Windows, but nothing with the depth, flexibility and creative power of Bliss Paint.