User guide

Introduction

Bixelangelo is a design tool for creating bitmap (PNG) and vector (EPS) drawings for use in BluffTitler. You have to be familiar with BluffTitler in order to understand and use Bixelangelo.

Bitmap output (PNG)

Bixelangelo generates colour maps and sketch maps in the PNG format. A colour map is a standard picture that contains colour information. A sketch map is a picture that does not contain colour, but time information. Every pixel contains the time it must switch from transparent to non-transparent. Using this trick you can store an animation in a single bitmap. The only limitation is that your cannot erase anything once it has been drawn. The picture layer can turn this sketch map into an animation.

Vector output (EPS)

Bixelangelo generates vector drawings in the EPS format. The sketch layer of BluffTitler can turn this EPS file into an animation.

3 Modules

Bixelangelo features 3 modules, represented by the first 3 dropdown menus:

Step 1: Update DirectX

Bixelangelo requires the latest version of DirectX 9.

DirectX is available as a free download from Microsoft:
Update DirectX

If the web installer refuses to work, or if you would like to install DirectX on an offline computer, you can download the DirectX end-user redistributable.

Learn more about DirectX

Step 2: Download Bixelangelo

versionBixelangelo 2.1.4
size5 MB
date releasedTuesday, February 25th, 2014

DOWNLOAD BIXELANGELO

If you do not like installers you can download the program as a ZIP file.

If the program complains about not being able to find D3DX9_34.dll you will have to install the latest version of DirectX.

Ordering info

A single user license of Bixelangelo costs € 29.95

What you get

When you buy Bixelangelo you receive your own personal license keys. Entering them into the program with the menu item Settings > Enter License Keys... will turn the evaluation version into the fully functional version.

Order Bixelangelo

Recording sketches

To record a sketch choose the menu item Record Sketch > Start Recording or press <F1> and make a drawing using your mouse with the left button pressed.

Choose Record Sketch > Stop and Export Recording or press <F3> to export your recording.

Picture layer

When you mark the Bitmap formats (PNG) / Sketch map checkbox in the export dialog, an PNG file is generated for use in the picture layer of BluffTitler. The picture layer can turn this PNG file into an animation.

Sketch layer

When you mark the Vector formats (EPS) / Lines checkbox in the export dialog, an EPS file is generated for use in the sketch layer of BluffTitler. The sketch layer can turn this EPS file into an animation.

Converting sketches

To convert a picture into a sketch choose the menu item Convert Sketch > Convert Picture to Sketch... or press <F5>.

This picture must be a transparent PNG file where your sketch is an opaque shape on a transparent background.

Picture layer

When you mark the Bitmap formats (PNG) / Sketch map checkbox in the export dialog, an PNG file is generated for use in the picture layer of BluffTitler. The picture layer can turn this PNG file into an animation.

Generating sketches

Ornaments

Bixelangelo can generate sketches in a wide range of styles including ornaments, filigrees, flourishes, curves, curls and swirls.

Architecture

A forest is built out of trees and a tree is built out of branches. Before you can create a forest you first have to create a tree. And before you can create a tree you first have to create a branch.

You edit a branch with the Branch editor

You edit a tree with the Tree editor

You edit a forest with the Forest editor

Files

Branches are stored in .branch files.
Trees are stored in .tree files.
Forests are stored in .forest files.

Data folder

The branches, trees and forest files have to be stored in the same folder. You can set this folder in the options dialog. The data folder is updated everytime you open or save a branch, tree or forest.

No overlap

Bixelangelo makes sure that the generated sketches do not overlap: they never intersect.

Generations

A branch can have unlimited amount of children, but only of 2 different types: a branch and a leaf. A branch can have children. A leaf cannot have children and a tree can only have a single type of leaf as set in the last tab of the tree editor.

Branch editor

Choose the menu item Generate Sketch > New Branch or press <F6> to open the branch editor.

New branch button

Creates a new branch.

Open branch... button

Opens a branch from disk. The active folder is set to the folder of the opened branch.

Save branch button

Saves the branch to disk under the current name.

Save branch as... button

Saves the branch to disk. The active folder is set to the folder of the saved branch.

The branch editor features 5 columns:

1 Thickness branch

This is how the branch looks straight up, without any bending. The tree multiplies this thickness by the min/max thickness values in the tree editor.

You can edit the shape with your mouse. There can only be 2 intersections per horizontal line: to the left and the right of the centre.

2 Angle branch

This determines the bending of the branch. Using the Fixed preset generates a straight branch. The tree multiplies this angle by the min/max angle values in the tree editor.

3 Size child

This determines size of the child. A Value of 0 prevents the branch from having children at that position.

4 Size leaf

This determines size of the leaves. A Value of 0 prevents the branch from having leaves at that position.

5 Flower

Press the Load Picture button to load a photo of a flower.

Tree editor

Choose the menu item Generate Sketch > New Tree or press <F7> to open the tree editor.

Generations

The trunk of the tree is the 1st generation. A branch is the 2nd generation. A branch of that branch the 3th and so on. Every generation can have its own settings. You can set the active generation with the tabs. The most right tab is reserved for the leaves.

New tree button

Creates a new tree.

Open tree... button

Opens a tree from disk. The active folder is set to the folder of the opened tree.

Save tree button

Saves the tree to disk under the current name.

Save tree as... button

Saves the tree to disk. The active folder is set to the folder of the saved tree.

Info... button

Displays info of the tree.

Save all as... button

Saves the tree to disk together with all files used by the tree. This is useful when you want to copy your tree to another computer.

Size

The size of the tree.

The branch dropdown listbox

This listbox displays all branches of the active folder. You can set this folder in the options dialog.

Edit... button

Edit the active branch.

Length

The minimum and maximim length of the active generation. A random value in between those 2 values is chosen.

Thickness

The minimum and maximim thickness of the active generation. A random value in between those 2 values is chosen. This value is multiplied by the value in the 1st column of the branch editor.

When you set the minumum value to -1, the thickness value is copied from the length value. This can be used to prevent circles from becomming ovals.

Inherit lenghth and thickness

When this checkbox is marked, the length and thickness not only depend on the settings of the active generation, but also on its parent.

Angle start (degrees)

When set to 0, the branches are perpendicular to their parents. Use a value of 90 to make them parallel to their parents.

Angle

This determines the bending of the branch. It is multiplied by the by the value in the 2nd column of the branch editor.

Chance of birth (%)

A value of 0 means that the active generation is never rendered. A value of 100 means that as many branches as possible are rendered. Since branches never overlap, the already rendered branches determine if a new branch is possible.

Distance to parent

Set this value to 0 to connect the branches to their parents. When this value is set to 0 or lower, collision detection is turned off for the first part of the branch.

Repeat

When this value is set to 1, the children of the active generation use the settings of the active generation. This is a short-cut to increase the amount of generations without having to copy the settings to each generation.

Mirror left and right branches

When this checkbox is marked, the bending angles of the branches on the left and right side of their parent are mirrored.

Generate button

Everytime you press this button, a new random tree is generated. Press <Escape> to stop the rendering.

Export... button

Exports the current tree for use in BluffTitler.

Options.. button

Displays the options dialog.

Forest editor

Choose the menu item Generate Sketch > New Forest or press <F8> to open the forest editor.

New forest button

Creates an empty new forest.

Open forest... button

Opens a forest from disk. The active folder is set to the folder of the opened forest.

Save forest button

Saves the forest to disk under the current name.

Save forest as... button

Saves the forest to disk. The active folder is set to the folder of the saved forest.

Info... button

Displays info of the forest.

Save all as... button

Saves the forest to disk together with all files used by the forest. This is useful when you want to copy your forest to another computer.

Size

The minimum and maxmum size of the trees. Every tree has a random size in between those values.

The tree dropdown listbox

This listbox displays all trees in the active folder. You can set this folder in the options dialog.

Edit... button

Edit the active tree.

Trees

This is not the number of rendered trees, but the number of attempts. If a tree collides with another tree it is not rendered.

Fertile area

The fertile area is the area where new trees sprout.

You can select a built-in preset shape with the dropdown listbox or press the Load picture... button to load a picture. The border between the transparent and non-transparent parts of the picture is used as the fertile area. Use the Invert checkbox to invert the direction.

The 2 size values represent the horizontal and vertical components. Set both values to 1 to make the shape fullscreen.

Sterilized area

The sterilized area is the area where trees cannot grow, making space for texts and pictures.

You can select a built-in preset shape with the dropdown listbox or press the Load picture... button to load a picture. The non-transparent part of the picture is used as the sterilized area. Use the Invert checkbox to invert the area.

The 2 size values represent the horizontal and vertical components. Set both values to 1 to make the shape fullscreen.

Generate button

Everytime you press this button, a new random forest is generated. Press <Escape> to stop the rendering.

Export... button

Exports the current forest for use in BluffTitler.

Options.. button

Displays the options dialog.

Export dialog

The export dialog offers the following options:

Bitmap formats (PNG) / Sketch map

A sketch map does not contain colour, but time information. The picture layer can turn this sketch map into an animation by using a shader.

Bitmap formats (PNG) / Colour map

A colour map is a standard picture that contains colour information. You need this colour map if you want to use the colours and borders as generated by Bixelangelo in BluffTitler. Most sketch shaders require this colour map as the 2nd texture (as set in the <F9> dialog).

Vector formats (EPS) / Lines

The sketch layer of BluffTitler can turn this EPS file into an animation.

Vector formats (EPS) / Filled shapes

This EPS file can't be used in BluffTitler. It is meant for use in paint and DTP applications.

BluffTitler / Show file (BT)

This is a BluffTitler show file that can be opend in BluffTitler by pressing the Open Show... button, choosing the menu item File > Open Show... or by double clicking its icon.

The generated show file is played inside Bixelangelo when you provide the location of the BluffTitler executable in the options dialog.

BluffTitler / Duration in seconds

The duratrion of the generated BluffTitler show file in seconds.

Options dialog

Choose the menu item Settings > Options... to open the options dialog.

Output resolution

The output resolution of the sketch maps. Sketch maps are cropped and have to be powers of 2 (like 512, 1024, 2048 and so on) so the actual resolution will differ from the resolution displayed.

Resize the window with your mouse or use the menu item Settings > Set Resolution... dialog to change the resolution. The resolution is always displayed in the window's title bar.

View

A view of 50% means that the generated sketch map is twice as big as the preview window.

Antialiasing

A higher antialiasing quality means better output quality and slower rendering. Medium is good enough in most situations.

Speed

This controls the speed development for every generation.

Child sprout time

End Generation means that no branch sprouts until the current generation is fully grown.

When Touched means that branches sprout before the current generation is fully grown.

Border size

The size of the border. Only generated sketches can have borders. The border is rendered in the colour map, so make sure to mark the Bitmap formats (PNG) / Colour map checkbox in the export dialog.

Black outline

This turns on the FX Black Border effect property in the generated BluffTitler show file. At any time you can change this value in BluffTitler.

Export flowers as picture layers

This option creates a picture layer for every flower in the generated BluffTitler show file.

Bezier spline

This option is only used when recording sketches. It smoothes your drawing.

Brush size

This option is only used when recording sketches. It controls the size of the brush. You can also change the brush size with the 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 and 0 keys during the recording.

Data folder

The tree editor displays the branches stored in this folder in the branches dropdown listbox.

The forest editor displays the trees stored in this folder in the trees dropdown listbox.

BluffTitler executable

Bixelangelo renders the generated BluffTitler show file in the Bixelangelo window when you provide the location of the BluffTitler executable.

How to use the Bixelangelo generated bitmap files (PNG) in BluffTitler

To create a BluffTiter show using the Bixelangelo generated textures, perform the following steps:

  • Press the Add Picture Layer... button and select the Bixelangelo generated sketch map.
  • Press <F9>
  • Press the Select Picture... button of the 2nd texture and select the Bixelangelo generated colour map. If no colour map has been generated, use the sketch map in both texture slots. For the best antialiasing quality always use a 2nd texture.
  • Press the Select Effect... button and select Bixelangelo/Media/Effects/Sketch_Picture.FX

You can animate the sketch with the FX Writer property.

How to use the Bixelangelo generated vector files (EPS) in BluffTitler

To create a BluffTiter show using the Bixelangelo generated EPS file, perform the following steps:

  • Choose the menu item Add Layer > Add Sketch Layer... and select the Bixelangelo generated EPS file.

You can animate the sketch with the Writer property.

Shaders

The sketch maps generated by Bixelangelo can be rendered by the picture layer of BluffTitler.

To bring a sketch map to life you need a shader. This is a file with the extension .fx and is also called an "effect". In the Bixelangelo/Media/Effects folder you can find a few sketch effects.

You can apply a shader to the active layer by pressing the Select Effect... button in the <F9> dialog. The dialog displays the details of the effect after you have selected it.

Most sketch effects expect the 1st texture to be a sketch map and the 2nd a colour map. You can set both textures in the same <F9> dialog.

The shader Sketch_Picture.FX features the following properties:

FX Writer

The 1st slider sets the end of the visible part of the sketch, the 2nd the start. Most of the time you animate the 1st slider from 0 to 1 and keep the 2nd slider fixed at 0.

FX Smooth

Smoothes the tip of the sketch. A value of 0 creates a hard edge.

FX Colour Tip

The Colour property sets the colour at the start of the sketch. This FX Colour Tip property sets the colour at the tip of the sketch.

FX Colour Map Factor

Use this property to make the 2nd texture visible. Make sure this 2nd texture is a colour map.

FX Black Border

Adds a black border to your sketch. This border is always about 1 pixel wide, so the border gets smaller when exporting the show in a higher resolution.

FX Particle Grow

When you use the sketch map in a particle layer, you can use this property to animate the size of the particle.

FX Particle Fade

When you use the sketch map in a particle layer, you can use this property to animate the transparency of the particle.

Program history

How do I upgrade to the latest version?

Version 2.1.4

Released: Tuesday, February 25th, 2014
Price: € 29.95, free upgrade for registered users!

Changes since version 1.5:

  • Total redesign: Bixelangelo now features 3 modules: recording, converting and generating sketches
  • bugfix: the application no longer opens in locked minimized mode

Version 1.5

Released: 2009-3-16
Price: € 19.95, free upgrade for registered users!

  • The text on path effect is now implemented as a text layer attached to a sketch layer and requires BluffTitler 7.6
  • bugfix: export to paths containing dots (.) problem fixed!

Version 1.3.1

Released: 2008-4-11
Price: € 19.95, free upgrade for registered users!

  • Optimized spline rendering
  • bugfix: Bixelangelo can now handle filenames with spaces

Version 1.1

Released: 2007-1-18
Price: € 19.95, free upgrade for registered users!

  • Full unicode support
  • Exports the sketch also as an EPS file for use in the sketch layer of BluffTitler
  • New menu item: Settings > Shadow
  • Menu item File > Start Recording Sketch fixed

Version 1.0

Released: 2006-9-15
Price: € 19.95

  • First release!

Upgrading

How do I upgrade to the latest version?