1.2 Visual profiles and output


Before starting to do any edits on visual profiles, it makes sense to open up an output window. Left-click on “output” from the top menu and choose the windowed output icon. Close the output menu. Alternatively, especially if you have a second screen, click on the full screen output icon on the top-right corner of your screen. If you have a second screen attached, this will by default become your monitor – if you don’t, just press escape to make the window small. Resize and position the output window to your liking.

Left-click on button “A“ on the mixer (always visible on the left in the UI). You are now controlling and editing profile A. Now click on the Controls tab. Next we will edit the control parameters to create a completely new visual profile.

The most obvious place to start the creation process from is geometry. Left-click on horizontal lines. Try playing around with the count, size and opacity parameters by dragging the slider left and right. Leave them when you think you’ve found something that you like.

Next we’ll play with colors. Go to Gradient. Right-clicking the color bar will open up the preset / saved gradient menu. Left click a preset gradient that you like. Move the “fill” slider all the way up and pick “intensity” as your coloring mode. Try dragging the “scale” slider up and down. Play with the settings until settling for something that you like.

We’ll skip the Background and Distort sections for now (see a separate tutorial on those), and move on to Post FX and Filter.

In Z Vector, Post FX are essentially GLSL shaders that have exposed a limited set of their parameters in the UI. The Post FX section is made up of five sliders, “dry/wet” controls the amount of overall Post FX in the mix. All the way left is 0%, center is 50/50 and all the way right is 100% (meaning you only see the effected image). “Time” controls the time variable available in most effects, while the A, B and C sliders control a single variable (often somehow related to the strength) inside that particulare effect/shader. The A, B and C buttons below the sliders toggle the particular effect slot on and off.

Let’s add an effect to slot A. Right click on the left most slot (A) and select a preset effect from the dropdown menu. After selecting one, left-click on the effect slot to apply it. Now drag the corresponding Post FX controller (slider A) to far right. Afterwards do the same to the “dry/wet” controller, while keeping track how the effect is applied to the image.

Finally lets add some filters to the mix. Filters are essentially hard coded effects that can be applied to the image just prior to final render. Let’s start by adding some smooth; while watching the output preview (or the output window if you have a second screen) click and drag the smooth slider to the right. Add a bit of feedback (20-30) and a bit of grain (a small value like 2-5 already gives nice results).

Pro tip: If you’re experiencing burning (large parts of the image appearing completely white) in your image, you can always go back to the Geometry section and slide the Opacity slider slightly down. Similarly if the visuals are too dark, try sliding the Opacity slider upwards.

Continue to the next part in the tutorial series:

1.1 The user interface and input
1.0 Basics: Introducing Z Vector