#5 FL Studio 12 – The basics part 1 –

FL Studio 12

What is FL Studio 12, what can you do with it and how does it work?

FL Studio (formerly known as FruityLoops) is a digital audio workstation developed by the Belgian company Image-Line. FL Studio features a graphical user interface based on a pattern-based music sequencer. (Source: Wikipedia)

What is a digital audio workstation?
What is pattern-based?
And what is a music sequencer?

A digital audio workstation (DAW) is an electronic device or a computer software application for recording, editing and producing audio files such as songs, musical pieces, human speech or sound effects.
With FL Studio you can create music by putting patterns together.
First you make a pattern (for instance a drumloop) and then you copy as many patterns as necessary into your playlist.
This playlist makes up your total track while you add numerous patterns.
A music sequencer is a device or application that can record, edit or play back music.

You can download a trial version of FL Studio 12 from their website.


Some things you need to know about FL Studio 12

Source: image-line.com

Lifetime free updates
Buying FL Studio not only gets you the latest version but all future FL Studio updates free. We believe you should have the functionality you paid for, bug-fixed, developed and updated for as long as we develop FL Studio. This has been our promise for 18 years and counting.

FL Studio trial / demo limitations:
* You CAN export projects to all supported audio formats. Projects CAN BE SAVED but won’t open, as saved, until your registration matches all the features and plugins used in the project.
* Some functions that use save/load capability don’t work in the trial / demo. For example, “Clone channel” and the “Save preset as…” menu options.
* All other functions in the FL Studio demo are fully unlocked. Some plugins may give static (white noise) or silence at regular intervals as part of the trial / demo limitations. FL Studio trial / demo is the equivalent of the FL Studio Producer Edition + All plugins bundle.


System requirements
2Ghz Intel Pentium 4 / AMD Athlon 64 (or later) compatible CPU with full SSE2 support. The faster your CPU and more cores it has the more you will be able to do simultaneously. Download and test the trial / demo!

32 or 64 Bit versions of Windows 10/8.0/8.1/7, Vista, XP (service pack 3)

(or) Intel Mac with Boot Camp / Windows.
Running XP (service pack 3), Vista or Windows 10/8.0/8.1/7 (in 32 or 64 Bit)

(or) Intel Mac with OS X 10.8 or 10.9 for the FL Studio Mac OS X BETA (Crossover Wrapped)
Attention: Yosemite not supported.

1 Gb or more RAM recommended

1 Gb free disk space

Soundcard with DirectSound drivers. ASIO/ASIO2 compatible required for audio recording (FL Studio installs with generic ASIO4ALL drivers)


Test the trial / demo first
The faster your CPU, the more instruments and effects you will be able to use at the same time. The more RAM you have, the more samples you will be able to load and play back smoothly.

To find out how FL Studio behaves on your machine don’t guess, please download the trial / demo and try it out for yourself. See this page in the manual for tips on improving performance a few simple tweaks can go a long way.

When you buy FL Studio or grab a Lifetime Free Update,  you will install the latest trial / demo. The trial / demo is then unlocked to the level you purchased by installing a very small ~ 50 kb FLRegkey.Reg file or by entering your ‘my account’ sign in details in the FL Studio about window (version 11 and up). It takes only seconds to activate the program. If you have installed the latest FL Studio trial / demo you have already downloaded 99.7% of the data you need to own it!


Okay, a lot of text but what does it really look like, huh?

THIS is what it looks like:

FL Studio - Workspace

Impressing, isn’t it?

Now what’s next?

Channels, patterns, piano roll, playlist, stepsequencer, VST plugins…

We’ll discuss all these in the next tutorial. The next tutorial will also be the tutorial where we will be starting to make some noizzzz…



#4 Inkscape – Creating trees in Inkscape 2 –

Creating trees in Inkscape 2

Option 3: create trees with the automatic tree creator within Inkscape.

In Inkscape you’ll find awesome methods to create all kinds of random stuff.
One of these is creating random trees.

Just take a look in Extensions > Render > Random Tree…
When you select this option, the following screen appears:

Trees - Random tree window
Play with the initial size and minimum size settings and check the option ‘Live preview’ in order to see which tree Inkscape creates for you.
If you don’t like the tree Inkscape created, just uncheck and check ‘Live preview’ again and Inkscape will draw another random tree.


Trees - image 1

Select the tree (F1) and add a stroke of 35px (or whatever value you like) to it: menu fill and stroke, tab ‘stroke style’ and change the value to 35px.

Trees - image 2

Then give the tree a color, for instance 008033ff.
One thing to notice: the tree consist only of a stroke, so when you want to change the color of the tree, select shift (to change the stroke color) and then select the color you prefer.
If you change the color manually (in the fill and stroke menu), remember to select the tab ‘Stroke paint’ to change the color instead of the tab ‘Fill’.
Trees - image 3
Inkscape might be responding slow now. If this is the case, convert the image to a path by selecting the image (F1) and the select Path > Stroke to path.

Now we will start using a new tool, the pen tool (select the icon or hit Shift-F6)

Trees - Icon pen tool

To use this tool, simply click on the canvas and let go. Then place your mouse on a new position and click again. Do this until you have something like the shape below.
Note: start at the point left (within the red rectangle), then click the other points. When you return to the first point, put your mouse above it and it will turn red. Then click and you will have a nice closed shape.
Trees - image 4


Now select the shape you just created, hold Shift and then select the tree.
Head up to Path > Division and you will see the result as below:
Trees - image 5


Now click the trunk and change the color to any (trunk) color you like:
Trees - image 6
While selection the division tool, the bottom of the tree (the leaves) doesn’t look like it should.
To fix this, select the leaves part and select Ctrl-d (this makes a copie of the selected item and places it on top of the item, which of course means you can’t actually see it).

Having this copie selected, flip it vertically (V or icon below).

Trees - Icon flip vertically

At this moment, the tree even looks worse but we’ll take care of that!

Trees - image 7
Select the lower half of the leaves (the copie you just made) and start stretching it.
You can stretch an object by first selecting it. When you have selected it, arrows appear on every corner:

Trees - image 8
When you grab one of these arrows, you can change the dimensions of an object. Hold Ctrl while changing the dimensions in order to maintain the aspect ratio.
Try moving around the object to create a better looking tree. You can also use the arrows between the corners to change the dimension of an object.
Don’t worry if you still see some white ‘gaps’ like in the image below: we’ll fix that.

Trees - image 9
To fill the white gaps, simply draw around them with the pen tool as we did before when separating the trunk from the tree:

Trees - image 10
Now click the object (rectangle) you just created and change the color to the color of the rest of the leaves. You can do this with the ‘fill and stroke menu’, tab ‘Fill’ and enter the color code in the RGB box.
However, you can also do this by using the ‘pick colors from image’ icon (F7).

Trees - Icon pick colors from image
Make sure the rectangle you created is selected. Then click F7 and click somewhere on the leaves. Your rectangle will then be filled with the same color.
Also remove the stroke: to remove the stroke, make sure the rectangle is still selected and while holding Shift, click on the red cross in the bottom left corner (as we did before).

Trees - image 11


So far for creating trees.
It’s a good idea to save this file because we will be using it in the future to create an even more realistic tree!


#3 Inkscape – Creating trees in Inkscape 1 –

Creating trees

There are several way to create trees with or without Inkscape.

Option 1: an automatic tree creator.
Head to this site to create random trees which can be saved as PNG files.
This site helps you to create random trees which look very realistic. One disadvantage is that the PNG’s you create are quite big.
If you’re developing a game for a website, this shouldn’t be a problem. If you’re developing a game for a smartphone, it’s always wise to keep images as small as possible.

On the right hand side of this website you can choose which leave textures, flowers and wood texture you want to use.
You can select multiple items; for instance choose two or three leave textures which makes the drawing a bit more realistic.

Leave textures


Wood texture

You can also add your own images of leaves, flowers or wood texture or add a URL to an image by clicking the +-symbol.

On the left hand side you can adjust several settings before creating a tree:

Parameters creating random trees

: width in pixels of the image canvas in which the tree will be drawn
Height: height in pixels of the image canvas in which the tree will be drawn
Size and complexity: the overall size and complexity. Can be slow when generating so increase by 1! Lower = younger tree, faster to generate. Higher = grown up tree, longer to generate.
Shadow amount: quantity of shade in the tree. Lower = less shade, faster to generate. Higher = more shade, longer to generate
Shadow strength: how dark shadows are. Lower = light shadows. Higher = dark shadows.
Shadow size: size of the shades. Lower = concentrated shades, faster to generate. Higher = more diffuse shades, longer to generate.

Length: branches length. Lower = shorter. Higher = longer.
Sub-branches length: branch shortening factor with each sub-level.  Lower  = branches keep getting shorter. Higher = child branches are the same size as their parent.
Angle mean: average children angle relative to their parent. Lower = child branch grows parallel to its parent. Higher = child grow perpendicular to its parent.
Thickness: lower = thin branches. Higher = bulky branches.
Sub-branches thickness: how thinner child branches are relative to their parent. Lower = thinner children branches. Higher = children have same thickness as their parent.
Curvature amount: how curly branches are. Lower = straight branches. Higher = curly branches.
Curvature noise: how chaotic curly branches are. Lower = normal curved branches. Higher = chaotic curves.

Leaves scale: general leaves size. Lower = small leaves. Higher = large leaves.
Leaves scale variation
: how much leaves can deviate from their normal size. Lower = all leaves are the same. Higher = leaves have very different sizes.
Leaves density
: general quantity of leaves. Lower = few leaves, faster to generate. Higher = more leaves, slower to generate.
Leaves local density
: how packed leaves are. Lower = loose leaves, faster to generate. Higher = dense bunches of leaves, slower to generate.
Leaves lighter
: some leaves can be drawn lighter than the others. Lower = few light leaves. Higher = more light leaves.

When you have selected and edited one or more of these items, you can hit the button ‘Draw tree’ in the upper left. Not satisfied with the result? Just click the button once more.
If you’re satisfied with the result, click ‘Save tree image’ just below this button. You’ll then be directed to a new page with your freshly drawn tree on it. Right click and choose ‘save image as’.

Some examples:

Tree 1

Tree 2

Tree 3

Option 2: create trees in Inkscape manually.

You can create (simple) trees manually by combining some circles and rectangles.

First create a rectangle (F4):
Color: c87137ff
Make sure the rectangle has no stroke by holding shift and clicking the red cross down in the left corner (beneath the toolbar).

Tree trunk

Create a bunch of circles in different sizes (F5), hold Ctrl to create perfect circles.
Color 008000ff
Make sure the circles have no stroke by holding shift and clicking the red cross down in the left corner (beneath the toolbar)


Tree circles


Then place all of the circles together with the select tool (F1): make sure they overlap like so:


Select all of these circles by ‘surrounding’ them with the select tool (F1) and click Ctrl + G.
This will put all these circles in one group so it’s easier to move them and change the color.


Move the group above the trunk of the tree until you’re satisfied with the result.
Make sure this group is ‘above’ the trunk by selecting the group and clicking ‘raise selection to top’ in the (second) command bar:

Raise selection to top

Simple tree

Your simple tree is finished now. In future blogs we will make these trees look more realistic by adding shades, tree roots etc.

The third option, creating trees with the automatic tree creator within Inkscape, will be discussed in the next post.




#2 Inkscape – Our first Inkscape drawing –

Our first drawing

Our first drawing in Inkscape.
Let’s create our first image using some of the tools. We’re going to create a simple house.

– click the rectangle icon / F4
– click and drag on the canvas and create a rectangle
– hold shift while dragging to create a perfect rectangle. Your rectangle may look different than the rectangle below: we’ll deal with that.

Inkscape Drawing - Basic rectangle

press F1 and pick a color in the color palette so your rectangle will change color. Let’s pick a brownish color for now.

Inkscape drawing - Basic rectangle brownish

To delete the red border, select the rectangle again (F1), hold shift and click on the red cross at the bottom left of your workspace.

Inkscape drawing - Delete stroke

Your rectangle should now look like this:

Inkscape drawing - Basic rectangle brownish without border

If you want to create a specific color, for instance like the color above, choose ‘Fill and Stroke’ in the tool control bar at the top of your window.

Inkscape drawing - Icon fill and stroke

You’ll be seeing the following window:

Inkscape drawing - Window fill and stroke

Choose the ‘Fill’ tab, click on the RGB option and enter the numbers as in the image below:

Inkscape drawing - Window fill tab

Now let’s create the roof. To do this, we’ll be using the stars and polygons option in the toolbox.

Inkscape drawing - Icon Stars and polygons

Click this icon and choose a triangle in the bar on the top of the window that appeared when you clicked the stars and polygons icon.

Inkscape drawing - Menu stars and polygons

Make sure the option ‘Corners’ is set to 3.

While holding the Ctrl-key, click and drag on the canvas. Make sure the triangle is placed in the right way with a flat side at the bottom.

Inkscape drawing - Basic triangle

Now change the color to black and make sure you have no stroke.

Now we have the basic blocks for our house.

Inkscape drawing - Basic rectangle and triangle

We can try to arrange them so they fit together nicely, but it’s better to let Inkscape do this.
Press F1, select the triangle first and while holding Ctrl, also select the rectangle.

Inkscape drawing - Basic rectangle and triangle

Select the option ‘Align and distribute objects’ in the tool control bar.

Inkscape drawing - Icon align and distribute

A new window will appear:

Inkscape drawing - Window align and distribute

While still having the triangle and rectangle selected, set the option ‘Relative to:’ to first selected and then click on ‘center on vertical axis’.
Inkscape drawing - Align on vertical axis

The two objects should now be aligned vertically like this:

Inkscape drawing - house objects aligned

Then, select the triangle again and while holding the Ctrl-key, select the rectangle.
In the Align and Distribute window, select ‘Align top edges of objects to the bottom edge of the anchor’.

Inkscape drawing - Align top edges

Your drawing should look like this now:

Inkscape drawing - House complete
Now let’s add a door.
Select the rectangle tool and create a door like this one:

Inkscape drawing - Door

Change the color to 784421ff.

Let’s also create a window with the rectangle tool (Hold Ctrl while dragging to create a perfect rectangle).
Change the color of this rectangle to 87aadeff.

Inkscape drawing - Window
To align the door and the window do the following:
first select the house (not the roof!).
While holding Ctrl, also select the door.
In the Align and Distribute window, choose ‘Align bottom edges’.

Inkscape drawing - Align bottom edges

Now select the door and while holding Ctrl, move it to the right and place it where you want it.
We’re holding the Ctrl-key in order not to move the door in the vertical direction.

Inkscape drawing - Aligned door

Press F1 and click somewhere in the white space of your canvas. Then select the door and while holding Ctrl, select the window as well.
In the Align and distribute window, click ‘Align top edges’.

Inkscape drawing - Align top edges

While holding Ctrl, move the window to an appropriate place.

Inkscape drawing - House complete

That’s it!
Your first drawing in Inkscape!


#1 Starting with Inkscape general info –

Starting with Inkscape – general info

In this tutorial we’ll be starting with Inkscape. You’ll find general info on the program in this lesson.
Inkscape is a free vector based graphics designer. You can download it at inkscape.org.
Choose the applicable download for your system and install it.

In the coming tutorials we’ll be covering the basics of Inkscape.

When you open Inkscape you’ll see the following screen:

Inkscape general info - Inkscape workspace


Things can look different when you open it for the first time, but we’ll cover the many possibilities of changing your screen in upcoming blogs.
Overview of the Inkscape workspace:


Inkscape general info - Explanation Inkscape workspace


Setup your page

Before starting to draw anything it is a good habit to setup your page.
To do this, click document properties icon in the Tool control bar.

Inkscape general info - Icon document properties Inkscape

The following window will appear:

Inkscape general info - Document properties


Since we will only cover basic items of Inkscape (at least for the time being), we will only discuss the Page tab.

Under ‘General’ you can set the default units. The most common unit is px (pixels).
You can set the orientation to Portrait mode or Landscape mode.
Custom size is where you can define the size of your page: it’s wise to use px here as well.
At the bottom of the window you can check or uncheck the Show page border option. For the time being it is best to keep it checked so you can see the page your drawing on.

In the following image you can see what all the icons in the Toolbox mean and do:

Inkscape general info - Drawing and editing tools


How to use the most basic drawing and editing tools work
All of these tools can be found in the toolbox on the left side of your workspace.

Rectangle (F4 or R)

Inkscape general info - Icon rectangle

Click this icon, click F4 or R.
Then click and drag on the canvas: you’ll be creating a rectangle.
If you hold Ctrl while dragging, you’ll create a perfect rectangle.

To change the color of the rectangle: choose any of the colors on the color palette. The rectangle will take the chosen color.
To change the color of the border of the rectangle: hold shift and choose any of the colors on the color palette. The border of the rectangle will take the chosen color.


Circle / Ellipse (F5 or E)

Inkscape general info - Icon ellipse

Click this icon, click F5 or click E.
Then click and drag on the canvas: you’ll be creating a circle / ellipse.
If you hold Ctrl while dragging, you’ll create a perfect circle.

To change the color of the circle: choose any of the colors on the color palette at the bottom of your screen. The circle will take the chosen color.
To change the color of the border of the circle: hold shift and choose any of the colors on the color palette. The border of the circle will take the chosen color.


Stars and polygons (*)

Inkscape general info - Icon start and polygons

Click this icon or click *.
In the menu on the upper side of your window choose whether you want to create a regular triangle or a star.

Inkscape general info - Polygons and stars settings

To change the color of the polygon: choose any of the colors on the color palette at the bottom of your screen. The polygon will take the chosen color.
To change the color of the border of the polygon: hold shift and choose any of the colors on the color palette. The border of the polygon will take the chosen color.


Select tool

The Select Tool is used to select, position and transform objects on the canvas with the mouse or other input device.

In the next blog we will make our first drawing.

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