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Generators: a non-destructive way to generate images, text, numbers, and 3D objects

Autograph is not just a system dedicated to composite images stored in files. It is also a complete 2D/3D creation tool, offering you the ability to work with sources generated on the fly by Generators.

The purpose of a Generator is to generate a given type of data. Unlike Modifiers, that are used to make changes to an existing source, Generators are used to define the source content.

Generators are not just for generating images. They are classified by type, according to the parameter that can use them:

  • Images
  • Text data
  • Numerical data (1D/2D/3D/4D)
  • 3D objects

A Generator can create a simple Circle or 2D Noise that extends infinitely, as well as a 3D sphere, a random number, or text, based on the current timecode.

Image Generators

Image generators can be added in different ways:

  • From scratch: using the "+" button in the Timeline
  • On an existing layer: by clicking on the Generator slot of an image parameter and picking one of them from the box in the bottom right
  • On the current layer selection: by clicking on the top Generators menu; a new Generator will be added to all selected layers.

For this last option:

  • If only one item is selected, the Generator will be added without asking any further questions
  • If several elements of the same type are selected, you will be asked to choose between two options:
    • Adding identical but independent Generators on each of the parameters
    • Creating and assigning the same shared Generator to all parameters

The advantage of creating a shared Generator is that any changes made to it will affect all of the settings connected to it.

Other Generator types

The same concepts and workflow apply to other Generator types, except for the "+" button at the top of the Timeline, which is only for images, null layers, and some 3D items.

The Generator menu in the top bar has its content adapted to the current selection, depending on the type. If you want to add a new Generator to multiple selections, all the targeted parameters have to have the same type. For example, if you select an image parameter such as Source, and a numerical parameter such as Position at the same time, the Generator menu won't be able to determine which type is concerned and the menu will be grayed out.

Autograph provides dozens of Generators and you can also create your own, either by aggregating different layers, Generators, and effects in a package, or by developing your own image Generators using Shadertoy.