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System Requirements

Operating System
Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, or Windows Server 2008, in 32- and 64-bit versions.

Runtime Environment
Studio580 requires the Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Service Pack 1 runtime kit; it won’t run without it. If you don’t have a copy installed on your system—or if you’re not sure whether you do—you can grab a fresh copy directly from Microsoft here.

Any AMD or Intel CPU manufactured in 2004 or later should do just fine.

Studio580 executes its math-intensive texture synthesis algorithm almost entirely on the GPU, and has correspondingly high GPU requirements. Most 2006-era or later mid- to high-end gaming and pro discrete graphics cards should support Studio580. Most integrated graphics solutions (such as those shipped with laptop PCs) likely will not support Studio580. Below is a table of the graphics devices on which I’ve tested Studio580 and the results of those tests. If you’ve run Studio580 on a device not listed here, please write me to let me know whether it worked, and I’ll add your entry to the table—crediting you appropriately, of course.

Device Supports Studio580
ATI FireGL V5600 Yes
ATI Mobility Radeon X300 No
nVidia GeForce 8800 GTS Yes

As an addendum to the above table, note that Studio580 startup times can be quite long ( ≈ 45 seconds) on ATI hardware.

IMPORTANT—if Studio580 doesn’t support your graphics device, it will consistently crash or hang at the same execution point. Usually this point occurs on startup, just after the splash screen is displayed, or when the brush tool is first used.

Binary Package

The current version of Studio580 is 1.0 pre-release 4 of Thursday, February 12, 2009 @ 10:16pm.

You can download a binary package by clicking here. The binary package is simply a ZIP archive containing the Studio580 executable and supporting data files, libraries, and tools. See the “Installation” section below for information on how to unpack the binary package and prepare it for use.


After downloading, extract the contents of the ZIP archive, either using a standalone decompression utility, or via the ZIP support built into Windows. If you choose the latter option, the best way to unpack it is to right-click on the downloaded file icon and to choose “Extract All...” from the flyout menu.

The contents of the archive will unpack to a folder named “S580_xxxxxx” where the “xxxxxx” is a version string. Inside of this folder, you’ll find a folder that’s called “Studio580.”

Now, simply copy this inner folder to wherever on your disk you want the Studio580 program to reside.

There are two considerations to keep in mind when picking a final resting place for this folder. First, you have to put it somewhere that is writeable by anyone who will use the Studio580 program. Second, you should put it somewhere that is easily accessible, because if you really want to get the flavor of Studio580, you’ll want to navigate to it frequently to drop in new brushes or to use the Brush Cartographer tool. Personally, I’ve found that sticking it in my home directory works well

Lastly, be aware that while Studio580 is easy to use, not all of its features are self-explanatory. So, I’d recommend at least skimming the Quick Tour. Furthermore, as it is a research demo and not production software, Studio580 has a few issues; these are described in the Problems, Annoyances and Workarounds Guide

Additional Brushes

You can download all of the brushes used in the “Light and Shade” tutorial on page 3 of the Tips & Tricks Guide by clicking here. The brush kit will download as a ZIP archive. After the download is complete, extract the contents of the downloaded archive and follow the instructions in the Brush Installation Guide to install the brushes into your Studio580 installation.

Much more interestingly, you can also create your own brushes by following the instructions in Brush Creation Guide

Source Code

You can download a copy of the Studio580 source code by clicking here. Note that while you are free to examine the code as much as you wish, it is copyrighted and I retain all rights. Thus, you cannot re-distribute it or use it to produce derivative works. At some point in the future, I’ll release the code under an open source license of my choosing. But since I haven’t yet found the time to pick what I feel is the best license, the source is available for the time being under the admittedly restrictive license terms I’ve set forth here.