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Synthesoft Flashback Preset Architecture

Preset: The architecture of a Flashback Preset employs a hierarchical structure that divides tasks in generating an animation frame into specific levels. At the top of this hierarchy is the Preset, which can contain up to 4 Planes, a Mixer configuration, and a list of post-Mixer Effects.

Planes: Planes are drawing surfaces that accumulate an image through various modules' actions and can store either RGB values or palette indices. Each Plane contains three types of modules: Color Modules, Drawing Modules, and Overlay Modules. These modules are categorized based on their functionality in the frame generation pipeline. Planes are independent of each other and are generated in parallel until they reach the Mixer module where they are combined.

Color: Color Modules are responsible for managing the color palette available to Drawing Modules and include Morpher Modules, Generator Modules, and Color Effect Modules. Morpher Modules handle color palette transitions and translate palette indices into RGB values for both Overlay Modules and Planes before the mixing process. Generator Modules create color palettes for use in the animation, while Color Effect Modules apply various color effects to a color palette, such as palette animation and color filter effects.

Drawing: Drawing Modules comprise Full Draw Modules, Painter Modules, and Effect Modules. Full Draw Modules generate a complete image on the Plane's surface. Painter Modules draw on or add elements to the existing contents of a Plane, while Effect Modules modify the existing contents of a Plane to produce various visual effects.

Overlay: Overlay Modules are like Drawing Modules except that they are applied to the current frame but their modifications do not persist to subsequent frames. They receive a copy of the Plane resolved to RGB values.

Mixer: The Mixer module controls the process of combining multiple Planes into a single image. It operates on Planes that have been converted from palette indices to RGB values.  Within the Mixer UI, the user can select a Plane or Meta Plane from a list, then select a mixing operation they want to perform and a target plane for the operation if the operation requires one. This combination of planes with an operation comprises a rule that can be added to the list of mixing rules to create a numbered Meta Plane. A Meta Plane can be used in additional mixing rules or displayed if it is the last rule in the list.

Effects: Post-Mixer Effects are a list of effect modules that are applied to the mixed image after the Mixer module has combined the Planes into a single frame. These effects operate on the final RGB image, allowing the user to make adjustments and enhancements to the overall appearance of the animation.


  • All modules, irrespective of type, contain controls. Controls can be set to a specific value, selected from a list of options, generated randomly in a number of ways, or driven by audio or periodic waveforms, allowing the user to have fine control over the animation's visual appearance.
  • Multiple modules can be added within a given module class, including modules of the same type.  The execution order of the components within a preset follows their arrangement in the TreeView, typically progressing from the top to the bottom. However, Planes, which function independently of one another, can be executed concurrently, allowing for better performance..

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