After months of struggling with Print Shop's Graphic Editor, I
viewed the prospect of an easier way to produce high quality icons
with some relish. When I read of such a program in Antic, to convert
Micro Illustrator and Micro Painter files into Print Shop format, I
just had to obtain it with all possible haste and immediately
ordered it from Software Express International of Birmingham.
taking apart the packaging and booting up the disk it takes only
seconds to give a screen display similar to Print Shop. This is not
surprising as the whole program is based on Print Shop's user
Menu driven, the program has four options,
Load Micro Painter/Computereyes
Format Graphics Disk
To load either Illustrator or Painter files, type
in the file name and press return to display the picture on the
screen. Toggle from Convert Whole Screen to Convert Part Screen via
the space bar.
If you wish to convert the whole screen, the
picture is compressed into a 600 byte Print Shop Icon. This takes
approximately 1 minute or less depending upon the depth of detail in
the picture. Once compressed, your icon is displayed in all four
corners of the screen, each one in a different shading pattern.
Pressing the space bar rotates these icons showing the detail in
either black, white or pattern fill. You may at this time return to
the previous screen or main menu. Select the pattern of your choice
and type in your filename, Graphic Shop checks to see whether there
are any duplicates before writing to disk. If there is an existing
filename you get the option to re-enter a new filename or replace
the existing file.
The detail of the compressed pictures can be
somewhat lost in the compressing and only pictures with a small
amount of detail are worthwhile compressing. I had to touch up the
'new icons' using Print Shop's Graphic Editor almost every time,
however it still is easier than using Graphic Shop alone.
Converting only a portion of the screen takes much
less time to do and gives a better imaged icon. Using your joystick,
move the FLASHING frame over the selected part of the picture and
press the joystick button to start the process. The frame is a set
size approximately one twentieth of the screen and cannot be
altered. Again you get the option to preview the icon and return to
the previous picture or menu before saving.
Whilst all this reading and writing to the disk is
in operation, it is worth remembering that you need a separate disk
for the icons. The program is directory smart so it knows whether
it's a DOS disk or Print Shop disk. Graphic Shop will read either
type of disk and list it to the screen.
FORMAT GRAPHICS DISK
Graphic Shop has the ability to format your disks
acceptable to Print Shop.
In general I liked Graphic Shop, it's ease of use,
no frills, no nonsense approach is commendable. I did come across
one or two problems, one being the program locked up everything when
it tried to convert a whole screen with only a small amount of
detail on it. This wasn't just a one-off as it happened on more than
one occasion. Sometimes it wouldn't load in picture files properly,
it came up with garbage on the screen. Worst of all though it gave
two different file names to the same picture. I've still got an
unlabelled icon lost somewhere on my files and once or twice it
saved an icon but on attempting to load it through Print Shop, the
message 'Drive Error' was displayed. So far only 75% of my
files/icons were fully supported by Graphic Shop. Whether I bought a
faulty copy remains to be seen but an attempt to discuss this with a
representative of ANTIC (the publishers of the disk) at the recent
Atari Show only resulted in the cold shoulder, so maybe they are all
Priced in this country at £19-95 (a £ for $
conversion) I feel that Graphic Shop may not be a good buy unless
you use Print Shop regularly and have access to or compose your own
picture files. On the other hand if, like me, you are hooked on
Print Shop then I'm sure it will fit into your collection with ease.
If it were marketed at £9-95 then I am sure it would have a wider