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Article #32 (74 is last):
Newsgroups: freenet.sci.comp.atari.product.8bit.reviews
From: aa700@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Michael Current)
Subject: EscalPaint / graphics / commercial
Posted-By: xx004 (aa700 - Michael Current)
Reply-To: aa700@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Michael Current)
Date: Thu Mar 26 09:22:55 1992


Reprinted from Current Notes, Vol. 12, No. 2, March 1992
 
 
Escalpaint 1.0
--------------
The Very Best Pictures Ever on Your 8-Bit
 
 
Review by Ed Hall
 
     The first thing you should know about this program is that it is 
capable of producing the very best pictures you will ever see on your 8-
bit.  If you enjoy watching jaws hit the floor, then load up some sample 
pictures and gloat.
     Now the details.
     EscalPaint is a compiled Turbo-Basic program which originated in 
Germany.  It requires 64K of memory, accepts input from joystick or 
tablet, has a resolution of 80 x 192 pixels, and requires 123 sectors 
per saved picture.  The manual is a text file on the back of the disk.
     Color is what sets EscalPaint apart from most other 8-bit programs.  
EscalPaint can display 256 colors from a palette of over 25,000.  That's 
a lot to choose from, and just learning how to do it can be a challenge.  
First you decide upon an initial color range, then you select one of the 
256 colors within that range to draw with.  The color you choose may be 
further manipulated by stripping away either its chroma or luminance 
value.  The trade-off for all this color is a bit of flicker in the 
display.
     At the top of the screen is an ST-like menu-bar that puts all the 
program's functions within easy reach.  One of the best is somewhat rare 
in the 8-bit world--"cut-and-paste."  (I know of only two other programs 
that have it.)  It also has a "smooth" function, which allows you to 
blur colors anywhere on the screen by adjusting the luminance.  Another 
nice touch is the Amiga-style "snooze balloon" that replaces the cursor 
when the program is busy doing something.
     EscalPaint is not without deficiencies, however.  It lacks a number 
of features that we have come to expect in an art program.  There are 
only two cursor sizes, and no magnify, mirror or text features.  Another 
problem, until recently, was the manual, which in places was hard to 
understand.  Happily, it has now been completely rewritten.
     All quibbles aside, EscalPaint remains a fine program, and is 
light-years ahead of those antiquated fossils, Micro-Painter and Micro-
Illustrator.  But how does it stack up against more recent competition?
 
Diamond Paint
     This product from Reeve Software has a slicker graphic interface 
than EscalPaint.  It accepts a wider range of input devices, and really 
shines when coupled with an ST mouse.  It also has a more extensive tool 
box.  However, because they're limited to four colors, pictures created 
with Diamond Paint simply can't compete with those done by EscalPaint.  
Furthermore, Diamond Paint is considerably more expensive, since it 
requires the Diamond Operating System.
 
Technicolor Dream
     This art program is a British import from Red Rat Software.  Like 
EscalPaint, it's a 256-color program--but, with the use of "filters" and 
"color mixing," boasts a palette of _millions_ of colors.  (Well, that's 
what they claim, and who's going to prove them wrong?)  Even more 
incredible, its pictures are absolutely flicker-free.  Technicolor Dream 
is especially good at rendering moody street scenes, and landscapes full 
of delicate hues.  And it's cheap, cheap, cheap.  You can get it from 
American Techna-Vision for $4.95.  Still, as good as Technicolor Dream 
pictures are, I haven't seen any that are the equal of EscalPaint's 
best.
 
The Envelope, Please
     You're a winner if you own any of these programs.  Each has its own 
strengths, and any aficionado of computer art will want all of them.  
But, if you must pick only one, and you want an art program that's 
capable of producing the highest quality work, then EscalPaint is the 
one for you.
     You should also consider getting some "Amiga Picture Show" disks 
from EscalPaint's U.S. distributor.  These consist of images ported over 
from an Amiga and touched up with EscalPaint.  Each disk has five 
pictures (remember, the size of each one is 123 sectors), along with an 
autobooting viewer.  The quality of the pictures is uneven, but one disk 
that I received had four of the best I've ever seen on my 8-bit (Rolf, 
Baby, Girla, and Gorilla).
     By the way, you may have read a brief note on EscalPaint in the 
November 1990 issue of Antic.  The price given was wrong.  The correct 
amount is $15.00.
     Amiga pictures disks are available for $2 each (plus $2 per order 
for postage and handling).  Order from:
     K.O. Distributors
     333 Peninsula Drive
     Lake Almanor, CA 96137
     (916) 596-4159
     (916) 596-3646 (Fax)
-- 
 Michael Current, Cleveland Free-Net 8-bit Atari SIGOp   -->>  go atari8  <<--
   The Cleveland Free-Net Atari SIG is the Central Atari Information Network
      Internet: currentm@carleton.edu / UUCP: ...!umn-cs!ccnfld!currentm
     BITNET: currentm%carleton.edu@{interbit} / Cleveland Free-Net: aa700





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