Art Studio. (evaluation)
Art Studio (and just about every other icon-driven graphics program for the IBM PC) owes quite a debt to MacPaint. Without a doubt, creating computer graphics (either business or personal) is far easier using a mouse than traditional methods. Why, the difference between P.M. (Pre-Mouse) graphics and A.M. (After Mouse) graphics is like the difference between night and day.
Art Studio is an effort to put color MacPaint on the IBM PC. The icons line the perimeter of the screen and represent all the familiar functions--boxes, continuous straight lines, cut and paste, fill, different fonts, spraypaint, and grids. You can select any of more than 40 patterns and choose from several different color palettes.
The bad news is the standard four-color graphics resolution of the IBM PC. In this medium resolution mode (320 x 200 pixels), the choice and combination of colors is limited. Art Studio helps you wring the most from these hardware restrictions, but do not expect the subtle differences in hue a CAD terminal package creates. Switching to high-resolution mode (640 x 200 pixels in two colors--black and white) improves the quality and definition of the graphics at the expense of color.
You might experience some difficulties in choosing a pattern icon using the keyboard. The cursor sometimes stops between the closely-packed icons. In addition, certain patterns tend to blur together. Only practice and experimentation will show you what works and what does not.
A few icons deserve mention: the arc, concentric circle and square, and radial line. The arc creates a quarter, half, or even a full circle, depending on the length of the arc. Concentric circle and square create the equivalent of rings on a archery target. Radial line is terrific for geometric patterns when several lines originate from one point.
One nice option, for those with experience with DOS and especially the DEBUG command, is the ability to capture screens from a Basic program, Lotus 1-2-3, or other paint program and convert them to Art Studio. A similar process enables Art Studio files to load into other programs.
Spectrum Holobyte's Art Studio, like other drawing programs, requires quite a bit of practice before you can create space shuttle scenes and other artistic extravaganzas. Nevertheless, for those with the diligence and interest, it is a solid graphics package, and the $49.95 pricetag is bound to please.
Products: Art Studio (computer program)