Scor­pio News


July–September 1987 – Volume 1. Issue 3.

Page 40 of 67

text, display various error messages, show disk files available, etc, whilst the Pluto monitor displays the picture being created. A digitizer tablet is used to control the drawing process. Moving the pen so that the cursor goes off the right hand edge of the display results in a menu appearing down the right hand side of the colour display. Then, moving the pen up and down highlights the various options, and pushing the pen down selects the chosen option. Various menus can appear, depending on what you are doing.

This method of operation allows for fairly rapid working after only a short familiarisation time.

A detailed review of this package could run to many pages, plus it is almost impossible to describe in words what I saw, so I shall just outline some of the options and possibilities.

This package was demonstrated to me on a Pluto 24 bit system with two screen memory end full colour frame grab facilities. A colour photograph was put under the camera and “grabbed”. By grabbing into one screen memory and working in the other, a new picture can be built up using operator drawn graphics plus portions taken of the “grab”.

The Distort command is fascinating. Any area of a picture may be selected and copied to any other area. However, the two areas selected may be of different shapes, and the software will distort the original area to fit into the new one. As an example of this, various portions of the grabbed image were copied/​distorted to form a three dimensional cube, with pictures on each of the three visible faces.

Portions of a picture may be picked up and rotated. Circles, lines, boxes, ellipses, etc may all be drawn. Brushes may be selected for free-hand painting, where the brush may be of any colour and size. More fascinating, the brush may actually be a portion of a picture.

Text facilities are comprehensive. Various fonts (type styles) may be selected and positioned. If required they can have a drop shadow (i.e. the text is repeated again just behind the original text and slightly offset, in any direction, by any amount and in any selected colour, so that the original text appears to be offset from the “page” with its shadow behind). Box text will take any entered text and stretch/​shrink it as necessary so that it exactly fits a box that has been drawn on the screen.

The whole thing is extremely impressive. When a drawing is finished it can obviously be saved to disk. From this it is then possible to have slides or photographs produced, or even dump it to a printer. Io have a Mitsubishi colour thermal printer that can produce A3 colour prints on paper or acetate, and around the show-room they have framed examples of this.

The system demonstrated was obviously using all top of the range items and options. Prices of all this technology follow, but starting prices can be much lower, and of course all of the items I was demonstrated aren’t essential. Pluto 24 bit system with frame grabber and memory expansion options, £12500; Designer Paint for Pluto 24 bit system, £2500; Mitsubishi printer driver software, £250; Mitsubishi A3 printer, £6470; Digitizing tablet, £750; 20″ colour monitor, £1164; colour camera, £4510; camera stand and lights, £500. Further software options also available (there is s 3-D version of Designer for £3995). (P.S. don’t forget you need a host computer too!) Total c. £30000 (+ VAT).

For the not so well off

Arctic Computers of Wetherby, a long established Gemini dealer, and now a main Io Research one also, have realised that many people would like some or all of these facilities, but do not necessarily have the throughput to warrant purchasing them. They have therefore just completed setting up a bureau, with full facilities for producing slides, videos, colour prints, etc, etc. People

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