Following in the wake of the icon driven graphics packages is ICON GRAPHIX from ASL which is being marketed by AUDIOGENIC.
Following the current trend towards icon driven graphics utilities, Audiogenic have released ICON GRAPHIX from ASL. This is being marketed as a powerful icon driven graphics and design tool and competes with comparable offerings such as ART STUDIO from Rainbird Software and THE ARTIST from The Edge.
The program cassette contains the basic software as well as a Microdrive compatible copy which can be installed on a Microdrive cartridge automatically once it has been loaded.
The screen of ICON GRAPHIX displays the drawing window surrounded by the option boxes. Pictures may be created in the drawing window using the tool icons grouped around it. Selecting (or changing) drawing tools is achieved simply by positioning the current tool over the box to be selected and by pressing CAPS SHIFT or fire on the joystick. There range of drawing tools to choose from includes felt pens of various shapes and sizes, sprays and brushes. All drawing is done in the current pattern and there are 34 patterns to choose from. If that's not enough, existing patterns may be edited to create your own patterns.
A magnify facility with a simple pixel set or reset facility can used for detail work. Corrections can be made with the Rubber tool or with the powerful Undo routine, which cancels the effect of the last function selected. Push Page provides access to hidden parts of the screen. Special drawing functions provided are Elastic Line, Box, Circle and Ellipse.
Usually, the picture is drawn in black and white first. Then the colour mode is entered, which displays the palette of colour options including Bright and Flashing and colour can be added to the picture. Once Ink and Paper colours have been selected, the Pen tool is used to fill in the attribute characters over the existing pattern.
A screen dump routine allows screen pictures to be immortalised by printing the 24 screen lines to a ZX or Alphacom printer; pictures and documents may be saved to tape or Micro-drive cartridge for later use. Pictures are equivalent to Screen saves, while documents also include any new patterns generated.
ICON GRAPHIX performs very well and is very userfriendly. The various drawing options and tools are located at the bottom edge of the screen, with the large selection of pattern boxes spread around the edge of the drawing window. The current pattern is always displayed in the bottom right corner and to change the current pattern this box must be accessed and CAPS SHIFT pressed. In colour mode the top line of pattern boxes is replaced with the colour palette.
Several important functions and facilities found in most graphics packages nowadays are missing from ICON GRAPHIX. Cut, Paste, Copy and Move facilities, which would allow screen details to be duplicated or moved to other areas of the screen are noticeably absent. There are no special drawing modes for blending new designs into existing screen drawings using the logical AND and XOR functions. Serious screen designers will miss a screen dump routine for 80 column dot matrix printers, as the minimalist 32 column thermal print-outs are unlikely to satisfy them. Despite these omissions ICON GRAPHIX is a handy screen creating tool which could prove to be a lot of fun to use.