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.
CRITICISMGeneral Rating: Not Rated
FEATURESCassette and microdrive operationKempston joystick or keyboard control (Z,X,C,V keys)Felt pen (pencil) with up to 16 different shapesSpray (spray tin)Brush (paintbrush)RectanglesCircles and ellipsesElastic linesRubberPush page (screen scroll)UndoClear ScreenNew (clears screen, restores current pattern to black and reselects joystick or keyboard)Print to ZX PrinterMagnify screen areaEdit drawing and filling patternColour ModeLoad and save to microdrive or cassette
TOOLS and COMMANDSFELT PENDrawing is done with the current pattern. Several shapes and sizes of pen can be selected by accessing the Shapes box.SPRAYThe spray does not plot a random pattern of dots on the screen, but draws a fuzzy blob of the current pattern.BRUSHThe brush provides the normal fill operation. Mistakes may be corrected with the UNDO command.BOXThe pencil is used to point to the first diagonal and by pressing the CAPS SHIFT continuously the rectangle is dragged across the screen until the desired size if obtained.CIRCLEThe circle or ellipse is shaped by fixing one corner, dragging and the releasing. The ellipse is proportioned to fit inside an imaginary box between the first fixed corner and the current arrow position. A circle is obtained with an imaginary square box.LINELine draws a straight line from a fixed point and can be used to draw approximated curves by successively releasing the CAPS SHIFT key to reposition the fixed point and join lines.RUBBERRubber erases the current area covered by the square rubber icon. Finer erasures should be accomplished with a fine pen and a white pattern or with the magnify facility.PUSH PAGEPush Page moves the drawing window around to uncover areas of the screen covered by the option boxes including the two lines at the bottom of the screen.UNDOUndo undoes the last screen function and restores the condition previous to the last execution.CLSCls clears the screen.NEWNew clears the screen, restores the current pattern to black and reselects the joystick or keyboard. As this function cannot be undone, the program requires a confirmation before proceeding.PRINTPrint dumps the 24 screen lines to the ZX or Alphacom printer.SHAPESShapes displays a tray of 16 different pen shapes with the current pen shape marked with a ring. A new shape is selected by pointing and pressing CAPS SHIFT.MAGNIFYMagnify enlarges a portion of the screen pointed to by the arrow cursor. This is useful for detail work, where individual pixels may be set or reset or the whole magnified part erased with the rubber tool box.EDIT PATTERNAny unwanted pattern may be selected and the current pattern box 'pressed'. The pattern design appears in magnified form in the screen centre with a life-sized sample above it. Pixels can be set or reset and when the pattern is satisfactory, the OK box can be clicked.COLOURTo add colour to the picture, the COLOUR box is selected. A palette of colours appears at the top of the screen with 8 ink squares, 8 paper colours and Bright and Flash strips beneath the ink and paper squares. The tools available in colour mode are the PEN, which is used to fill attribute squares with the current colours, and PUSH PAGE, which pushes the colour squares around to match up previous design pushes. CLS restores the colours to black and white, UNDO restores the colours after a CLS or undoes the last colouring and NEW returns to ordinary drawing mode, saving the colour attributes to memory so that the saved picture can be loaded back later as a normal coloured screen.LOAD and SAVELoad and save may be performed on Pictures and Documents. Picture is equivalent to a SCREEN including the colour attributes and a Document is a picture including any new patterns.