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Utility: Graphics
ZX Spectrum 48K

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John Gilbert
Chris Bourne

Just as Art Studio had to compete with The Artist from Softechnics so, inevitabl, Advanced Art Studio will be compared with Artist II.

Unlike Artist II, (given a Classic in November's SU), Rainbird's advanced graphics extensions are built around the core of the old program. It includes standard design features, such as varying widths of brush and pen, different airbrush density, a wide variety of shape designs, together with a large number of block colour or pattern fills. You can also type text over your graphics, in any direction, and create character sets - there are five included in the package.

Most of the advanced features involve the 128's extra 59K of memory which is split into a 43K Ramdisc and a 16K graphics scrapbook.

The Ramdisc is accessed through the Files menu. Select the Microdrive control menu and click the R option. You can then get a list of Ram-stored files, or Save, Load and Erase files. Graphics screens can be merged together by loading in one and overlaying another using the Merge option. The program can store at least two of these screens and more using the screen shrinking option, which takes all the unnecessary bytes out of a screen file.

Pictures can also be compiled from the Studio's internal scrapbook which comprises a library of images snatched from any drawings you have made. For instance, the program contains a scrapbook file called Logical Pad which has a series of circuit diagram components. You can search for the component your diagram needs and switch to the main screen which holds your work. That screen now contains an outline window, the size of the' component. You can move it into position, press Fire, and the image is dropped into your schematic.

You can create a scrapbook file just as easily. Draw your image on the main screen, position a window around it and switch to the scrapbook mode. When you click the insert option the image within, the window appears on the Insert option the image within the window appears in the scrapbook and can be stored on Microdrive or tape.

Advanced Art Studio is compatible with most dot- matrix printers - you'd be safe with Epson compatible but with a little help from the manual you should be able to convert the software to run most printers under the sun.

Unfortunately, the initial printer/mass storage setup takes place during loading so you have to sit by the Spectrum for ten minutes, stopping and starting the tape when told and entering printer options and codes when necessary. At the end of the Load when you've tailored AAS to your hardware set-up you can save the new version of the program.

Although Advanced Art Studio is an extension of it's 'little' brother it is a real step forward which makes the best use of the 128K+2 machine.

It provides a professional environment which, no doubt, graphics artists and designers could just about use.

Label: Rainbird
Author: James Hutchby
Price: £24.95
Joystick: various
Memory: 128K Only
Reviewer: John Gilbert


The enhanced 128K ver- sion of Art Studio con- tinues the competition with the rival 128K up- graded Artist.A classic.