PICASSO|Amstrad Action)PICASSO|CPC Attack)
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A new commercial art package hits the CPC. But is it any good? AA tested it to its limits...

“Dear Anne Robinson. Why oh why oh why does this Picasso program not work on my 464?” CPC 464 (not Plus) owners should be warned off this program. Though there is a special 464 version on the disc, this comes up with BASIC error messages when loaded and stops: and no way can it be persuaded to work. You need BASIC 1.1 for it to function properly.

Picasso isn't exactly a normal art package. Mouse users will be disappointed, for a start, as it's keyboard only. It works only in four colour MODE 1, and has unfortunate restrictions on the way some features operate. Try to fill an area with a multi-coloured pattern, for example, and it will only work if the colour of the area to be filled is absent from the pattern. If not, then the program could hang, and you've lost your picture.

Naturally, you'd like to be able to draw a picture over the whole screen, wouldn't you? Sorry guv, no chance: there's a permanent menu bar on the left, and it can't be removed for the area underneath to be edited. Meanwhile, if a fill accidentally leaks out of the area to be filled (quite possible!) then your whole screen will be filled: fine if there was an 'undo' function. There isn't.

Don't give Picasso up as a lost cause, though, because some of the features it offers are rather impressive. Despite the problems with coloured fills, if this limitation is avoided, the various fill options can produce some excellent effects. Unlike most programs, where patterns for a fill are small and fixed in size, Picasso lets you fill using a grabbed area from anywhere on the screen. So, for example, you could enter the text “Amstrad Action" and fill a circle with that.

Other fill options include the so-called “spherical" fill, where one colour radiates out from the centre of the area, and “random" which fills using a mix of two colours (of changeable proportions).
Neither of these two features are available on other packages, and when you look at the “memory" feature, the list of unique features grows even more. Areas of the screen can be “cut” and stored in 4k of picture memory, from where they can be saved or pasted elsewhere on the screen. They can be resized in two dimensions, which is a common feature, or in three, which isn't.

This is where Picasso comes into its own. Take a picture - say the supplied map of Britain. If you wanted to resize it to give the impression that you were looking from the South upwards, all you need to do with Picasso is squeeze the top two corners closer together. Hey presto: instant perspective. Perhaps you'd like to view it from an angle? No problem: unlike most art packages, which only offer 90 degree rotation, Picasso lets you rotate by any angle you like.

The standard options to draw lines, circles and ellipses are present. You can also draw a curve between any two points, going through a third one, although unfortunately only curves without tension (i.e. those that would form part of a circle) are supported: still, it's more than any other package offers! Watch out, though, because unlike most packages, the lines don't move with you as you move the cursor (known as rubber-banding). A zoom mode is provided, which utilises a small window at the top of the screen: handy in that you can see what you're altering in its normal scale, but those people used to really high enlargement will be disappointed. A print facility is available, with good results, though it's inconveniently held in a separate program.

Text facilities are okay, although not in the league of Advanced Art Studio: only one size is available, although enlargement is possible by using the memory facilities. A simple font designer is provided, as well as a number of fonts on the B side of the disc. One nice feature is the option to display highlighted text, which is normal text with a differently coloured outline.

Picasso does have some good features (fills, reshaping, etc), but if you can survive without these, if s probably better to go for a multi-mode package like Advanced Art Studio or GPaint.


★ PUBLISHER: SD Microsystems
★ YEAR: 19XX
★ CONFIG: AMSDOS + 64K (version 6128 & 464)
★ AUTHOR(S): ???
★ PRICE: £14.95 plus £1 P&P


» SD  Microsystems-Picasso    ENGLISHDATE: 2013-09-03
DL: 277 fois
SIZE: 72Ko
NOTE: 40 Cyls

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L'Amstrad CPC est une machine 8 bits à base d'un Z80 à 4MHz. Le premier de la gamme fut le CPC 464 en 1984, équipé d'un lecteur de cassettes intégré il se plaçait en concurrent  du Commodore C64 beaucoup plus compliqué à utiliser et plus cher. Ce fut un réel succès et sorti cette même années le CPC 664 équipé d'un lecteur de disquettes trois pouces intégré. Sa vie fut de courte durée puisqu'en 1985 il fut remplacé par le CPC 6128 qui était plus compact, plus soigné et surtout qui avait 128Ko de RAM au lieu de 64Ko.