|★ APPLICATIONS ★ DIVERS ★ COLOURDUMP III|CPC Attack) ★|
|Colourdump 3||Applications Divers|
Originally written by Jeff Walker and Alex Aird, the original Colourdump was somewhat revolutionary. Colour print-outs from a humble CPC were unheard of at that time. Well, things have now moved on, and it's time to see whether this revamp is really all it's cracked up to be.
There are two options supplied with ColourDump III. The first Of which is the actual Colourdump program, and the second, the Screen Conversion utility. The latter option converts multifaced CPC into a format compatible with Colourdump and when loaded, it displays the MODE, BORDER and INK colours. These must be remembered, as they are required before printing can commence. If the screen is a SPECTRUM-size screen, it cannot be converted and a message highlights this fact. At this point, the converted screen can be saved. The file will be re-saved with the .BIN extension replaced by .SCR and is now ready to be used within Colourdump. Okay, this now takes us back to the main menu.
Selecting option A. "Run Colourdump". will start things off and you'll be asked if you want to print an Advanced Art Studio picture. These are the most simple type of screens to print -in terms of how much the user has to do to produce printed output! Advanced Art Studio saves Palette files with its screen files, and as Colourdump interprets these pallette files, it automatically knows which MODE and INKS the picture contains.
There are, like in StarDump, a number of options to set before printing occurs, such as screen layout, i.e. how you want it to appear on paper. The first concerns printing size with two choices - Large and Small. Single-density printing is faster than double-density, but features less quality. After a few prompts, the screen and colours are loaded into memory, ready to be printed with a single keypress. An interesting point to note, is that if you attempt to load in compressed A.A.S screens, Colourdump will automatically de-compress them. A very nice feature indeed.
Standard screen printing is a bit of a bind, as the screen colours must be input each time the screen is loaded, and in MODE 0 there are 16 numbers to type in. Stick with the Advanced Art Studio for supplying screens and you'll save yourself an awful lot of aggro.
Printing is expectedly slow, around 15 minutes for a Spectrum size 4-colour screen. The wait was well worth it, because the results are superb.
Although the program does not strictly support 24-pin printers, it does a very good attempt at 9-pin emulation, and although circles suffer from being slightly elliptical the results are still very good.
All in all, and answering the questions posed at the start of this article, Colourdump III is very good. Print quality is very high, although for technical reasons some colours are not reproduced quite as they appear on screen. The only thing that lets this program down is its error trapping. On quite a few occasions during the intial hands-on period, the program bombed-out for no apparent reason. No error messages -nothing. Apart from this, I can thoroughly recommend Colourdump 3 for all your colour printing needs.