Professional Draw 2.0. (Amiga graphics software) (evaluation)
by Harv Laser
The first thing you notice about Professional Draw 2.0 is that its interface looks virtually identical to the original Professional Draw, with the addition of some new menu items. These new selections are what brings Professional Draw 2.0 in league with the midrange structured drawing programs available at much higher prices on other computers.
A major enhancement to Professional Draw 2.0 is a separate program called Trace. Trace converts an IFF bitmap file into a structured clip suitable for import into Professional Draw. Experimentation is the key here, as it's easy to create absolutely enormous clips that take forever to load. (The updated Professional Draw is much faster than 1.0, but many operations are still sleep-inducing.) Simple IFFs using very few colors will convert best.
With Professional Draw 2.0 you can take one object, say a circle or a square, and blend or morph it into another object. Professional Draw will calculate and display all the intermediate-step objects for you very quickly. Morphing objects will also blend their colors, if different, so a yellow star can be morphed into a blue planet over a number of steps, with each transitional object changing both shape and color along the way.
You can now control how Professional Draw operates on your particular display hardware. Depending on whether you have a flickerFixer board, you can choose between Smooth (best colors for flickerFixer and 3000 owners), Non-Interlace (for using the program in 640 X 200 mode), or Flicker-Free (a special palette designed to minimize interlace flicker) modes.
Professional Draw 2.0 now offers a menu item that easily aligns text with curves, a task that was sheer torture with the original program. This was a sorely needed feature. The program comes with two specially prepared outline fonts: Times (serif) and Triumvirate (sans serif). These type-faces can be treated as object when typed onto the screen: Scale, twist, skew, rotate , and color them in a multitude of ways, and wrap letters or text on arbitrarily curved paths with ease. If you want a wider variety of outline fonts, you'll have to invest in one of Gold Disk's Compugraphic outline fonts packages, which come with a utility called CreateFont that converts Compugraphic into a format acceptable to Professional Draw.
Professional Draw 2.0 can import Encapsulated PostScript files and IFF bitmaps, and can output to Postscript and dot-matrix printers or plotters that speak HPGL. Gold Disk's Professional Page and Softlogik's PageStream 2.1 software will both import clips created with Professional Draw.
The 158-page paperback manual does a decent job as both a tutorial guide and working reference.