Cricket Paint for Windows. (graphics software) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Robert Bixby
Computer Associates enters the Windows graphics world with Cricket Paint, a powerful - though somewhat confusing - paint program long familiar to Macintosh users.
This company believes that computer artists are less interested in the under-pinnings of a graphics program than in working with the art itself, so it took care in putting a simple button-and-slide-bar interface between you and the program. Some will like the fact that you don't have to access dialog boxes to achieve some effects, though I found this approach unintuitive. Any Windows product that forces you to be so dependent on the manual has missed the point of using a graphical user interface.
Computer Associates warns that Cricket Paint's functionality wasn't compromised to suit low-end PC hardware. I used it on a 486DX2/50 machine and experienced minimal delays.
Cricket Paint for Windows works in 24-bit color. If you load a file with a more restricted palette, Cricket Paint makes it 24-bit automatically. The exception is 8-bit gray-scale files, which aren't altered. Cricket Paint's color control is very good. It offers two kinds of graduated color (and several options for selecting colors) and a wide array of masking options. You can also capture an area of a drawing and turn it into a texture (or use one of the "canned" textures available with the product). When painting, you can select any of 100 levels of opacity. You can also copy (and do most operations) in any level of opacity.
The product is almost obsessively flexible. For example, you can specify line widths to .01 of a pixel. Each tool can be used anti-aliased, hardedged, or as an airbrush. And, as I mentioned, you can use any tool at any level of opacity. The program supports the Wacom pressure-sensitive tablet.
If you buy Cricket Paint for Windows, be prepared to spend some hours with the manual. This isn't a product you can sit down and immediately start using. On the other hand, you'll find that you have a powerful, feature-rich program that allows you to perform most ordinary functions without using menus or dialog boxes. You're unlikely to find a more powerful drawing package at a lower cost.