New art. (graphics software)
by Robert Bixby
Two of the most useful products that have crossed my desk in the past couple of months are DynoPage and the new Harvard Graphics for Windows (in beta release). I've also had the chance to review the DigitArt woodcut collection (number 25 in the series) from Image Club.
To be fair, I have to admit that Harvard Graphics was never strictly a charting program. It was also one of the most full-featured vector drawing programs from DOS. When it made the big move to WIndows about a year and a half ago, it stepped into the lion's den. There are more drawing programs for Windows than you can shake a T square at, and most of them are excellent, including one of the very first Windows applications--a drawing program from Micrografx.
You might recall that at approximately the same time Harvard Graphics for Windows appeared, a drawing program with a similar interface called Harvard Draw was released. Now much of Harvard Draw is a part of Harvard Graphics, with a lot of added effects, and it's known as Harvard FX. It's full of useful drawing tools like Extrude and Blend. Harvard Graphics with Harvard FX may have all the drawing tools most people need--particularly if those people create charts--because that's the main business of Harvard Graphics. The 2.0 version makes charting easier than ever with a friendly tutorial that helps you pick the right chart, enter the proper data in the right place, and come up with a professional-looking chart from the very first time out.
DynoPage is a pringting utility that you can use (under Windows) to get more control over your printer. Using it allows you to specially format printouts for your printer for booklets, note cards, and so forth. Once you have made the settings in the print setup utility, printing through DynoPage is just like using the Print Manager that comes with Windows, except that you have many more options for configuring the page.
Image Club has released a woodcut clip art collection. It's composed of vector (EPS-format) monochrome graphics that can be incorporated into most vector drawing programs. The graphics are specially created to look as if they wer produced from woodcuts--products of that early printing technology which required an artist to gouge a block of wood to generate graphics for the printed page (most o1 this sort of art is now done with linoleum blocks). I found the collection to be utilitarian rather than imaginative, but perhaps I'm expecting too much from my clip art collections. It provides excellent graphics for many uses, and the roughly wrought look of the drawings makes them distinctive. This collection would make an excellent addition for anyone doing professional work that requires a homemade appearance.
I guess that means desktop publishing has come full circle--the standard output from a desktop looks so professional that now people are reacting against the perfectionof line that's so easy to produce with a vector graphics program and a laser printer.
The graphics in this collection inspired me to create some woodcuts of my own using CorelDRAW!. The Powerlines and simple autotrace built into CorelDRAW! make creating woodcuts a snap.
Gaea and James Merrick wrote recently to ask how a logo created in a paint program could be made to appear smoother on a page printed with a laser printer.
There are two basic solutions. You can trace the logo in a vector drawing program (1st Design and Graphics Tools have autotrace built in) and then use the traced image, which will be printed at the resolution of the printer rather than at the resolution of the paint program (around 72 dpi). If this isn't realistic, you can create the logo as large as possible and then reduce it for printout. By reducing a 72-dpi raster drawing to 25 percent of its original size, you have effectively turned it into a 300-dpi painting.
Thank you for writing, and thank you for the sample magazine you sent. It looks very thought-provoking. Good luck with your publishing venture.
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