Classic Computer Magazine Archive CREATIVE COMPUTING VOL. 10, NO. 7 / JULY 1984 / PAGE 57

The Print Shop; at last, a graphics program even an editor can use. (evaluation) Betsy Staples.

I usually feel uncomfortable with issues of Creative that deal with graphics, for I am a truly uncreative person when it comes to the graphic arts. I was somewhat creative and exhibited a fair amount of artistic inclination up until the time I was about eight years old. There my artistic development was arrested; I still have the artistic abilities of an eight-year-old.

When faced with an exciting new graphics program, graphics tablet, or even the Macintosh, I freeze. If pushed by onlookers who assure me that anyone can create with this gadget, i can usually muster a perfunctory squiggle or two before sliding off the chair and attempting to vanish in the nearest crowd.

The problem is simply that I cannot think of anything to create, even given the wherewithal (as with the Mac) to create almost anything imaginable.

Imagine my joy, then, when I saw a demonstration of The Print Shop from Broderbund. A few seconds into the demo, I knew this program was for me--and others of my ilk. I could hardly wait to get my disk drive around a copy.

When my copy arrived, I was not disappointed; I created things--cards, signs, letterhead, all kinds of artistic, clever things.

The program is entirely menu-driven. All you have to do is choose the elements you want in your masterpiece, and The Print Shop does the rest.

From the opening menu, you first choose Setup to tell the program what sort of printer and interface you are using. The printers supported are Epson, C. Itoh (Prowriter), NEC 8023A, Apple Dot Matrix, Apple Imagewriter, and Star Gemini.

As you begin to create in earnest, you work your way through the menus, using the keyboard, a joystick, or a Koalapad to make your selections. First, you specify whether you want to create a greeting card, letterhead, sign, or banner. Then you choose one of the nine border designs. For the background of your creation, you can have either an overall pattern made up of one of the ten abstract "tiles" or a scattering of one of the dozens of pictures (train, teddy bear, champagne bottle, disk, computer, heart, etc., etc.) and symbols that are available in various sizes.

Since you probably want to communicate something verbally with your masterpiece, you must also choose one of the eight typestyles that can be printed in three sizes and in solid, outline, and three-dimensional format. You then type your message, specifying whether you want it centered or right or left justified. The message is artfully reproduced complete with sophisticated kerning or proportional spacing which enables small letters to snuggle up to their taller and wider brothers and sisters. Typing errors are easily corrected right on the screen.

For those who feel compelled to personalize their cards and signs even further, there is a graphic editor that allows you to create your own graphics or modify those that come with the program. The KoalaPad is particularly useful in this mode.

The Screen Magic option is a screen dump utility that allows you to print any hi-res graphics screen created with the graphics programs. It includes a kaleidoscope generator that can be used to create unique and interesting backgrounds for your artwork.

Printing, too, is a simple matter of making menu selections, although the actual printing process can be quite slow. It can take several minutes to print a single page, but when it takes only a few minutes to create the item to be printed in the first place, you can hardly quibble about time lost during printing.

Since we had a preliminary copy of the program, we did not have the final documentation, but it is safe to say that no matter how good or how bad it may be, it will be superfluous. The program is completely self-documenting; if you can turn your Apple on, you can turn it into a print shop.

Included in the final package will be samples of brightly colored pin feed paper and matching envelopes that can be purchased from independent suppliers.

The Print Shop is one of the most unusual and useful programs I have seen in a long time. It is the epitome of user-friendliness and should go a long way toward lessening the envy that Apple II owners may feel toward their Mac-owning friends.

Products: The Print Shop (Computer program)