Microcomputer graphics and programming techniques. (book reviews) Steve Gray.
Microcomputer Graphics and Programming Techniques, by Harry Katzan Jr. Van Nostrand Reinhold Co., New york, N.Y. 237 pages, hardcover $18.95. 1982.
The press release says this "first easy-to-understand reference offers a non-technical introduction to computer graphics technology." Well, it isn't all that easy, and the programs were written for the Apple II Plus computer, which has built-in graphics commands that simplify programming considerably.
Although the jacket says "it doesn't matter if you've never looked at a computer before," it would help to know something about computers before you tackle this book, which more closely resembles a college textbook than an easy guide.
For example, the introductory chapter includes a state diagram showing the "operational modes of the computer in response to various forms of input," which is much too technical for such a book, and isn't explained at all. The second algorithm in the next chapter, on applications and programming concepts, generates fibonacci numbers; a program for doing the same starts off the fifth chapter, on Basic.
The book seems to have been written around the two dozen programs in the last four chapters, which are about lo-res and hires graphics, animation, and 2-D and 3-D transformations. They include the game of Life, stereo effect, generating "visual white noise" (random lines), string art, moving birds and dogs (animation), etc. The last chapter, on image transformation (translation, rotation scaling), includes two fine programs for 2-D and 3-D transformations, but they aren't explained at all. And two important figure captions are transposed, adding to the complexity.
This book can be recommended if you have some knowledge of programming, and want to learn something about graphics, but aren't willing to learn enough about vector math and matrices to understand, for example, the outstanding $19.95 "Graphics Software for Microcomputers," by B.J. Korites (reviewed February 1982, p. 220).
Review Grade: C-