Classic Computer Magazine Archive START SPECIAL ISSUE NUMBER 1


Drawing, animation and computer-aided design software

By Jon A.Bell

The name Atari has always been synonymous with video games. But video games are the result of another notable Atari synonym - graphics.

Graphics have always been Atari's strong suit. Since video games depend on sparkling explosions, pulsing laser bolts and zooming spaceships, they've served as strong examples for showcasing flashy computer graphics, and the ST continues that tradition.

With three different graphics resolutions (two color, one black and white) and a Motorola 68000 CPU sitting under the hood, the ST is an inexpensive but very powerful computer graphics machine. Today, STs are used for everything from business graphics slides to video titling, cartoon-type animation to stereoscopic spectaculars.

The list of ST software for these applications is growing daily, but it all falls into three main categories: paint, computer-aided design (CAD) and animation programs. There's some overlap between categories--a drawing or painting program might have some animation capability, for example. But the most important similarity between these programs is their usefulness to the graphics-hungry ST owner. Whether you're interested in painting a colorful pastoral scene, drawing a black and white graphic for a newsletter or animating your own pixelized space epic, you'll find an ST program that helps you realize your computerized visions.

Cyber Paint


DEGAS Elite ($59.95) is an enhanced version of the original DEGAS (the first full-featured drawing program available for the ST) and consequently, the ST paint program standard. DEGAS supports all three ST graphics modes and includes features such as zoom, airbrush, stipple, mirror, block move and copy, user-definable fills and brushes, and color-cycling animation. It includes printer drivers and a custom font editor, and works in all resolutions. Batteries Included, distributed by Electronic Arts, 1820 Gateway Drive, San Mateo, CA 94404. (415) 571-7171

Easy-Draw 2.0 ($99.95) is an object-oriented drawing program with standard drawing features: lines, boxes, circles, polygons. You can also select parts of a drawing and draw with them as objects. Its main strength lies in creating technical images such as machinery cutaways, and architectural floor plans and newsletter illustrations (you can mix text and graphics). Although EasyDraw is not designed as a desktop publishing system, many owners have been using this program to do page layouts. Works in medium and high res. Migraph Inc., 333rd Street, Suite 201, Federal Way, WA 98003. (206) 838-4677

Font Pack #1 ($39.95) is a package of two different font styles to use with Easy-Draw: Rocky (a serif, Roman-style face) and Hi-Tech (a futuristic sans serif face). For use with Easy-Draw versions 2.0 and higher. Migraph Inc., 333rd Street, Suite 201, Federal Way, WA 98003. (206) 838-4677

Personal Draw Art #1 ($29.95) is a clip-art disk containing over 150 pieces of artwork--everything from decorative borders and symbols to vehicles, such as airplanes and trucks. For use with Easy-Draw versions 2.0 and higher. Migraph Inc., 333rd Street, Suite 201, Federal Way, WA 98003. (206) 838-4677

Technical Draw Art #1 ($29.95) is a library of technical symbols for both electronics and mechanical use. It features symbols for electrical circuitry and wiring schematics, piping, flow charts, architectural floor plans and more. For use with Easy-Draw versions 2.0 and higher. Migraph Inc., 333rd Street, Suite 201, Federal Way, WA 98003. (206) 838-4677


NEOchrome 1.0 ($39.95) is the commercial version of Atari's ST paint program. (A stripped-down version was included with all STs sold until late 1986.) NEOchrome includes many drawing features, including multiple brushes, color cycling animation and block moves. You can also cut out a piece of your screen picture and place it behind another piece by using the Jackknife function. Low resolution only. Atari Corp., 1196 Borregas Avenue, P.O. Box 3427, Sunnyvale, CA 94088. (408) 745-2367

New Technology Coloring Book ($19.95) is an educational paint-by-numbers graphics program that teaches ST users about modern technology. The disk contains outlined images of the human body, computers, lasers, genetics, outer space and more. Pick out your own colors for the images or follow the program's guidelines in this unusual electronic coloring book. Low resolution only. Software Toolworks, distributed by Electronic Arts, 1820 Gateway Drive, San Mateo, CA 94404. (415) 571-7171

Paint Pro ($49.95) is an icon-based paint program with many of the same features as DEGAS Elite and NEO-chrome. It includes zoom, mirror, spray, varying lines and fill patterns, and user-definable workscreen areas. You can also rotate picture elements and invert colors. Disk includes printer drivers. Works in all resolutions. Abacus Software, P.O. Box 7219, Grand Rapids, MI 49510. (616) 241-5510

Paint Pro Library ($29.95) is a collection of clip art and fonts to be used with Paint Pro. Includes decorative borders, electronic and drafting symbols and over 100 clip art pieces. DEGAS-compatible. Abacus Software, PO. Box 7219, Grand Rapids, MI 49510. (616) 241-5510

Paintworks ($39.95) is an icon-based paint program with many features: lines, controlled fills, text, boxes, circles and zoom. You can alter your color palette, reverse, invert and cycle colors, and create your own fill patterns. Includes a sideshow program on disk that's compatible with Audio Light's Music Studio. Works in all resolutions. Audio Light, distributed by Activision, P.O. Box 7287, Mountain View, CA 94039. (415) 940-6044

Spectrum 512 ($69.95) is unlike any other paint program for the Atari ST: It allows you to draw, in low resolution, with the entire 512-color ST palette. It features block move and copy, scaling, zoom, circle, box and fill, and a multiple-screen buffer. It has anti-aliasing that works on drawing functions, user-defined screen areas or even the entire screen. It can load picture files from DEGAS and NEOchrome, and can even load 4,096-color "hold and modify" pictures from the Commodore Amiga. Note: Spectrum will not work in most STs manufactured before December 1986, due to their older MMU chips. The Catalog Antic Software, 544 Second Street, San Francisco, CA 94107. (800) 234-7001

Printmaster Plus ($39.95) is a graphic design package that allows you to produce printed borders, icons, designs for t-shirt decals, bulletins, hand-bills, calendars and more. Mix type fonts and styles. Comes with over 100 pieces of original artwork. Unison World, 2150 Shattuck Ave., Suite 902, Berkeley, CA 94704. (415) 848-6670

Fonts (Six disks, $29.95 per disk) Each disk contains printer and screen fonts for medium & high resolution. Disk #6 even has a complete set of 11 Laser Writer fonts.


Clip Art (Five disks, $19.95 per disk) Each Clip Art disk has different graphic designs for different needs and cover a wide variety of topics. The Font Factory, P.O. Box 17422, Phoenix, AZ 85011. (602) 265-7849

Video Title Shop ($29.95) Allows you to combine a computer and a VCR to create title animations and graphics effects for any video recording. Video Title Shop has design and editing options and facilities to import graphics. Datasoft, 19808 Nordhoff Place, Chatsworth, CA 91311. (818) 886-5922


Aegis Animator ST ($79.95) is an object-oriented animation program. Create a key (beginning) frame, move an object several times, then drag it to its final position. Animator ST will interpolate every movement on whatever range of frames you've picked (a process called tweening). It can also cut and paste between animations, cycle colors and save individual frames as cels. Includes an animation player program. Low resolution only. Aegis Development, 2115 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90405 (213) 392-9972

Art Pak ST ($29.95) is a collection of predrawn cels, backdrops and NEOchrome screens for use with Animator ST. It contains a variety of images, such as animals (cheetahs, elephants), buildings (houses, office buildings) and vehicles (ships, planes, cars). Aegis Development, 2115 Pico Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90405. (213) 392-9972

Cyber Paint ($69.95) is a combination paint/animation program that's compatible with the Cyber Studio. Create your own 2-D animation sequences, rotate, tween, shrink and expand objects, copy to individual frames or to an entire sequence. Cyber Paint includes multiple brushes, airbrush, stipple, circle, box and zoom. It allows you to load CAD-3D 2.0 animations, make precise changes on every frame, then save the files back out to disk. You can also load in multiple layers of animation and still images on top of or behind one another Low resolution only. The Catalog Antic Software, 544 Second Street, San Francisco, CA 94107. (800) 234-7001

Make it Move 2.0 ($69.95) is a simple graphics presentation and animation program. Create your own graphics scripts, and define objects to move, either in front of or behind existing objects. Includes zoom, scan (fast play), wipes and fades. Low resolution only. MichTron, 576 S. Telegraph, Pontiac, MI 48053. (313) 334-5700

The ST Director ($79.95) consists of two programs: Art Director and Film Director. Art Director is a full-featured paint program that includes zoom, multiple brushes (16 different calligraphy pens), and the ability to bend, stretch and compress objects on your screen. Film Director is an icon-based cel animation program that allows you to copy multiple frames of artwork, or pieces of frames, as a strip of animation. You can define different parts of a figure (a cartoon character, for example) and make them move independently of the main body. There's even a library of music and sound effects for you to add to your animations. You can use either Art Director and Film Director separately, although they are designed to work as an integrated package. Broderbund, 17 Paul Drive, San Rafael, CA 94903. (415) 492-3200


Cyber Studio

The Cyber Studio ($89.95) is actually two programs in one--Tom Hudson's CAD-3D 2.0 and Mark Kimball's CyberMate CAD-3D 2.0 is a full-featured computer-aided design system for creating 3-D pictures. You can spin an object, extrude it, use custom color palettes and multiple camera views. Objects may be wireframe (hidden lines showing or removed) or solid (with or without outlines) and may be saved to disk as CAD-3D files or as DEGAS or NEOchrome pictures. Includes a 3-D animation program allowing you to create computer animation with CAD-3D objects. CyberMate is an animation editing language that allows you to edit your animation sequences and add dissolves, wipes, titles and sound effects. Works in low-res and monochrome. The Catalog, Antic Software, 544 Second St., San Francisco, CA 94107. (800) 234-7001

Cyber Control ($59.95) is an animation control language developed by Tom Hudson. With it, you can write your own CAD-3D animation scripts using simple programming commands. Envision elaborate CAD-3D movies, write the code to handle all object movements, then walk away and let your ST record the frames. Cyber Control also allows you to create extremely complicated CAD objects, with compound curves and multiple facets. For use with the Cyber Studio. The Catalog, Antic Software, 544 Second St., San Francisco, CA 94107. (800) 234-7001

Architectural Design Disk and Human Design Disk ($29.95 each) are collections of CAD-3D objects. The Architectural Design disk contains objects such as doors, windows, arches, walls and stairways. Both packages contain blueprints and completed models on disk. The Human Design disk contains male and female skeletal forms and finely-detailed body parts, such as heads and hands. For use with the Cyber Studio. The Catalog, Antic Software, 544 Second St., San Francisco, CA 94107. (800) 234-7001

Aegis Animator

Future Design Disk ($29.95) is a collection of sleek modular shapes, allowing you to create futuristic hardware, such as spaceships, space stations, robots and 21st-century tanks. The package contains blueprints and completed models on disk. For use with the Cyber Studio. The Catalog, Antic Software, 544 Second St., San Francisco, CA 94107. (800) 234-7001

3D-Font Package ($24.95) is a combination font editor/super extruder tool for CAD-3D. Create multicolored CAD objects with the extruder, and create your own CAD-3D fonts. Includes two fonts--serif and sans serif, both upper and lower case. For use with the Cyber Studio. The Catalog, Antic Software, 544 Second St., San Francisco, CA 94107. (800) 234-7001


GFA Vector ($49.95) is a CAD graphics program that lets you create 3D wire-frame graphics through programming commands, defining points and lines by entering their coordinates into your keyboard. The program creates picture files written in machine language, allowing for fast generation and real-time animation. You can also import the pictures into your own GFA BASIC programs. MichTron, 576 S. Telegraph, Pontiac, MI 48053. (313) 334-5700

Graphic Artist 1.51 ($199.95) is a business-oriented CAD package. It includes standard line drawing features, curves, angles and symbols, and lets you store and recall portions of a drawing from a spreadsheet-style interface. You can edit your designs from the spreadsheet, mathematically editing the coordinate points of a design. You can also put text into your graphics. Progressive Computer Applications, Inc., 2002 McAuliffe Drive, Rockville, MD 20851. (301) 340-8398.

Graphics Hardware and Services

ARTablets (6x9 inches, $395; 12x12 inches, $539; 12x18, $877). EI/O's new graphics tablets are actually electronic drawing boards used with an electronic stylus--so you can draw in the normal manner instead of trying to etch fine images with your mouse. However, you can still use the mouse and keyboard. The two larger tablets come with a four-button "puck" for precision tracing and drafting. ARTablets are compatible with NEOchrome, the DEGAS programs, Publishing Partner, CAD3D, First CADD, Aegis Animator and others. EI/O Products, 1559 Roc~zville Pike, Rockville, MD 20852. (301) 869-5984

Computereyes Video Digitizer ($249.95). One of the highest-rated video digitizers available for the Atari ST. Accepts color or B&W video input. Digitizes pictures in all three ST resolutions, and saves them in either NEO- or DEGAS-compatible formats. (Antic review 3/87) Digital Vision. 66 Eastern Avenue, Dedham, MA 02026. (61 7) 329-5400

Navarone Video Digitizer ($139.95). The original ST video digitizer. Works in all three resolutions, and can capture and display images at up to five frames per second. (Antic review 3/87) Navarone Industries, 1043 Sterling Rd., #201, Mountain View, CA 94040. (415) 964-2660

Print Technik Video Digitizer ($199.95). Capture stunning color pictures with your Atari ST using a black and white video camera? It's easy with the P-T Video Digitizer, from Print-Technik. Allows the capture of images in all three ST video resolutions. (Antic review 3/87). MichTron Software, 576 South Telegraph, Pontiac, MI 48053. (313) 334-5700

Navarone Audio Digitizer ($139.95). A good 8-bit audio digitizer for those of you who want to make your own M-M-Max Headroom tapes. Originally known as the Hippo Audio Digitizer. (Antic review 3/87). Navarone Industries, 1043 Sterling Rd., #201, Mountain View, CA 94040. (415) 964-2660

Navarone ST Scan ($1239.95). In addition to using a video digitizer, this may be the best way to import pictures and graphics into your application. This document scanner is based on the Canon IX-12, and will digitize documents at 75, 150, 200, and 300 dots per inch. Navarone Industries. 1043 Sterling Rd., #201, Mountain View, CA 94040. (415) 964-2660

ST PictaScan ($149.95). PictaScan is a Thunderscan-type device which attaches to your printer and allows you to digitize photographs at up to 400+ dots per inch. It's not that fast, but the price is right. E. Arthur Brown Company. 3404 Pawnee Drive Alexandria MN 56308. (612) 762-8847

IMG SCAN ($59.95). IMG SCAN turns your ST and any graphics-capable printer into a high-resolution image scanner. A small light pipe attached to the print head captures 256 gray levels, works in all screen resolutions and allows nine levels of magnification or reduction. Scan any page, photo, copy, etc. that will fit into your printer. Seymor-Radix, P.O. Box 166055, Irving, TX 75016.


Image Set (Price varies) Image Set Corporation will take any computer image on disk and convert it into a 35mm slide. They also do digital color separations, which you can see on the cover of the Fall 1987 START, The ST Quarterly. Image Set Corp., 555 19th St., San Francisco, CA 94107. (415) 626-8366.