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Project One
by RRR/Oxyron

There have already been several attempts to present a CBM64 pixel tool on the PC. The most promising projects introduced to the public so far have been Vodka's "Elite Paint", Oxidy's "WD Paint" [2] and Oswald's "Project One" [1]. I have decided to take a look at the recent version of "Project One" released on 2005-10-23.

Reading the readme.txt file you get a warning right from the beginning: expressiving to save your projects quite often, otherwise your work might get lost caused by a crashing program. As a convinced "Pro Motion" (developed by Jan Zimmermann of Cosmigo, author of various CBM64 productions like Gun Paint) [3] user I have decided to try my luck with Oswald's project. Who dares wins.

After starting the program you'll find a toolbar on top of the screen. The left side of the program offers you are preview window, the color palette (by default Pepto's one) which can be altered according to your preferences. The right part of the screen presents a much better window zooming the part of the picture you are currently working on. The bottom presents a status line giving you detailed information about the colors used in the current char, your actual x and y positions and the information which color is set when press the left or right mouse button.

Before you start working with you can select your favourite graphic format for the project in the toolbar. You can choose between Hires, Koala, Drazlace, AFLI, IFLI, FLI, Drazlace Special (2 interlaced Koala pictures use 2 different screen memories) and UFLI. The "FILE" menu offers you options to load and save pictures in the selected format. You can export your work to Windows BMP format, too, in order to work with other PC based editors aswell.

In order to support your work with the editor the options are still very puristic. You have all you need to pixel, but currently no support to draw circles, boxes or lines like e.g. known from Amica Paint or any other paint tools. However, you can define your brush size and access several filling options so far. Those filling methods are strict, compensating and ditherfill. Strict avoids breaking currrent mode's color limitations while compensating is searching for the best solution to fill. Finally ditherfill fills the destinated area in chessboard style with left and right mousebutton colors. My idea for future versions is surely a patternfill function, offering you to copy a pattern and to fill areas with that pattern.

What I especially like and got used to is the function to avoid color clashes. In Koala format you can use 3 colors in a 4x8 block. As soon as you insert a fourth color in common editors this area tends to so called color clashes. Oswald has built in a routine that avoids you to set pixels in the clashing color. Of course this routine is taking care about the specifications of any format which can be choosen in the toolbar.

Furthermore you can manually select if this fourth color should replace a color already used in that block. This is a quite handy and useful routine. Graphic artists who have worked in early Koala Painter and Amica Paint versions without grids and other supporting routines will surely love it. The colours can be choosen from the palette window or by using the keyboard. The pixels itself can be set by using the mouse or the keyboard, too. The grid itself is not missing in here, too. You can alter the settings for the grids according to your wishes in the menu "VIEW".

Finally there is the converter that allows you to convert graphics into CBM64 formats. With adjustable hue, saturation, lightness and contrast as well as the option to add dithering to the final results this tool is quite handy for non-pixel artists, too. It offers many features for quite good results. People may like or dislike this function but fact is converter tool do exist and this combination is quite comfortable for any user.

There are still many features which could be added and some bugs which need to be removed. However, I did test the package by painting a logo in Koala format, saved it and imported it into a D64 archive. It worked well and while working in normal pixel mode it did not crash on my setup (P4/Win XP). The only crash I could produce was while converting a picture and adjusted some settings while the program made the necessary calculations. Nevertheless the converter is definately not the most important part of this package in my humble opinion. ;)

With all those features known from CBM64 based paint tools like Amica Paint, with the patternfill function and with all known bugs removed, "Project One" will be a top notch program for all CBM64 graphic artists working on PC. Especially the option of one editor for all the different formats is like a dream become true. Some purists might complain about the fact that this one has been made for the PC but the realists might notice that this one makes things more easy and can raise the activity level because all pixel artists are now able to pixel wherever a Windows PC can be accessed, too.

Thumbs up for your effort, Oswald, and please do the scene and all CBM64 related graphic aritsts the favour to continue developing this great piece of software. Many thanks in advance.

RRR/OXYRON

Related links:
1.) http://noname.c64.org/csdb/release/?id=23635
2.) http://www.oxdsoftware.net/wdpaint/
3.) http://www.cosmigo.com/promotion

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