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Screenshots - PicSwitch

PicSwitch atari screenshot
PicSwitch atari screenshot
PicSwitch atari screenshot

Information - PicSwitch

GenreGraphics - MiscellaneousYear1987
Language[unknown]Publisher[no publisher]
DeveloperAdvanced SoftwareDistributor-
Box / InstructionsEnglishSoftwareEnglish

Brochu, John

LicensePD / Freeware / Shareware
SerialST TypeST, STe / 0.5MB
ResolutionLow / Medium / HighNumber of Disks1 / Double-Sided / HD Installable
Dumpdownload atari PicSwitch Download / MSAMIDI

Instructions - PicSwitch

                           PicSwitch Picture Utility
                   (c)1987 John Brochu for Advanced Software

   Version: 0.7
   Released: April 19, 1987

   PicSwitch 0.7 is distributed as SHAREWARE.  You are encouraged to freely
   distribute the program, but please include this doc file with the program.

   New features
   The following enhancements have been added from PicSwitch 0.6 ...
    o  Runs on color AND monochrome systems, all features supported on both
       monitors except PREVIEW (color only)
    o  New formats: DEGAS compressed, Tiny, and Atari 8-bit files
    o  Much improved low-res and med-res to monochrome conversions
    o  PicSwitch printer driver now supports all three resolutions
    o  Color cycling is now supported, and is converted between formats
    o  Converted pics are now saved to the original pic's directory, or
       optionally using the file selector to any drive/path

   About PicSwitch
   PicSwitch started out as a simple Amiga IFF file viewer back when ST paint
   programs  were hard to come by (around October of '85)!  Since then it has
   undergone  lots of upgrading through versions 0.5 (the original), 0.6, and
   now  0.7.  The basic intent of the program is to provide ST users with the
   ability  to  view  as much artwork as possible, and to convert to a format
   that  is usable to them on the ST.  With this version I have addressed the
   major  complaint most people have had with the program, that is monochrome

   All  pics can be viewed on either the color or monochrome monitor, and can
   be  saved  in any resolution with either system, with automatic conversion
   to  the selected resolution.  Conversions from a higher res to a lower res
   are  automatically  optimized  using  a  color  averaging technique, while
   conversions from low & med-res to monochrome use a sophisticated dithering

   Conversions  from  monochrome  allow  you the option of saving the picture
   using  the  full  palette  (best if you may want to restore the pic to its
   original  state  at  a  later  date)  or with the minimum possible palette
   (low-res conversions would use 5 colors, med-res 3).

   MacPaint  and  NVision/Paintworks monochrome page files are also allowed a
   fourth  res-save  option.   Compressed save allows you to 'squeeze' a full
   720-line MacPaint document or 800-line Paintworks pic into only 240 or 267
   med-res  lines,  thus  allowing  you  to view more of the pic on screen at

   On  a  color  monitor,  you are allowed to 'Preview' the conversion before
   saving,  without  affecting  the  original  picture.  Hi-res previews will
   display the picture in PicSwitch's 'simulated monochrome' mode.

   Printouts  of  ANY  screen  or  full-page picture can now be done with the
   built-in  driver on most 8-pin graphics printers.  You can also load DEGAS
   printer drivers for printouts if you wish.

   Supported formats
   This version reads the following file formats:
        o  DEGAS................................. [.PI1-.PI3]
        o  DEGAS Elite compressed................ [.PC1-.PI3]*
        o  NeoChrome.................................. [.NEO]
        o  Tiny............................... [.TNY, .TN1-3]*
        o  NVision.................. [.SC0-2, .CL0-2, .PG0-2]
        o  Amiga IFF low- & med-res................... [.IFF]
        o  MacPaint................................... [.MAC]
        o  Mac Startup screen......................... [.MAS]
        o  CIS Vidtex hi-res RLE...................... [.RLE]
        o  Atari graphics 8 screen dump............... [.GR8]*
        o  Atari graphics 9 screen dump............... [.GR9]*
        o  Atari Koala/MicroIllustrator............... [.KOA]*
        o  Atari MicroPainter......................... [.MPT]*

   And writes the following ST file formats:
        o  DEGAS
        o  DEGAS Elite compressed*
        o  NeoChrome
        o  NeoChrome 'page' (for NVision)

   *New additions from 0.6

   Using the program
   To  load  a  picture  using  the  GEM  file  selector, double click on its
   filename  or  single-click  and  then  click  OK.   The file will load and
   display.   You  are  now  in  'command  mode'.  Following is a list of key
   commands available:

   For all pics...
    o  [Undo], right mouse button: aborts the pic and returns you to the file
    o  [Help]: displays the command list.
    o  [I]: displays the information screen.
    o  [S]: displays the save dialog (see below).
    o  [P]: prints the current pic in its original form (screen OR
            full-page).  [Undo] aborts a printout.  The default printer type
            is Epson/Atari dot matrix.  Other printers capable of 8-bit
            graphics can be configured using a ".PSW" driver as described
            further on.
    o  [D]: dumps a color or monochrome screen to the printer.  To use this
            option, you must have a DEGAS printer driver with a ".PRT"
            extender present in the directory the program is in when it is
            first run.  The [Alt] key works as in DEGAS, ie.[D] prints a full
            page sideways, [Alt-D] prints a half-page.  Pressing [Undo]
            during a print aborts the dump.

   For MacPaint/NVision pics only...
    o  left mouse button: activates a 'grabber' similar to Neochrome.
    o  [C] (monochrome pics / color system only): compress a monochrome page
            vertically.  This option converts 3 monochrome lines into 1
            med-res line.  Therefore a 720-line MacPaint document would
            reduce to a 240-line med-res scrollable image.  Pressing this a
            second time restores the original image.  Note this option is
            available in the save dialog on both monitors.

   For Amiga IFF pics only...
    o  [1]-[6]: selects the bit-planes to be displayed.
    o  [Space]: cycles through settings [1]-[6].
    o  [R],[G],[B]: boosts the selected color.
    o  [Return]: restores the default planes and colors.

   Low-res  32-color  pics  have  5  'planes'  or  5  bits  of color-register
   selection.   Keys 1-5 'pull out' one of the planes for display on the ST's
   4-plane hardware.

   Med-res  16-color  pics have 4 planes.  Keys 1-6 in med-res therefore need
   to pull out 2 planes at a time.  The following table summarizes the planes
   that are displayed.  The space bar cycles through each in turn.

        | key |   low   | med |
        |  1  | 1,2,3,4 | 2,3 |
        |  2  | 0,2,3,4 | 1,3 |
        |  3  | 0,1,3,4 | 1,2 |
        |  4  | 0,1,2,4 | 0,3 |
        |  5  | 0,1,2,3 | 0,2 |
        |  6  | ---na-- | 0,1 |

   Amiga's  hardware also allows 4-bit color resolution, or 16 levels each of
   red,  green,  and  blue.  Since the ST only has 3-bit resolution, each IFF
   RGB  color  palette entry is cut in half to bring it into the ST's range.
   The  R,G,B  keys  add  one to the IFF value before halving it.  This helps
   bring  out  some  of  the detail that may be lost if some of the registers
   convert to the same color.

   Other pics...
    o  [SPACE] (RLE & GR8 pics): invert the palette.
    o  [SPACE] (GR9 pics): select red/green/blue gray scale.

   The SAVE Dialog
   The  top  three  lines  in  the  dialog indicate the loaded picture's path
   (directory),  filename,  and  original  picture format.  You can choose to
   save in any format and resolution by selecting the desired buttons.

   If you are using a color monitor, you can Preview what the image will look
   like  in the selected format by clicking and holding the 'Preview' button.
   If  you're  running  a  monochrome  monitor, this button will be disabled;
   however, you can still save in any format on both monitors.

   For  mono  to  low-  and  med-res  conversions,  you  have  the  option of
   converting the pic using all 16 or 4 palette colors ("FULL"), or using the
   "MINIMUM" possible number of colors (5 low-res, 3 med-res).

   Once  you  have  selected the desired format, res, and palette set-up, you
   can  save the pic using the "SAVE --------.---" or "SAVE AS" buttons.  The
   SAVE  button  will  save  to the directory that the original pic came from
   (displayed on the top line of the dialog).  SAVE AS will bring up the file
   selector  so  that you can save to any drive/directory you like, or change
   the filename.  Note the save file selector's directory is always preserved
   and  saved separately from the load file selector, so that you can quickly
   convert many pics from one drive/directory to another.

   If  you  specify an extender in the file selector, it will be ignored, and
   the  proper  file extender for the specified pic format will automatically
   be  appended.   Selecting Cancel in the file selector will get you back to
   the Save dialog with no action taken.

   If  the  original  pic  had color cycling information, and you save to the
   same  resolution,  the cycling info will be preserved and saved in the new
   file.  Converting to/from DEGAS or Elite format will use animation channel

   Printer Drivers
   Printer  drivers  are loaded automatically when you first run the program.
   The  file  extenders  ".PRT"  and  ".PSW"  are searched for in the current
   directory  (this  allows  you  to  have all PicSwitch-related files in one
   folder if you like).  The first file of each type that was written to that
   directory  is  loaded.   A  PRT file is necessary to use the screen [D]ump
   command.   These  are  the  stand-alone  2K DEGAS printer drivers that are
   available  on  GEnie,  CIS,  Delphi,  and  other  systems.   A PSW file is
   necessary  to  use  the  [P]rint  command  only  if  you  do  NOT  have an
   Epson-compatible printer.

   The printer driver in the current version of PicSwitch only supports 8-pin
   graphics  and  960  dots  per  line  density.   PSW  files  are text files
   containing  the  decimal ascii codes necessary for setting up your printer
   for  graphics.  All PSW files must have three command lines separated by a
   single  carriage  return.   Only  the  ascii  characters  0-9, L, l, H, h,
   ,  ,  and  CR/LF  are  recognized;  all other characters are
   ignored.   Each  printer  code  must  be  separated  by  a  space or comma
   delimiter.  A maximum of 32 codes are allowed on each line.

   The  first  line  contains the decimal codes for initializing your printer
   for  graphics.  These codes are sent to the printer only once at the start
   of a graphics dump.  The second line is sent before every line of graphics
   and  tells  the printer how many columns of data are to follow.  The third
   and  final  line  is sent after the graphics dump is finished and restores
   the printer to normal operation.

   The following is a sample PSW file (this is the built-in EPSON default):
   27 51 23
   27 76 L H
   27 50

   The  1st  line:    "3" 23, tells the Epson to set the line spacing in
   216ths  of an inch increments, to 23/216 of an inch.  You could substitute
   any  line spacing command you like here.  I found this setting worked very
   well   in  getting  rid  of  the  dreaded  white  lines.   [Warning:  some
   "Epson-compatibles" do not support this escape code.  Consult your printer
   manual  if  you  have  problems.]   Note  that  24/216 or 8/72 is the more
   'correct' setting to use here since the Epson's pin spacing is 1/72".

   The 2nd line:  "L" L H, tells the Epson to print (L+256*H) columns of
   960  dots  per  line  graphics.  You need not be concerned with the actual
   'L'ow and 'H'igh values here, PicSwitch will substitute the correct values
   for  L  and  H  according to how long the actual line of picture data is.
   Just  make sure you put the L and H in the correct place for your printer.
   Note you MUST use 960 dots per line density.

   The  3rd line:  "2", tells the Epson to return to the original 1/6 of
   an  inch  line  spacing.  You could also use a 'reset' command here (
   "@" for the Epson) if you wish.

   A  form  feed  is  sent at the end of each completed printer dump.  If the
   printer is not available or a driver was not loaded, the console bell will

   All  printouts  done  with  either  [P]rint  or  [D]ump are printed in the
   ORIGINAL  picture's  resolution, not from screen memory.  This allows mono
   pics  to  be printed with no loss of resolution.  MacPaint/Paintworks pics
   cannot  be  printed  in  compressed mode unless you first save the file in
   compressed form, reload it, and then print it out.

   Remember,  the  [D]ump command is for screen dumps only, and only works if
   you  have  loaded a DEGAS printer driver at run-time.  If the picture is a
   full-page  MacPaint  or Paintworks image, the section of the pic currently
   displayed is what gets printed.

   Again,  many  thanks to everyone who took the time to write us, especially
   those who have contributed.  You will not be forgotten!

   Please  consider  the time it takes to develop and debug a utility such as
   this.   If  you  haven't  already  contributed, please honor the shareware
   policy and send your contribution, however small, to the address below.

   As always, I can be reached on GEnie [JAKOB], CIS [70376,1235], and Delphi
   [JAKOB],  or  you  can  write  me  at  the address below.  If you have any
   comments or ideas, I'd like to hear from you!

           John Brochu
           Advanced Software
           21 Northend Street
           Peabody, MA  01960

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