"A Graphician's Tip Book - Part 2"
Shaithis / Psychic Monks, Immortal Coil
Ummm, I'm gonna start out this article by making a few "bug-fixes".
1. I was wrong about MCGA. It could display 320x200x256 or 640x480x2.
(Thanks to Rimbo for the info.)
2. Pale pink is low in saturation but high in intensity. Oops. That was
actually a mistake on my part. I knew what I meant, but I typed the
wrong thing... that's it... ;)
(Thanks to Samuel Marshall for that one.)
Alright. With that out of the way I'll continue. In the last article I
mentioned that we were going to jump right into Dpaint in this one. I lied.
I figured perhaps I'd do one more introductory article, this time dealing
with basic terms used by us "graphicians". Is that a real word? Oh well. :)
I realize that most of the people who aren't scrolling past this to get to
Trixter's article already know their terms, but in case there's anyone out
there who doesn't, this article is for you. [NOTE: There is no article by
Trixter in this issue.]
Anti-aliasing is a gift of the gods. It's what takes a decent picture and
makes it great. Quite simply, it is a subtle blending of the outer edges of
a form in relation to the forms around it. This gives said form a more
natural looking appearance, as opposed to the "Cut and Paste" look it might
otherwise have. It makes the form fit better.
Most 32-bit apps (Photoshop, Fractal Design Painter, etc.) will anti-alias
anything you are inserting or moving automatically. Some older programs,
such as Dpaint-paint, will not do this by themselves. Some ancient programs
will not do it at all. (Dpaint's anti-aliasing feature is not great,
however, and my next article will deal with a better method to use if you
want to anti-alias in 256 colors).
This is a feature that not all programs have. Some do, some don't. I'll
cover them briefly here, and then in more depth when I get to Photoshop
(which uses them very well).
Layers are separate sections within a picture that combine to create the
whole. Say you are thinking of inserting a font on top of the picture you
just created, but you are unsure if the font will look correct or not. Or
you know the font is right, but you are unsure what effect you want to add to
it. Simply create a second layer, put the font there, and it can now be
edited and altered without affecting the background you spent six hours
creating. The layers can then be compressed to a finished picture at your
This is not a program feature, but I want to discuss various techniques for a
moment. There are multiple kinds of shading as most demosceners know well
enough (Gouraud, Phong, etc.). In 256 color still art, I have found that
there are two types of shading that work the best. Imitating Gouraud shading
is relatively easy and creates a nice, clean effect (more on that in a later
article). "Bitmap" shading also looks very nice and involves gradually
lessening pixels of the first color overlapping the start of the second. (For
an example of this, see tigerkid.zip in /incoming/graphics/images).
This can be a program feature or it can be hand generated. Texture is what
determines whether your image looks like metal, glass, rock, Slime Mold Pus,
or whatever it is your image is supposed to look like. How you achieve this
texture is entirely up to you, but it is important that you achieve it
correctly. (Hint, there'll be a tip coming up for Dpaint involving the
creation of marble texture. It works VERY well).
This one is both important and unimportant depending on your use. How do I
save my work? Dpaint only gives you the choice of LBM or PCX. However, if
you are working in other programs, you may have the choice of GIF, JPG, TIF,
PIC, EPS, or many more. JPG, in general, provides the best compression. GIF
has some compression as well, but not as much as JPG. These two are the most
common WWW formats.
TIF, PIC, and EPS are printing formats. If you are creating extremely high
resolution, printable pictures, it is unwise to go with JPG or GIF because
printers and CMYK film outputs HATE them. PCX is usable, but TIF or EPS is
your best bet due to compatibility and quality of printing.
That wraps up this article, seeing as this line exceeds my space limit. :)
My next article will definitely begin on Dpaint and other 256 color image
editing programs. I'll see you then. Remember: if you have tips, questions,
comments, or error corrections, please feel free to contact me at the address
below. Until next I write...
go to part 3