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==  Review: Transition V1.2      By: Jason Compton and Katherine Nelson  ==
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Transition has but one purpose in life-converting images from one format
to another.  A few bells and whistles have been thrown in along the way,
but the primary focus is getting from one .extension to another.

What options do you have?  Well, you go from incoming IFF (several
formats, but some less popular ones are unsupported, like SHAM and PCHG),
GIF, JPEG, PCX, PBM+, or BMP formats, and go out to the same.  The primary
loss is that you can't output IFF EHB (64 color) pictures.  Too bad.

The entire program runs from a single custom screen loaded with buttons
and string gadgets.  Input/output file, output file selection and scaling
options (scaling can be done to any aspect, or with aspect ratio preserved
to that of the original).  You can delete the input file immediately upon
completion (nice!), greyscale, select ordered or Floyd-Steinberg
dithering, or use an embossing algorithm to give the pictures a 3D
look...the closest parallel is to say that they look like imprints in grey
sand.

Before we go on, let's just take stock of what's above-everything works
fine, except the aspect ratio selector.  According to the manual, with
Preserve Aspect Ratio selected, only one of width or height needs to be
input, and the other will be automatically computed.  This doesn't
happen...if you don't input both dimensions, you wind up with a file of
size zero.  Oops.  At the same time, even if you select "Normal", you
still need to enter the values.  If you leave them both at zero, it will
load the input file before telling you...this area looks to need some
work.

If JPEG is your output poison, you can go with a "quality" selection
(100-0, progressively worse as you go) and a "smoothing" selection (to
counter the effects of lower quality), and an option to optimize output,
which quite honestly didn't seem to do much but take up time.  But, it's
all up to the pleasure of the person doing the transitioning...

Color correction is in place in the form of gamma level and brightness
controls.  They work as you would expect.

Batch processing is available if you're working on massive projects.  The
relevant buttons are below the color correction.

At the bottom of the screen is a progress bar, which is designed to show
you how far along your transition is.  We've never seen it updated more
than 4 times, though, in trials lasting up to 2 minutes on a 4000/040.
Often, the bar will jump from 44% to completion.  The "convert" button
lives here, as well as "About", "Work Dir" (conversion requires a
temporary directory.  Hard drive is suggested, as the conversions can use
large amounts of space before they're complete.  A very helpful table is
included in the manual to give you an idea.), and "Quit".  That rounds it
up.

Transition does the job it's supposed to, with acceptable speeds.  (A
couple of trial runs Katie did are listed below.)  Besides the
aforementioned negatives, the program could certainly do with a cancel
option once transitioning has begun, and the requester slider bars turn
black against a black background when you click on them.  Weird.  A
built-in option to immediately view your converted work would be
appreciated-as it is, you need to use another program to do so.

For the current going rate of US$30, though, it's tough to say no.  After
all, Transition will basically work on any Amiga, although based on the
repeated warnings against using it on a 68000 system, you can imagine the
horror of trying.

Trial runs on a 4000/040:

152K GIF:

    -> iff

         Floyd-Steinberg  - 1 minute, 45 sec
         No dither - 50 sec

         249k

         No dither is a little lighter than F-S.

    -> jpeg

         75% qual, 10% smooth - 30 sec
         100% qual, 0% smooth - 30 sec

         51k

         75/10 looks more realistic than 100/0 (barely)

    ->   256 color PCX

         30 sec

         193K

          Little longer than original GIF
         No other difference.

*** It should be noted that this is Transition V1.2.  V1.0 is found on the
Micro R+D CD-ROM Vol. 1, but incurs bugs fixed and misses some features,
such as Floyd-Steinberg for ILBM, requester path fixes, a stray Enforcer
hit, and recoded assembly.

Transition V1.2 distributed by:
Better Concepts, Inc.
10 Mandon Terrace
New City, NY  10956
914-639-5095 voice
914-634-7097 fax