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        REVIEW: XIPAINT 3.1 BY THOMAS DORN AND HERBERT BEILSCHMIDT
                              Jason Compton 
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When you add a graphics card to your system, or you want HAM manipulation
less esoteric than that of Deluxe Paint, you'll need a 24-bit paint
program.

XiPaint 3.1, the program included with the MacroSystem Retina boards, has
been ported to several (in fact, most) graphic card standards, including
the still-popular EGS and the "New Big Thing", CyberGraphics.  It even
supports HAM6, HAM8, and an AGA 256 color mode.

Pick the screen of your choice in the Prefs module, execute the program,
and you're off and running.  The main functions are arranged in a handful
of pull-down menus as well as a convenient toolbox of buttons for the most
useful paint and manipulation tools.  Painting is, of course, never as
simple as "painting" anymore, and such modes as smooth, shade, smooth,
cycle (my favorite, you can define a color range to cycle through, use the
polygon tool, and create a psychadelic delight), and work modes to alter
brightness, saturation, and color degree.  Layered painting is supported,
and full animation support is promised soon.

Not being a bona fide artist, the real question for me is-is XiPaint
comfortable to use?  Definitely.  Everything is handled in windows that
pop up as needed to set the various parameters, preferences, or settings.
Defining brushes and pens is clear to understand and easy to get done.
Managing multiple modes, or making subtle changes to what you're doing, is
no problem as long as you remember where you put the window, which may not
be a problem anyway in higher resolutions.  Importing pictures is no
problem, and the program uses its own thumbnail scheme for
frequently-accessed pictures (if desired). 

Perhaps the most significant feature to XiPaint is its manual.  While it
still has visible traces of having been translated into English, it is
very thorough, illuminating, and helpful when it comes to tutorial
sections.

There is also something to be said for a program with a sense of humor.
It is possible to get a requester that asks you if you wish to save your
current picture.  Your options are "Yes", "Maybe", and "No".  Selecting
Maybe generates a new requester saying, "Well, what do you want to do?"
-this time, limiting you to "Yes" and "No".  The button in the toolbox for
the Cycle preferences is an old-style (huge front wheel) bicycle.  Cute.

Back to the useful part, the program-stylistically, it is a clearly laid
out piece of software, with almost all of its features a click or two
away.  ARexx support is present.  Wacom tablet support is here.  Almost
every graphic card is supported-it even works correctly on the A2410 EGS.
The software, moreso than the manual, shows signs of an incomplete English
translation..."farben" and such pop up at will, and there are a number of
words that were clearly a single word in German, but should have been
spaced out for English...not a big deal, but something you notice after
using it for a time.

Virtual memory support is not built in, which is a bit of a shame for a
24-bit manipulation program, so you have either to economize your 24-bit
image usage or to come up with a VM (or real memory) solution to your
problems.

I am satisfied with XiPaint.  What I want it to do, it does.  What I can't
immediately figure out how to do, the manual is quick to point out.  A
more accomplished professional will doubtless find something incomplete
about it, but then again it IS an $80 package.  The heavy-duty image
manipulation is left up to the likes of ImageFX, which is not nearly as
strong of a paint program.  At the same time, while the HAM update is not
as fast as that of Photogenics, the support for high color resolutions on
non-Cybergraphics machines is better.  I would recommend XiPaint as a pure
paint program in a full image processing suite.

XiPaint is distributed by MacroSystem.  Contact a MacroSystem distributor
for details, or the author directly,

Thomas Dorn
tdorn@xipaint.co.at