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                          REVIEW: IMAGEMASTER R/T
                            By:  William Near 
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SOFTWARE:  Imagemaster R/t v1.60 (FPU)

MANUFACTURER:  Black Belt Systems

DESCRIPTION:  24bit graphics manipulation program

SYSTEM TESTED ON:  Amiga 2000 (Rev 4.4), ECS chip set, G-Force '030
                   accelerator @ 50 MHz., 2 MB CHIP + 8 MB FAST memory,
                   Quantum LPS270S hard drive with Trumpcard Professional
                   controller, Picasso II RTG (2 MB) graphics board,
                   Workbench 3.1

A FLEETING GLIMPSE: Let me start by saying that I was excited about
receiving Imagemaster R/t for review in Amiga Report magazine, but the
excitement soon turned into disappointment after installing the program on
my hard drive. 

     After the installation was complete I proceeded to run the Imagemaster
program.   The first try at doing so resulted in a hard crash of my entire
computer.  I promptly renamed my WBStartup drawer and user-startup script
thinking that some "renegade" program was causing the conflict with
Imagemaster.  Sorry, wrong answer!  Imagemaster continued to crash like a
747 encountering wind sheer.  The only things running on my machine at that
time were Workbench 3.1 and ARexx -- Imagemaster didn't care, it was bound
and determined to trash the entire system eight out of ten attempts to get
it up and running. 

     After fiddling with a few other things and unsuccessfully trying to
launch the program, I called Black Belt System's tech support number.  The
nice man there made a few suggestions, but none of them made much
difference.  I found out another interesting fact along the way.
Imagemaster only supports two graphics boards!  The FireCracker 24 and
OpalVision are the only two boards supported, neither of which I feel are
mainstream or current boards.  No Picasso II, Spectrum, or Retina board
support.   Correct me if I'm wrong, but what good is a 24bit image
manipulation program if it only has support for AGA, ECS, and two obscure
graphics boards? 

     I tried using Cybergraphics software with my Picasso and Imagemaster
-- no difference.  If I switched the Imagemaster software to one of the
NTSC 16 color screenmodes then it would run for a few minutes before
crashing.  I actually was able to play with the program for a few minutes
in 16 color modes, but what's the use?  That's like downloading a 2
megabyte file on a 28.8k modem at 2400 baud.  You aren't getting the full
benefit of the product if you are saddled with limitations which are
imposed on you by the manufacturer or for some other reason.

SUMMARY: Imagemaster R/t just might be the best 24bit image manipulation
program on the Amiga at its cost -- you couldn't prove it by this reviewer,
though.  Maybe it's some conflict with my hardware or a conflict with
Workbench 3.1.  I don't know.  I tried every reasonable method of getting
this program to run for any length of time, but it just wasn't going to
cooperate. 

     On a positive note, I liked the on-line manual and help facilities,
but a companion printed manual would have been a nice touch.  Also, support
for other mainstream graphics boards is a necessity for a program of this
type.

     I honestly cannot recommend buying this product; on the other hand, I
cannot recommend not buying it.  It may run flawlessly on your individual
setup or it may turn you red with anger.  Frankly, I just gave up after the
fiftieth crash.