The Graphics Expander

for the Apple II series

by Eric Holroyd

(Reprinted from The Australian Apple Review June 1987)

A very useful enhancement program for owners of the Print Shop, the Graphics Expander comes complete with over 300 graphics on the disk, all of which can be used just as they are or modified to suit your requirements with the easy- to-use editing tools within the program. Owners of the Newsroom will be already familiar with these tools as the Graphics Expander also comes from Springboard Software in the U.S.A., and which uses all the same methods. Of course, you can also create your own original graphics for use in the Print Shop with the Graphics Expander

The screen display shows a number of "icons" (picture symbols) down the left hand side of the Work Area which, incidentally, is the same relative size as a Print Shop graphic so that you see it exactly as it'll print out via the Print Shop. To select a function you move the cursor to whichever one represents the feature you want to use next. Choices are as follows:

  • Load Graphics Expander graphics or Print Shop graphics
  • Flip graphics image from left to right for a mirror image
  • Select the Graphic Tools Workshop
  • Magnify a section of the image for fine editing
  • OOPS lets you erase your last modification to redo.
  • Garbage Can clears the screen
  • Disk icon allows disk functions

You may load either the Graphics Expander graphics from the disk or load in Print Shop graphics from either the Print Shop master disk or one of the library disks of Print Shop graphics for modification and once you've got the graphic the way you want it you use the Disk icon to get to the Save Menu. From here you can initialize (format) a data disk, if you haven't got one already, then save the graphic as a Print Shop graphic for future use when required. Of course, if you have the program in your collection which converts Print Shop graphics to Printmaster then you'd be able to use your new graphic in either that or Printmaster Plus.

The "flip" function is useful if you wish to make a graphic with two figures facing each other for instance. You'd load in the figure and position it as shown in the manual, then load it again and position the second one where you want it then use the flip function to mirror it. The example in the manual is a picture of a man walking the plank from left to right. He's shown that way and then flipped to show him walking the plank from right to left. A good idea which works very well.

Positioning is done with the handshaped cursor which you move around with either the joystick or the cursor keys. Once the hand is on the bit you want, you press the action button to select and pick it up to then place it where you want it. It's an easy system to work with and you can do "fine-tuning" of positioning by holding down the CTRL key and using the cursor keys for moving the graphic in very small steps for exact placement.

The Graphics Tools Window has features for drawing (or erasing) lines, circles and boxes with a variety of "pen" sizes. In addition, 10 different "fill" patterns are available to make your finished graphic interesting. As well as Serif, Large & Small Sans Serif and English. You may put text anywhere you like within the work area for captions or personalization and the example given in the manual is that of putting the person's name on the cake when working with the Birthday Cake graphic from Print Shop. A nice personal touch which would complete the birthday card you'd be printing out to send. Again, Printmaster and Printmaster Plus have similar card-printing features.

For really fine detail work, the Magnifying Glass allows you to work on a section of the picture with the actual picture being shown at the bottom of the screen. You change one dot at a time and the changes show up on the bottom display so that you can check your work. This is a nice editor and good effects are possible with it.

If you think that the last thing you did wasn't quite right then just go for OOPS and press the action button. Your last bit of work vanishes and you can start over. If you change your mind and want to keep it in, then press the OOPS action button again and it'll re-appear. If you think you've made a complete mess of the whole thing and want to erase the screen to start the whole job again then go to the Garbage Can. In order to safeguard against accidental erasure though, the action button needs to be pressed twice here for safety.

All in all, this is a very useful tool for users of the Print Shop and with a little effort you could build up a nice library of Print Shop graphics to further personalize your printouts. The graphics on the Graphics Expander disk are unmistakeably Springboard style and include Aliens, Bears, Beasts, Birds, Birthday, Cats, Dogs, Faces, Flags, Flowers, Frogs, History, Holiday, Kids, Men, Miscellaneous, Rabbits, Sports, Symbols, Trees, Vehicles, Women etc. and some very handy hints on creating posters, cards and signs are also included. You can have a lot of fun, and make some great graphics too, by combining Graphics Expander graphics with those from the Print Shop series. Printmaster graphics, converted to Print Shop format can also be mixed, matched and modified for your Graphically Expanded library.

Graphics Expander is available from good stockists for the Apple II series.

Review copy supplied by Dataflow as Computer Services Pty Ltd, 134 Barcom Avenue, Rushcutters Bay, NSW 2011. Phone (02) 331-6153.

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