Up until now, the best paint programs for the Amiga have allowed you to choose 32 colors from a palette of 4096 for your pictures. While 32 colors are more than any other home computer can handle, it's only natural to wish for more. Digi-Paint, a new paint program from NewTek, gives you almost unlimited freedom-all 4096 colors can be used on the screen at once.
Digi-Paint may be the first program that makes you feel as if you are actually painting. It's possible to make your pictures look like oil paintings, watercolor paintings, or chalk drawings. For the most adventurous artists, it's a whole new medium: painting with light. Jaggies-those stairstep squares that appear in other paint programs when you draw diagonal lines-disappear completely in Digi-Paint.
Digi-Paint works in the Amiga's hold-and-modify graphics mode. My hat is off to the author of the program, because it is a difficult mode in which to program. Each pixel can either be chosen from a palette of 16 colors, or retain the color of its neighbor to the left, only with the red, blue, or green value modified. For fast response in this unusual graphics mode, Digi-Paint is written entirely in machine language. According to the manual, it uses speed-optimized code to find the best color transition from pixel to pixel. I found Digi-Paint's algorithm to produce clear and clean pictures.
The default palette-which contains several grays, a blue, a red, a yellow, a green, and a couple of flesh tones-works very well with most pictures. If you like, you can alter the palette color-by-color. You might, for example, want to include a variety of blues, greens, and purples for an under-sea image.
There are two versions of the program. One lets you draw in medium resolution (320 x 200); the other, in high resolution (320 x 400). Although you may not be impressed by these numbers, the huge amount of colors available makes the apparent resolution much higher. This is similar to the way a color television works-although the resolution is not spectacularly high, the great number of colors available makes it easy to fake reality.
It does take a while to get used to having so many colors to choose from. When you first use the program you may find yourself getting bogged down in color selection: "Which blue is best?" Digi-Paint's dynamic color selection is a great help. You don't see all 4096 colors at once-only a fraction of them. By clicking on a color, you get a new group of colors close to the color you selected. After you get used to this system, you'll fly through reds, browns, yellows, greens, blues, and grays. If you would prefer to choose colors in a more conventional way, you can use the red, blue, and green sliders next to the dynamic color menus.
By Rhett Anderson