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Artworks 2, Iyonix first benchmarks

By Chris Williams. Published: 7th Apr 2003, 13:40:37 | Permalink | Printable

This is fast. Real fast. [Updated 21:06 7/4/2003]

Developers of top RISC OS vector graphics app Artworks 2, MW Software, have issued an exciting statement today regarding the development progress of Artworks 2 and its "stunning" rendering speed on the XScale powered Castle Iyonix. Artworks 2 is still on track for a mid-May release to coincide with the Wakefield 2003 show.

Taking Henk Huinen's "raindrop" composition as an example (pictured below) which was used on the cover of Acorn Publisher's June 2002 issue, the illustration renders reportedly more than five times faster in Artworks 2 on an Iyonix than in Artworks 2 on a Viewfinder fitted StrongARM RiscPC. Also, Artworks 2 on an Iyonix renders Henk's artwork three times faster than Artworks 1.7 running over Aemulor on an Iyonix.

We're talking a profound level of optimising here, squeezing the most out of the hardware. Up and till now, the Iyonix has seriously been craving an application to really take the new architecture by the horns and show us what it's made of.


Henk's illustration produced in Artworks [original]


"Henk's illustration requires more than 80,000 shapes to be rendered and makes heavy use of Crystal's transparency options", explains Martin of MW Software in the announcement sent to drobe.co.uk today. "It is undoubtedly one of the most complex ArtWorks illustrations ever created."

Crystal is one of the most advanced plugins for Artworks produced by MW Software, bringing transparency to RISC OS users. Along with variable control over the level of transparency, shapes and bitmaps can be used to bleach other objects or alternatively applied as a stained glass overlay or simply mixed in.

Impact
This news comes in the wake of confirmation that rival graphics software company Cerilica is in the process of scaling down, in the meanwhile Artworks fans are shuffling closer to the edge of their seats as Artworks is handed back the King of RISC OS graphics crown after it was briefly lent to Cerilica's Vantage. Artworks 2 development progress can be followed here in MW Software's online changelog.

Update
We had some questions for Martin Wuerthner of MW Software regarding Artworks 2 which he swiftly replied to however we'll first dwell on a minor correction we were sent by Martin.

In the article above, we implied that the developmental Artworks 2 is very much an optimised edition of Artworks 1 or at least will be. Martin stressed that this isn't the case, Artworks 2 simply hasn't been optimised yet. He also added, "The current state of ArtWorks 2 is a straightforward 32-bit conversion of ArtWorks 1.7 with a couple of bug fixes and a few minor new features."

Moving swiftly along to some questions, first up is how does Artworks 1.7 on a standard 2MB VRAM StrongARM RiscPC compare to Artworks 2 on an Iyonix? Martin doesn't believe this comparasion is fair because you're hardly likely to use an Iyonix in a desktop resolution that a seven year old RiscPC can manage.

"I want to show an ArtWorks user what he effectively gains from updating from the most popular current setup (StrongARM RiscPC, ViewFinder, ArtWorks 1.7) to Iyonix/ArtWorks2", Martin writes. "Therefore, I want to make a real world comparison: Rendering an illustration to 1280x1024x16M colours."

It should be noted that the five times speed increase mentioned at the start of this article is just a ball park figure and applies to Henk's complex Crystal-based graphic design - more Artworks benchmarking details and explanations can be found here. Next we put it to Martin that given that Cerilica seem to be winding down their Vantage work, will Artworks 2 try to fill the publishing-side of graphics that Vantage tried to master?

"Yes", was the reply, "there will be some new features to this effect, but I cannot mention any details right now."

Links

MW Software

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Discussion

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So, how does Artworks 1.7 on a standard 2MB VRAM RiscPC compare to Artworks 2 on an Iyonix? -- Spriteman.

 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 7/4/03 2:00PM
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The results are similar but slightly less drastic. The 5 times speed-up was at 1280x1024x16M. At 1024x768x32K, the Iyonix renders the file at 4 to 4.5 times the speed of a standard SARPC (no ViewFinder) - depending on whether you insist on having 32K colours on the Iyonix (only 4 times speed-up) or whether you "allow" the Iyonix to render in 16M colours which is faster (4.5 times speed-up). As an academic exercise, yes, we should compare at the same resolution. As a real world comparison, this is pointless. Why would you want to set your Iyonix to 32K colours? Just for the record: Rendering the file at 61% scaling to 1280x1024x16M on the Iyonix is still 4 times faster than rendering at 45% scaling to 1024x768x32K on a standard SARPC, so you get dramatically faster rendering AND higher resolution at the same time!

 is a RISC OS Userwuerthne on 7/4/03 7:00PM
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Martin: is an Artworks 2 demo version planned? The Iyonix speed-up sounds very impressive. -- Simon Wilson, Boulder, Colorado

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 7/4/03 7:40PM
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Simon: Let me finish the software first, then we can discuss issues like a demo version. At the moment, there are no definite plans.

 is a RISC OS Userwuerthne on 7/4/03 10:16PM
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Has drobe heard something about Vantage that the rest of us haven't? The statement that Vantage is being wound up seems odd, given the recent news from Cerilica that we can finally expect to see the updated version at the end of this month, followed by more updates, the rendering module and more. -- [link]

 is a RISC OS Userjohn-pettigrew on 8/4/03 1:42PM
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John: this is news to us. Email to Cerilica has gone unreplied. We'll try again.

Chris, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 8/4/03 2:18PM
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Winding down is not the same as winding up.

 is a RISC OS Userc-dub on 8/4/03 4:06PM
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