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ArtWorks 2.01 official release

By Chris Williams. Published: 16th May 2003, 10:49:48 | Permalink | Printable

Features and the future

After a successful show launch, MW Software has officially this morning sent word of the release of ArtWorks 2. ArtWorks is the established vector graphics package originally developed by Computer Concepts and now under the wing of MW Software.

"Released at this year's Wakefield Show, ArtWorks 2 is the first complete version of ArtWorks to be produced and published by MW Software", said Martin Wuerthner of MW Software today. "It is also the first version to run natively on Castle's XScale-powered Iyonix computer."

Billing their package as "the latest version of the most popular advanced vector graphics application for RISC OS", we're told today by Martin that the 32 bit compatible ArtWorks 2 features everything from ArtWorks 1.7 and the MasterWorks edition plus new features including !Draw-style selection boxes, the ability to quickly switch back to the previously used tool, various user interface updates and improved Drawfile import.

MW Software have rolled previously released modules and upgrades, once available separately, into a single package and of course, added the aforementioned new features to enhance the software further. ArtWorks 2 therefore possesses, amongst other expected features, three types of transparency, multi-column text areas, user definable pattern fills, bit map and SVG export. An example illustration, made using components in Artworks 2, can be found here, courtesy of Henk Huinen.

MW Software secured a licence to fully develop ArtWorks back in November last year, promising "drastic changes". Firstly, we see this wrapping up of all previous modules into one application as a simplification of the upgrade path for users. Secondly, we observe that the integration of said modules into what is now ArtWorks 2 represents a solid, singular application. Up and 'til they secured a licence to develop Artworks, MW Software worked mainly on developing these plugin modules, although now they are free to work on the ArtWorks "kernel" core.

This control over the ArtWorks core allows them to steer ArtWorks 2 in their own direction, specifically laying out the roadmap to Artworks 2.1. We're likely to see things like a skew tool, page rulers, improve graduated fill control appearing in the 2.1 release, scheduled for a mid-2003 release. Current ArtWorks 2 users are promised a free upgrade to version 2.1, when it's finished.

But is RISC OS still suitable for graphic designers? If there was ever an hourglass with its trickling sand counting down the time until our platform could no longer support its digital artists, the Iyonix and ArtWorks 2 combination has most probably over turned this metaphorical sand timer. Going by the show queues, is there renewed faith in graphic design on RISC OS?


Artworks 2 website (features, pricing, ordering etc.)

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Any chance of an Artworks Lite? I would like a vector package like Vantage or Artworks, but my skills do not justify 150+, maybe 80?

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 16/5/03 12:50PM
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DrawWorks? (This is really just a test DrawWorks? (This is really just a test DrawWorks? (This is really just a test DrawWorks? (This is really just a test DrawWorks? (This is really just a test DrawWorks? (This is really just a test DrawWorks? (This is really just a test DrawWorks? (This is really just a test DrawWorks? (This is really just a test

 is a RISC OS UserThe Doctor on 16/5/03 4:21PM
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Sigh! Failed misurably again. Sorry about that. Anyway, DrawWorks is one option and Vector is another. I don't think either come close to the abilities of either ArtWorks or Vantage though. Cheers!

 is a RISC OS UserThe Doctor on 16/5/03 4:24PM
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You're right, they don't, I'm looking in particular for anti-aliasing of vector paths, which AFAIK is only in Vantage or Artworks (on RISC OS anyway). Also alpha-blending of vectors/sprites very important. I also understand that Vantage has great font anti-aliasing, better than the standard RISC OS way.

I think lots of RISC OS software writers are missing out on lots of sales because they don't have low-end offerings. 100 is a big mental barrier when purchasing things.

I only want it for web graphics, so as far as I'm concerned they can leave out all the CMYK/spot colours and stuff, therefore making it not much good for the professionals.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 16/5/03 4:36PM
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Just screengrab something in Draw and shrink it in ChangeFSI to do anti-aliasing; it's good enough quality for web work.

Well, good enough for me, anyway ;)

 is a RISC OS Usermoss on 16/5/03 4:44PM
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For Web, try Xara X on the PC, from the [original] makers of ArtWorks.

-- #include "sig.h"

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 16/5/03 4:46PM
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moss: I thought that, but sometimes rather than anti-aliased, they just look blurry, also that would'nt help with the alpha-blending of vectors/text. I'm perfectly happy to spend around 80-100, but 150 is a lot for something that I would only use 10% of it's capability.

simo: I don't own a PC, and have no intention of buying one!

I remember back in the day, RISC OS software was cheaper than Mac/PC, it still is for a lot of things, but it would be great if Photodesk/OPro/Vantage/Artworks were available in 'LE' versions, it would get people buying software. Also why no demos of all these products (except OPro)? Are they scared once we've had a go we would not buy it?

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 16/5/03 5:03PM
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Maybe they are scared of people providing cracks. Rememeber the external AudioWorks app you could run to provide the save functionality in the demo version?

 is a RISC OS Userdanielbarron on 16/5/03 6:28PM
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Don't Cerilica do a titling app based on the Vantage engine specifically designed for web work? Maybe it's a little basic for your needs (I think it's sub 50 quid), but they're clearly thinking in that direction. Of course, the more different variants of a complex piece of (actively maintained) software you supply, the more of a configuration hell it becomes, so it's important that if you do have multiple variants you keep them to a minimum.

I can also recommend using Compo for web work which tackles the problem from a completely different perspective. I forget if it will anti-alias your drawfiles for you, though I have a suspicion that it might - you certainly get standard RO anti-aliasing on any text you use.

 is a RISC OS Userninja on 16/5/03 6:47PM
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"100 is a big mental barrier when purchasing things."

Only to home users I'd imagine, not to professions.

-- Dougal

 is a RISC OS UserDougal on 16/5/03 7:09PM
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Scale down with CFSI by a factor of either two or four and it'll look less blurry.

You might also want to check out David Pillings FontFix which turns AA on for drawfiles everywhere via AWViewer/AWRender. Draw and Paint 'Grab screen area' might be all you need then? Latest updates to the Iyonix system software include 'SpecialFX' which does something similar I gather (my upgrade pack has yet to make it to the back of beyond where I live... ;-)

ninja: Yes, it does (via a bit of a hack). see: www.compo.iconbar.com/compo/hints.htm Compo also lets you play about with transparency/alpha blending of draw & AW files and I think its pretty handy for web graphics...but then I'm biased! ;-)

Rob - Composition author.

 is a RISC OS Usersoutherner on 16/5/03 9:45PM
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You could use David Pilling free Image Printer driver - sPrinter.

You 'print' your image large to a sprite and then use CFSI to reduce it in size.

Works well.

 is a RISC OS Userquatermass on 16/5/03 10:40PM
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Cerilica's titling app is not what I'm after, but I'll look at fontfix.

I wouldn't have thought many people were pirating RO software these days, and anyway, I know loads of people who pirate big expensive PC/Mac apps but they would not have paid for them if the pirate was not available, so the vendor was not losing sales anyway (that's not a justification, I know).

The Compo demo lets you have a go of it but the overlay of graphics makes it unusuable for anything serious, which is a good demo.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 16/5/03 10:55PM
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thegman> Select 3 does alpha blending of bitmaps, even in Draw. Select also comes with SpecialFX giving you aliased vectors in Draw. Get Select. ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 16/5/03 11:27PM
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It really is nice to see Artworks still kicks some serious ass even these days :-) I remember seeing Gordon Taylor demoing (is that a realy word?) at an old Acorn Roadshow, I remain as impressed with it now (regardless of who develops it) - IMHO Artworks is still on top for 90% of everyday desktop use - now if only 90% of desktops used it :-)

Please keep up the good work - and CC did some other rather decent apps if you fancy it (and if they'll flog the licences reasonably) :-)

-- Ryan Hitch, Cottingham

 is a RISC OS Userdrjones69 on 17/5/03 2:25AM
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thegman: Producing a demo version in such a way that knowledgable persons cannot hack it and turn it into a full version is tricky and requires a lot of thought. It only takes one person to publish the hack and everything is lost. Still, it is a good point and I hope to be able to produce a demo version at some stage.

I am not that sure about a light version - keeping two variants of the software supported is a lot of additional overhead and it is not clear whether the additional sales outweigh this. Remember, taking out features is a lot of work, too. I would rather spend my time adding new features... -- Martin Wuerthner, MW Software

 is a RISC OS Userwuerthne on 18/5/03 1:44PM
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martin: Why not sell Artworks without the add-ons, I think you can get Artwork 1 from a dealer for about 80, which is a good price, but I'd rather give money to the developer (i.e. you) than buy overstock. This is in the same way I would not buy dead software from APDL, only software that is still being developed.

As for the hacking demo versions, I don't think that RISC OS users are like that these days. But I understand your fear.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 18/5/03 2:55PM
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Apparently certain software *has* been hacked recently. Like Martin says, it only takes one person to do it and then it's out there.

The price of ArtWorks 2 and Vantage are rather cheap by any standards, especially comapred to most good MacOS and Windows titles. -- Michael Stubbs, Leeds

 is a RISC OS Userarenaman on 18/5/03 3:24PM
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arenaman: I don't know what's been hacked, you're clearly more in the know about these things. ;-)

Yes they are both cheap by Mac/PC standards but I'm not sure if they are as good as those titles without having a go of either. Having said that I'm not sure if they are that cheap, the vector packages are but maybe not the bitmap packages, compare Photoshop Elements to Photodesk, about the same price I think.

I just thinks it's odd to expect someone to buy software for 150+ without being able to try it out first.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 18/5/03 9:13PM
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Vantage was being pirated - that's (partly) why we've had to wait so long for the new version. They have been putting in copy protection stuff.

As for price, both AW and V are *far* cheaper than Illustrator or Freehand. Photodesk is about the same price as Photoshop Elements IIRC, although they are rather different programs.

As Martin said, it's not easy to produce a good demo that's also secure. Perhaps a good way forward would be to allow trial purchases - but this is also hard to make secure. -- John Pettigrew, Cambridge

 is a RISC OS Userjohnpettigrew on 19/5/03 9:56AM
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I didn't know Vantage was being pirated, but would those who got pirate copies have paid for it if it were not available in a stolen version? If it's anything like other platforms, probably not. The only thing that people pirate, but *would* pay for is usually games, as they are cheaper than most software products.

I know they are a lot cheaper, but not sure if they are as good. Without a demo, who knows? You always hear that 'The GIMP' on UNIX is a 'photoshop killer', try both and it's obvious it isn't, it's just put about by Linux fans, the same could apply to RISC OS software, I know of a couple of products that are widely adored in Acornland, but IMHO don't compare to similar products on other platforms.

I totally appreciate that demos get hacked, but so do full versions. On the Mac/PC it's difficult to find a big product which does not have a demo available, and I think this helps sales.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 19/5/03 10:08AM
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Having recently been forced to use Illustrator for the first time, and having used Photoshop for a while, I can see why they are a lot more expensive than RISC OS/Linux 'equivalents'.

They just have so much more in them (certainly in respect to the day-to-day requirements, rather than the 'really cool to have, but when is it ever going to be used in real life' requirements). The only things that let them down are they keyboard shortcuts (although they are redefinable).

Although I've not used ArtWorks and PhotoDesk for a while (and never used Vantage), I feel that there is still some work to be done to make them to the same level as the more expensive rivals (although Martin Wuerthner's work is excellent).

The only reason why I'd prefer The GIMP over Photoshop is that The GIMP produces smaller JPEG files. Oh, and the office fileserver sucks when it comes to file permissions, so I'd prefer to use my FreeBSD box instead of 'doze.

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 19/5/03 5:08PM
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thegman: OK, it should not be that hard to release an ArtWorks 2 version without the major plug-ins (no transparency, no text areas, no SVG export, no pattern fills) with the option to buy them later. After all, this is what the plug-in system is for. Certainly easier than releasing a demo version... I will give it some more thought when I have cleared the AW2 orders backlog...

 is a RISC OS Userwuerthne on 20/5/03 9:09AM
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Martin:Thanks for the feedback, but I think maybe you should leave in transparency and SVG export, as this is standard fare on on other platforms (particularly transparency). Good luck with Artworks 2, anyway.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 20/5/03 10:05AM
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