All artists have a begining, even when it comes to digital art. I still remember how I used to draw on my Commodore 64's screen (OK...it's an example...:D) with PEEKs and POKEs. Sure...I'm not an artist.
In the early days of IBM PCs, cryptic ASM code was needed to draw even simple graphics. Digital art was a tabu for paper artists, and was more a programmer's asset.
Things did change, and many paper artists made their first steps into computer art.
Deluxe Paint is one of the guides of these pioneers. And, for now, we'll have a look into Deluxe Paint II Enhanced (also known as 3.0), the IBM/PC version of an Amiga classic.
As you start Deluxe Paint, you will be asked to choose a screen mode. A variety is available, going up to 1024x768x256
The first thing you may notice is the odd placement of the toolbar, on the right side of the screen. As strange as it may seem, it was the way it was done at the time. Blame the UI designers, it's not quite the first time GUIs on IBMs get screwed up, but it shouldn't be much of an impediment. The rest of the page is covered by the actual page, the drawing board.
Deluxe Paint is a bitmap-drawing program, in the fashion of Adobe Photoshop. Although not as advanced, of course. I'd rather compare it with a seriously enhanced Microsoft Paint. It has support for basic shapes – rectangles, elipses and polygons.
Brushes are also supported. You may use custom brushes, and the effects you can achieve are often interesting, and sometimes even remind me of the first versions of Painter. Although not as customizable and natural, the quality is serious.
The program also supports colors. Quite a lot of them actually. You can use either 2, 4, 16, or 256-color mode, in a variety of screen resolutions. Yeah, I told you that already. What did impress me was the quality of gradients. I do remember how many people told me that gradients were often pretty slumpy when using other programs. Deluxe Paint offers you a very good, clear gradients. There is also support for a patterned backgrounds, using a sufficient range of pre-defined patterns.
Deluxe Paint can also save PCX, besides its own proprietary format. The speed is very good, it can run more than acceptably even on weaker systems. And it also makes a very good tool for those who still want to make games for DOS.
I've seen things that are actually true pieces of art created with this program. If you can still find a copy, it will make a very good afternoon's fun. At least to show you that you can make art even without a multi-thousand dollar computer.