Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Extra Added "Mactractions." (Macintosh Computers in Libraries) (Column)

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Extra Added "Mactractions." (Macintosh Computers in Libraries) (Column)

Article excerpt

Extra Added "Mactractions"

Sometimes, in the grip of nostalgia, older folks may think back to pre-television days when going to the movies was rather special. Along with the main feature (often double feature) came the assorted added attractions: a cartoon, news of the week, or a light-hearted short subject. Similarly, the "main feature" of certain computer applications may have lesser known, added attractions -- the frosting on the disk, so to speak. Concentrating on the mastery of word processing or image control, we overlook some programmer's little gift.


ImageStudio [TM] from Letraset is called a digital darkroom; with this application you control electronic images.(1) You can blur, sharpen, add highlights, and edit the graymap to vary brightness and contrast. Tools include air brushes, charcoal, and smear to simulate effects possible photographically. Then ImageStudio takes off lightheartedly with "pens" that draw stars, leaves, hearts, and sparkles. There's even a candy cane pen.

At the Jeffrey Star Library, ImageStudio is used in the preparation of graphics for newsletters, announcements, and brochures. But all work and no play would never do -- behind the scenes, the staff's morale is enhanced by the quick notes, birthday cards, and party invitations decoratively embellished with the goodies in its Pen and Custom menus.

Vacation Video Viewing

Reference librarian Nancy Morrow is inviting the staff to a showing of videotapes from her first cruise vacation. She kept her camcorder whirring on ship and on shore. For a graphic to announce her show, she opens ImageStudio and selects the paint brush from the tool palette. The brush is given a Pipe "pen" from the Pen menu and quickly shapes a graceful tree trunk with a tropical look.

Next Nancy clicks on the rubber stamp in the tool palette and adds the Leaf Pattern from the Custom menu. A dozen or so passes with this tool, and the tree is well foliaged. Figure 1 shows a screen display of ImageStudio with the tools on the panel on the left and the leaves being added to the tree. The rubber stamp has been circled for emphasis. The bright sun sparkle is simulated with the brush and the Hiliter pen from the Custom menu; a sandy beach is brushed in using the charcoal from the tool palette with an Airbrush 1 pen from the Custom menu. Nancy saves her completed graphic as a MacPaint file to place in her invitation for vacation video viewing.

One to Go for the Big Five-Oh

What can you do when you realize you forgot to get that special birthday card for your co-worker? Roger Finch, head of circulation, whips up a doggerel greeting: "Cheer up," says Fido, "forty-nine is merely seven in canine time." He needs an illustration to go with the verse. ImageStudio to the rescue.

Roger draws Fido's outline with the pencil from the tool palette after clicking the fourth point in the array of eight. (Sizes decrease from one-quarter inch to one pixel.) The harsh edges are softened with the water drop tool from the palette, and the finishing touches of eye, nose, mouth, and whiskers are "penciled" in with smaller points selected. Saved as a MacPaint [R] file, Fido will carry his simple sentiment. Figure 2 shows Fido almost ready to receive his birthday greeting. The water drop tool is in action along his back.

Tables and Calculations

Some "short subjects" have serious implications. Jane Ransome, library director at Jeffrey Star, is preparing a budget document for her president. She wishes to gauge Jeffrey Star expenditures against eleven other comparable libraries. She locates a table with these figures and asks her secretary, Lucy Clarke, to insert the table at an appropriate location in the text.

Lucy is using Microsoft [R] Word 4.0 to input Jane's document.(2) She could use the word processor to format the table, but she takes advantage of an extra added attraction in Word 4. …

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