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Anyone Remember TrueSpectra?

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Anyone Remember TrueSpectra? Carl Brown 30 Aug 01:53
Carl Brown
2003-08-30 01:53:20 UTC (over 19 years ago)

Anyone Remember TrueSpectra?

"TrueSpectra Photo-Graphics" was the full name of the program.

I used it for years under OS/2, which was it's native platform. The interface was ahead of its time in some ways , and ahead of its users at times, but it used a very Gimp-like right click pop up menu for many functions.

One of the things that made it special was its ability to seamlessly mix raster and vector graphics. The resolution of the output was set as a property of the output, not the project. While working on a project, the screen view was, in TrueSpectra's words, "resolution independent". This gave it features like drag and drop resizing of bitmaps and text, essentially infinite zoom, and the ability to change the output resolution and size at will without mucking up the project files.

It also used layers, not only for elements, but also for filters. I could define an elliptical blur filter, for example, and it would automatically be assigned its own layer. Anything above it didn't get blurred, everything below it did. Then if I decided later to adjust the blur parameters or the size of the ellipse, I could do that, no problem. The down side to this is that screen renders started to take a while for complex projects. The upside is that just like any layered image format, the layers remain independently adjustable in the native file format. TSPG also only linked to the source bitmaps for a project, so the native files were very small. Of course that meant that you wanted to leave your image files where they were, because moving them would hide them from TSPG and break your project.

But back to the separation of drawing from rendering. Say for example that I was doing a label for a wine bottle. Next year, I'll want the same thing with as little as one digit in the date changed. TSPG would let me edit the source text object directly. I would only need to change the one character which needed to be changed. Any effects which were applied, from the font on up, (and if you were clever with it this could even include tough stuff like colored drop shadows), would all be automatically changed when the source text object was changed. Then if my printer had got better in the last year I could arbitrarily increase the rendered output resolution to match it, and the output would be rendered with the best possible quality.

What killed TSPG commercially was the unorthodox interface. There are some parts of it that are still a mystery to me.

I keep hearing rumors about SVG, and I think that a program that could simultaneously handle SVG and raster sources would be just about what I had with TSPG under OS/2 in 1996.

I'm just throwing this out for discussion. TSPG could do things that the Gimp can't. (To be fair, the same can be said vice versa.) I don't mean to single out the Gimp, I haven't seen anything else that can match some of the features. There may be some, but if there are, I haven't seen them. That's all I'm saying. I am not a Graphics Professional, and I quit using Windows in 1994.

What's the state of the art in mixed raster/vector graphics these days? Is the Gimp development moving in this direction?

-Carl Brown