Friday, April 1, 2011

Welcome to Instant Artist!

The following information was too late to make it into documentation.

1. The Import dialog box does not automatically preview the file that you are inserting. You must press the Metafile Preview button in order to see the graphic itself. Keep in mind that the preview you're given is that of the metafile itself, and that the results of the import may differ. Some metafiles, although they can be previewed, are too complex for Instant Artist to handle.

2. When you import a graphic from another application, it is converted to Instant Artist's native .GFX format and stored in the file USER.GFX. Graphics stored in this file can be deleted from the Insert Graphic dialog box. If you wish to share your graphics with other Instant Artist users, then you will need to give them a copy of the graphic itself. This can best be done by taking the following steps:
a. Rename your USER.GFX file.
b. Launch Instant Artist for Windows.
c. Import the graphic(s) that you wish to share. This will create a new USER.GFX file which contains the graphics you just imported.
d. Exit Instant Artist, rename your new USER.GFX, and name your old one back.
You can then share those graphics with any other Instant Artist User (DOS or Windows).

3. Export will export the selected objects in their entirety. This includes any object partially or wholly on the desktop. This means that if you have an item that is being "cropped" by the edge of the page (like the dance floor in the sign "50's Dance"), it will be exported uncropped. To work around this, place white fills around the edges of your document to cover up any unwanted overflow.

4. Instant Artist does not use Adobe Type Manager to read your PostScript fonts. For Instant Artist to use your Type 1 fonts, be sure to choose the Set Directories command from the File menu and provide the correct information for "PSFonts". This also gives you the opportunity to turn off support for PostScript Fonts by changing your setting to a neutral directory.

5. An undocumented print option determines if you are going to print your document, a palette swatch, or an alignment test. The palette swatch is a printout of the color list presented in the Customize Colors dialog box (see Chapter 6). This will allow you to better see exactly what printed results you will receive when assigning different colors to your objects on screen.

6. At the bottom of the View menu is an undocumented command, Monochrome Defaults. Turning this on will cause Instant Artist to insert all items in monochrome. This also will affect any layouts loaded from the New... command. Since most printers on the market are monochrome, this helps you to tailor your document for that environment. This function does not restrict color usage.

7. In the Object menu are two Align commands: Align Horizontally and Align Vertically. These are available for groups of selected objects, and at first glance may appear to operate in reverse -- for example, selecting a group of objects and choosing Align Horizontally will line those objects in a column. What's important to remember is that "Horizonally" is the direction of the movement.

8. Arc Resizing: IA has a 180-degree limitation when resizing arcs. This means that if you have an arc sized close to 360 degrees, it will take two edits to make it less than 180 degrees (unless Resize Around Center is turned on).

9. The results of using the Complement command depend partially upon rotation. If the item chosen is rotated fewer than 22.5 degrees, then the new item will appear below the original (room permitting) at the same rotation as the original. This is handy for stacking text flashes on a sign or banner. If rotation is greater than 22.5 degrees, then the new item will be placed with its centerpoint over the original's centerpoint, and also be placed at the opposite rotation. This is especially handy in doing text circles. First, place the first half of the text circle, widening the arc out to around 180 degrees. Next, complement that arc. Finally, edit the text in the new arc to be the second half of the message. The Layout for Point Reyes Dance Studio (Sign, Event, Dancing) is a good example of this function in action.

Instant Artist for Windows uses many of the same files as the DOS version, including graphics and quotes. To save space on your hard drive, you may want to delete one set of these files and change your directory settings accordingly. IMPORTANT: If you keep both sets of files, DO NOT set your Graphics directory for one location and your Layout directory for the other. You would find the results....unpleasant the next time you launched Instant Artist for Windows. The problem, multiple listings of layout categories in the New... dialog box, is cosmetic, and does not affect your graphics or documents.

4. Instant Artist does not use Adobe Type Manager to read your PostScript f Arial stant Artist to use your Type 1 fonts, be sure to choose the Set Directories command from the File menu and provide


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