Introducing the “Welcome to Xojo” Bundle!

New to Xojo and looking for guidance? We've put together a terrific bundle to welcome you! Xojo Bundle

This bundle includes six back issues of the magazine -- all of year 20 in printed book and digital formats -- plus a one-year subscription (beginning with 21.1) so you'll be learning all about Xojo for the next year. It's the perfect way to get started programming with Xojo. And you save as much as $35 over the non-bundle price!

This offer is only available for a limited time as supplies are limited, so hurry today and order this special bundle before the offer goes away!

Article Preview

Buy Now

Issue 4.2



Issue: 4.2 (November/December 2005)
Author: Toby Rush
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 4,146
Starting Page Number: 8
Article Number: 4203
Related Web Link(s):


Full text of article...

Crescendo Software's Picture Play is billed as a compositor program; the program allows you to combine images created with other programs or devices and apply effects. The program works like a drawing program, in that each element of the image is treated as an object which retains its individuality. The similarity stops there, however: it lacks the capability to create items from scratch (with the exception of text), but it also adds some advanced filtering capabilities one would normally find in a bitmap image editing program.

The feature set feels a little bit limited, perhaps only because it requires externally created images to be useful at all. Once you bring in a few images, you can start playing with the various methods of manipulation available: the list starts with basic translucency and GIF-like transparency (where one color is selected to be transparent), and continues through various color-manipulation tools like contrast, hue, saturation and brightness.

In addition to the drawing window, the workspace includes an object palette, which contains a list of objects in the drawing (similar to Photoshop's Layer palette) as well as some import/export and layering controls. Translucency and tranparency of objects is controlled in the object palette; other manipulations are available from the Object Tools menu.

Where PicturePlay really shines, however, is in a few nicely-done interface elements. The sliders which control transparency and translucency are normal Aqua sliders, but are supplemented with a numeric value placed directly beneath the slider handle. To either side of the number are two arrow buttons which allow the user to increment and decrement the slider value. The drawbacks to these little devices are that the numeric value isn't updated while the slider is being changed (it displays the new value after the mouse button is released) and the arrow buttons will eventually move out from under the mouse after repeated clicking (which makes sense but is nonetheless annoying).

Better than the beefed-up sliders, however, are the rulers in the drawing area. When the user selects "Show Rulers" from the Window menu, something is missing: the rulers are completely devoid of tick-marks and numbers. Once the mouse is moved into the drawing area, however, the rulers leap to life; single tick-marks appear in the top and left ruler accompanied by the exact current coordinates of the mouse. The response is extremely quick; there is no lag as the mouse is frantically flung from one side of the window to the other.

The neat trick become eminently useful when an object is drug or resized; during the drag, mouse-placement tick-marks are replaced by tick-marks that show the borders of the item.

While PicturePlay lacks some more advanced filters and effects, and could use simple image creation utilities for adding lines or other shapes, the program is easy to use and boasts a few interface features that higher-end utilities lack. As the program continues to mature, we can expect it to become an indispensible tool.

End of article.