DN Staff

February 6, 1995

4 Min Read

Micrografx's Designer 4.1 Technical Edition (DTE) offers drawing, text handling, and image manipulation tools for technical illustrators, architects, and engineers. Designer's screen includes a fully customizable toolbox with 29 drawing tools and a floating color palette. The program lets you modify your workplace and page settings and save them as user profiles. With its Master Pages, you can create your own templates.

Symbol creation. Designer's drawing tools are categorized by entity complexity. Lines, ellipses, and rectangle primitives allow you to draw symbols of any shape and form. Designer classifies all objects as symbols and gives you unlimited freedom for their creation and placement. You can place symbols by specifying the target location with coordinates in a Cartesian or Polar coordinate system. When translating objects with layer information from other packages, Designer also assigns them in layers. The symbols can be separate entities or grouped ones for easy manipulation.


DESIGNER 4.1 TECHNICAL EDITION DESIGNER 4.1 TECHNICAL EDITION includes tools for drawing and translation from other packages, as well as presentation tools for quick sketches or intricate illustrations. Minimum requirements: An 80386 with 8M bytes of RAM, Windows 3.1, and 32M bytes hard drive space. A CD-ROM drive is required for additional tools. List Price $695MICROGRAFX INC., 1303 Arapaho Rd., Richardson, TX 75081; ph. (800) 676-3110.

The Connect-a-Draw feature lets you create symbols since the basic open drawing tools such as lines, arc etc. are connected without using snap points. For example, you can start with an arc and then select a line drawn at the end of the arc which continues as a curve. Editing tools let you modify individual or grouped symbols with amazing effects.

Special effects include warping, blending, masking, or applying gradients to your symbols. Alignment can be as complex as having symbols aligned to a certain path. You can choose any path made of lines, curves, or splines for the symbols or text to align to. For illustrations mixed with text, the text handling is done by creating a text block in a rectangular or arbitrary shape. You can resize or reshape the text container by moving the handles of the text block.

For color enhancement, you can use the Master palette or create an edited version. Custom palettes can be saved individually and used by other Micrografx applications. Designer also offers not only the typical hatching tool but also fills with bitmap (image) or other symbol entities. And the technical version of Designer has a tracing tool. Taking a bit mapped image and tracing its features, Designer can vectorize it, thus, modifying to a simpler symbol that can be saved and edited in a smaller size file.

Slide show. All the pages in your document can be displayed as thumbnail images and accessed one at a time. For on-screen presentations, some or all of these pages can be used as slides. Sixteen transition effects are included for a smoother transition from slide to slide.

Micrografx includes 40 import and export filters to satisfy users of illustrator and CAD programs. I tried both DXF and IGES with relatively good results, with the exception of some lost text and dimension attributes. The files had layer information which was also translated and retained in Designer's layer structure.

Importing bitmap images as BMP, TGA, PCX, JPG, or GIF formats and editing the unused portion can be real timesavers. There are also 1,300 vector-based or pixel-based ClipArt images that can be scaled and copied into your drawings.

Though it seems to be a plain bitmapped editor, Photomagic is actually a very versatile tool. Its Effects submenu, lets you make selections based on distortion, texture, and a 3-D effects list of filters. The outcome can be saved as wallpaper, or copied as a bitmapped file.

The technical edition of Designer is a must for users with a need for precise handling, intricate text capabilities, and the ability to import and export drawings to CAD packages for detailing or enhancement with special effects. Its value comes from the ease of use and a customizable workplace for increased productivity.

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