Well this really is a bit of quality
hardware. Unlike other models I have seen available
for the 64 and other machines it is analogue.
Some manufacturers cheat by making their mice digital
and as a result they handle very badly indeed. Analogue
is cool and means that when you whizz the mouse across
your desk at great speed the pointer on the screen mimics
your speedy movements almost perfectly. An analogue
mouse not only comprehends direction but it can also
sense speed of movement. A digital mouse only senses
directions and as a result even the most artistic flourish
will produce not curves and twists but diagonals and
straight lines. The Euromax analogue mouse is a very
quality of construction is high indeed -- we took it
apart to find the main ball underneath the mouse to
be of plastic coated metal pushed against two potentiometers,
one for each axis. There's also a stabilizing wheel
to keep the ball's position constant. As well as the
actual roily mouse bits there's also a couple of fire
buttons on top of the animal. The 64 has quite good
analogue to digital converters in both joystick ports
so to use your new rodentoid add-on just slot it into
port two. That's all that can be said about the hardware
really as, after all, it's only a mouse and unless you
intend to prog your own software there's not a lot you
can really do with it. As with most hardware add-ons
it's the software that really counts.
by Gary Liddon
Liddon has chosen a subtle palette to underwrite the
strength of the containment dome (a feature sadly lacking
it seems from the real thing) and the sharp delineament
of the explosion. The added comic strip device of the
word BANG, clearly shows that this is not from the artist's
more mature period...
Cheese is an implementation of about the most
useful thing a mouse can be used for -- it's an art
package, working in the Commodore's high res multi-colour
mode. From here it's possible to have up to four colours
in any particular colour square chosen from the 64's
quite complete range of 16 hues. The whole package is
icon based and to see how 'user friendly' it is I used
the usual reviewers' acme standard test and decided
to ignore the instructions, plunging straight in instead.
Even though I've often regarded such 'easy peasy even
a cat could use it' claims for such packages as a bit
exaggerated, I found myself doodling away within a matter
of seconds after scrutinising the sensibly defined icons.
is a row of seven icons to the bottom left of the screen
and these are the command icons giving access to Cheese's
various abilities. These seven can be cycled through
the four different sets of commands, allowing you to
use all twenty-eight of the software's functions. Next
to this set of icons is a command box containing three
different piccies that coordinate the whole show. The
first is a mouse, and clicking on it cycles the command
icons through their four sets of seven commands. When
a command is selected a copy of the command icon is
placed over the mouse so you know where you are. In
the middle is a pattern icon; click your mouse over
this little doobrie and it cycles through the inbuilt
patterns that range from cross hatch to diagonals.
accessing a command such us fill, Cheese
uses the pattern selected as mask. Even though there
is a comprehensive selection of 30 different patterns
it's a shame that no pattern edit facility is supplied.
The third icon in this little sub-section is a cat and
when selected it 'scares away' the mouse's last operation.
Really just a cute way of performing an undo.
functions supplied by Cheese are quite comprehensive
but I'll start with easy ones. To select a function
just position the pointer over the required icon and
click the select key. All you have to do then is drag
the pointer onto the main screen and execute that function
to your heart's desire. The first command any end user
is bound to try out is the straightforward draw
one, as the first thing anyone does when given such
a piece of technology is try and scribble their signature
on screen. When the draw icon is selected, or any option
that needs to have a colour selected, the complete set
of Commodorian hues pop into view and one of them can
be chosen. Throughout operation of Cheese the
default colour is shown in the border. With ordinary
drawing there are three thickness of pencil that can
be chosen and if you want to draw like a three year
old then there is a thickness for you; the results bear
more than a passing resemblance to Berol crayons.
the next most fun to use are the box and ellipse
functions that perform exactly what their names imply.
With box just place the pointer at the start position
and hold down one of the mouse's buttons. Moving the
pointer from there draws a box with two opposite corners
defined by the pointer and the start position. Wiggle
the rodent around until a desired box is achieved and
then let go of the button to indelibly etch the image
onto canvas. Ellipse requires the bottom right quadrant
of the desired ellipse to be defined. It may sound a
little complex but it's really quite easy, just plonk
peter pointer in an appropriate place and then define
a box for the lower right hand side of the ellipse.
Letting go of select then puts Cheese into ellipse
drawing mode. There are two ways of using these most
handy facilities -- one is to have them just produce
a line outline of the required shape while the other
is to have a filled-in shape. The box or ellipse is
filled with the pattern selected as well so some very
pretty effects can be created.
goodies included are a very usable zoom mode
for close up pixel pounding, a symmetry selector that
allows operations to be copied across various axes on
the canvas, colour changing within a block, block move
and copy, line drawing and many others that should keep
even the most hardened digital Degas amazed for a fair
Dream House in the Country by Julian Rignall
his influence from the post Impressionists, this view
of an arboreal abode by Rignall has clear links to the
bravura drawing of the French master, Cezanne. The artist
has made good use of the strong crayon effect possible
and could well be the founder of a new school -- Barrattism.
Mouse and Cheese is the best package of this
sort I've seen to date, it's only real disadvantage
is the rather large price tag. If, however, a computer
artist you are, then after playing around with it I'm
sure you'd easily find a justification for the investment.
The hardware and software is of an excellent quality
and it's nice to see how much effort has gone into the
design of both, as it's often the case that adequate
hardware is let down by inadequate software backup.
Overall I must admit on this occasion to being surprised
by the value of a type of utility and hardware I've
oft considered as gimicky. Though undoubtedly pretty
and cute, Mouse and Cheese is also very workmanlike
and proves to be of infinite usefulness.
the Bear (Bare) by Gary Penn
we have here is a variation on the theme of 'Olympia'
by Manet (completed 1863 and exhibited in 1865, it caused
an immediate scandal and shocked the art world). Penn's
elegant line emphasises the sensuous pose of his model,
combining softness and strength by setting the figure
against an enigmatic background. One of the last and
most masterful of this artist's 'bear' period, the canvas
should fetch a fortune at Regent's Park Zoo.