Saturday, June 19, 2021

SuPer eXcellent graphics demo

Let's play!

Yep, I've been enjoying another doodle on my Atari ST and if you wanna see more of my work then click here for a laugh. Okay, this time I've been experimenting with SPX, a technology by Electronic Images, that magically stitches together several Spectrum 512 pics into a ginormous image displayed in scrollable overscan.

I've always loved the idea of the SPX format and remember buying several PD disks back in the day. Of course, most of the pictures were titillating girls or something of a fantasy theme. The potential of huge Spectrum 512 images, in overscan, was quite mind-blowing at the time. (ignore my capture, the scrolling is silky smooth).

SuPer eXcellent Graphics Demo can be downloaded off my Dropbox. Be warned, it's pretty big. In fact, too big to fit onto a real floppy as I got carried away and made lots of SPX images, so installation is intended for a hard drive or Ultrasatan. However, I have made a huge ".ST" image that should work as a good alternative for those using Hatari. Within my download, I've included the Atari ST programs used to create each SPX picture.

Perhaps you feel inspired to make your own SPX images? If so, I'd love to see whatever you guys managed to create!! Righto, I hope you enjoy my humble graphics demo? Let me know in the comments below...

Go, create!

Now, reading these instructions might appear dull and longwinded? Possibly far too much hassle if you're as lazy as me but don't worry because it's actually very easy to make your own SPX images. Have a bash:

- Those without any artistic skills, ahem, should download imaged off the internet!! Look for something large, possibly with a clean background and try to select something that uses a portrait ratio.

- Crop that large image into 320x199 segments. (a pixel line is lost due to a limitation of Spectrum 512). This cropping can be done on the ST or a PC/Mac (I used the freebie 'Preview' on my Mac).

- Once you have your image split into several segments, it's best to convert them into GIFs. Again, this can be done on the ST but is probably much quicker on the Mac/PC if I'm honest. Yowzers!

- Now copy all your new GIF files over to the Atari ST.

- Each GIF will need converting into Spectrum 512 format (.SPC) and the best program for that is 'GIF to Atari Spectrum 512 Picture Converter' by Steve Belczyk. A brilliant program and very fast too!

- Finally, each SPC file can now easily be imported into SPX Creator for both previewing and, well, creating. All your SPX pictures can be displayed using the dedicated viewer, 'SPX_V18D.PRG'

An example...

Check out this portrait image of Jason Voorhees split up into three segments. As you can see, I carved it into the relevant sections, which are converted to GIFs and imported into SPX Creator. A standard ST might take a few minutes to save this fantastic image but it's well worth it (don't worry, it's already on the disk!).

SuPer eXcellent Graphics Demo

Idea and creation were all me - Steve, Crypt Keeper, Strider, AtariCrypt, whatever you call me, it's my fault!

The Credits

Spectrum 512 - Boris Tsikanovsky.
SPX Creator/Viewer - Electronic Images (Gizmo + The Phantom).
Original images - Everything was freely sourced off the internet, appropriate credit to all.
AtariMania & Demozoo - two super Atari resources that I used for my dabble.

Programs Used

Preview - a freebie Mac program to resize and clip each image into 320x199 segments.
GIF2SPC - a wonderful Atari ST program by Steve Belczyk.
SPX Creator - the program that stitches together each of the GIF pictures into SPX images.


SuPer eXcellent Graphics Demo is the latest AtariCrypt production. Yes, there's more here << O_o
Electronic Images released a load of cool disks so check 'em out on Demozoo.
There are many SPX Slideshows although I remember more? I should research and build a collection!

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