An M.F.A. for Art School Dropouts – Harvard Design Studio – Software Review – Evaluation
Joel T. Patz
Harvard Design Studio
9 9 9 9
V P E S
Requirements Win 95/98, of RAM, 20MB of hard disk space, CD-ROM
List Price $100
Publisher Software Publishing Corp., 800-215-6804,
CALLING HARVARD DESIGN Studio a graphics tool kit is an understatement. With the package’s Designer component, you can draw, illustrate, create GIF animations, and optimize photos. For the graphically challenged, Design Studio ships with 11 CD-ROMs packed with templates, graphics, fonts, and Web site art.
You’ll find help right from the start: The opening screen offers QuickTours, which give you an overview of the major components, and the help system is both extensive and easy to understand. Wizards helped us get a jump on creating posters, logos, certificates, greeting cards, ads, and animated GIFs; and using Designer to modify existing images was a cinch.
Animations are surprisingly easy to create. In addition to building an animation frame by frame, you can use preset animations from the Design Wizard, then modify the results–rearranging individual frames, cloning one frame onto another, controlling the animation’s speed, or using an “onion skin” feature to create smooth transitions between frames.
You’ll also find well-organized workspaces. A tabbed toolbar separates tools into logical groupings, keeping the wizards handy. You can apply dramatic gradient fill patterns, add text, and insert a wealth of predefined QuickShapes objects. Smart shapes include everything from circles and polygons to stars and arrows; you simply drag one to the workspace and change its properties using of one of four sliders along the object’s edges. For example, we easily changed the number of points on a star, as well as the length of its points.
Our biggest complaint: Harvard Design Studio offers such a rich set of graphics tools that it can be a true time-stealer. We lost track of time applying and previewing special effects. For the artistically challenged, that’s high praise.
HOME OFFICE COMPUTING’S product scores are weighted averages of 1- to 10-point ratings for: Value (30 percent of total), Performance (30 percent of total), Ease of Use (20 percent of total), and Suitability for Home Office Use (20 percent of total).
V = Value
P = Performance
E = Ease of Use
S = Suitability for Home Office Use
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