SuperConvert 4, A Review
By: Rudy A. Guy
It was the late 1980's when I was first introduced to SuperConvert. I
believe that the first version was shareware and had a version number
of 2.1. It was a program that was ahead of its time. The conversion
of graphics from other computer systems to an Apple IIGS was unheard
of; heck unthinkable. Well, not to Jason Harper. Jason's SuperConvert
3.0 was perhaps the hottest software product of its day. Today, many
years after the last IIGS rolled off the assembly line, SuperConvert
is back. This time it's version 4. Gone is Jason Harper; in his place
is Ian Brumby. Back is one of the best graphic conversion programs
available for Apple IIGS users.
Ian Brumby and Seven Hills Software have put together a great graphics
conversion program for the remaining base of Apple IIGS users. How
big is this base? Who knows?! But, if you are one of the remaining
faithful, get out your VISA or MasterCard and place your order. This
latest incarnation of SuperConvert is at the head of its class in
conversions. While it's not perfect, it's darn close.
Ian has added many new format conversions including:
New Print Shop graphics
ThunderScan raw scan files
Springboard Publisher Works of Art format ComputerEyes GS raw data files
DreamGrafix SHR screens and 3200 color screens Windows BMP files
Venture Publisher IMG and GEM files
Portable Pixelmap files (PBM, PGM & PPM) Portable Network Graphics (PNG)
SGI Iris formats (SGI, BW, RGB & RGBA)
Improved PCX and MacPaint graphic files
Add to that a claimed 20% increase in the conversion speed of formats
that appeared in SuperConvert 3.0. Actually, that figure appears a
bit low. I tried converting 640 x 480 GIF files on both versions and
the conversion time on version 3.0 was 80 seconds. Version 4 did the
same conversion in 50 seconds. That's a 37.5% increase in speed.
(Note: I am using a 10 MHz ZipGS accelerator in my GS. Your times may
be different based upon your system configuration.)
Beside the new conversion formats available in SuperConvert 4, there
are also a few new save options available to the user. They include:
Improved save format for Finder icons
A hex data save format Icon resource save option for HyperCard GS PNG
Most Mac and PC graphic programs include filters for manipulating
graphic files. This is one feature that was either absent on Apple
graphics programs or next-to-impossible to use without the aid of a
computer guru. In SuperConvert 4, the filters are referred to as
special effects.î Whatever they are called, they work extremely
Emboss - Helps to create a 3-D effect in a near greyscale
Blur - Da! Would you believe that this option allows you to make an
image less sharp? In other words, it blurs the image.
Sharpen - Makes an image less blurry.
Solarize - According to Ian, this filter tries to achieve an effect
similar to that seen when exposing photographic film to light during
the development process. I always wondered what that was all about.
I expected the screen to turn bright yellow like the sun!
Find Edges - Detects edges of an image and highlights them. While
doing this SuperConvert turns the rest of the image black. Even on a
10MHz ZipGS, this takes a long time to complete. Start the process
and then go read War and Peace.
Increase Contrast - A no-brainer again! This option increases
contrast between colors in an image.
Decrease Contrast - Just the opposite of Increase Contrast.
Left over from the prior version of SuperConvert is the Histogram
equalization option. This filter attempts to balance out the
intensity of color values in the image.
The remap options of SuperConvert were always the hardest to master.
Graphic Mode selection was fairly easy; there are no changes there.
Nor are there changes with the palette or rendering options. It's the
Other Options that excited me. This is the area that aided in the
rescaling of the image. Trying to keep the height and width aspects
correct when rescaling a 640 x 480 image often proved cumbersome.
Now, there is an Auto Aspect Ratio option that makes rescaling images
a breeze. It's just too bad than Ian didn't add a Reduce to Screen
option like Prism has incorporated. Oh well, maybe that can be added
in a later version (if there is a later version).
A Monochrome menu option has been added for working with black and
white (Mac) images. Now, images remain in black and white unless
Finally, additional features have been added to the image window. A
toolbar appears after an image has been loaded and converted. It
provides control over the image type (true color, monochrome or
screen image), the zoom factor (view from 1/8 to 8 times the size of
the normal image) and the selection method. The latter option permits
selection of a portion of the existing image for further
manipulation. This area, according to the author, will be expanded in
the future. (Version 4.1?)
One confusing aspect of SuperConvert is the mention of Babelfish.
According to the help file, Babelfish is a tool that applications
use to import and export (load and save) date without knowing
anything about a particular data format. Babelfish is a Seven Hills
product. I give up! Who or what is using this format? If you select
the Babelfish load option you get an 'Unable to startup Bablefish'
error message. The same message shows up when using the save options.
Hmmm.... Why include an option that doesn't function?
Apple IIGS running GS/OS 5.0.2 and later At least 1MB of memory
One 3.5" disk drive
All GS/OS-compatible printers are supported
[Note: I would highly recommend greater than 1 meg or RAM, a hard
drive and an accelerator. If your system doesn't have these features
and if you are converting color GIF or JPG files; lay in a few good
video tapes to watch while the conversions take place.]
Here's contact information from Seven Hills from their website:
Fax: 904-575-2015, anytime
Phone: 904-575-0566, 9am-5pm ET, Monday through Friday
Mail: 1254 Ocala Road,
Tallahassee, FL 32304-1548
When ordering any product we need:
Your shipping address
Your area code and phone number (optional)
Your preferred email address if you have one
(optional) A list of the items you are ordering
Visa/Mastercard/Discover credit card orders can be placed by email,
fax, or regular mail. Be sure to include your card number and
expiration date. You may also call and leave a voice mail message
with the details of your order if our phone is busy. Just press "7"
when you hear the greeting to leave your message. However we receive
your order, we will fill it promptly.
We also accept personal checks and money orders by regular mail.
For all orders add $3.50 shipping and handling per order, not per
item (foreign shipping is charged at actual airmail cost, minimum of
$3.50, charged to a credit card unless otherwise arranged).
Florida residents add 7% tax.