Collected infos for making Avi pictures

From Avi Drissman:

There are several ways you can build background picture books for Avi's Backdrop. You can use Newton Press, BookMaker, or Newt's Cape. Or you can set the background picture without having a book.

A few notes on the picture. If you're building for a MP2x00 or eMate 300, you should open your picture in a graphic-editing program such as Photoshop or GraphicConverter, reduce the color depth to 16 shades of gray, and resize it so it fits. If you intend the picture to be visible in both portrait and landscape orientation, you'll have to restrict its size to roughly 320 pixels horizontally by 240 pixels vertically. If you want to build a book for the MP1x0s, you'll need to go all the way down to black-and-white, and you'll need to aim for a size of about 240 pixels horizontally by 180 pixels vertically.

As for format, it is best to save the picture in PICT format (this format discussion is for the Mac only; I don't know what formats Newton Press for Windows likes). If you're making a picture for a MP1x0, you'll need to save the picture in PICT 1 format (which is black-and-white only).

Let's begin.

Newton Press

One of the simplest ways to make a background picture book is using Newton Press. Press is not known for stability or speed, but for the building of a picture book it works well. In addition, it's available for both PCs and Macs.

Run Newton Press, and create a new book. Add your desired picture. Then click the "Title" button on the toolbar to get the title window. You must click the "More Choices" button. Fill out the fields as appropriate, but the ISBN field must start with "A!:". No, not including the quotes. Now, save the book and download it to the Newton. It is now available for use by Avi's Backdrop.

One of the questions I get most often is that a book created by Newton Press does not appear in the picker. The answer almost always is that the picture must be the first thing in the book. Absolutely nothing may precede it. No carriage returns, words, or even spaces.

Background picture books created using Newton Press can be used with Avi's Backdrop v1.17 or later.

Book Maker

Book Maker is less easy to use than Press, but it works well enough. Book Maker works with Newton Toolkit (the programming environment for the Newton). They both are free. In these directions I assume that you have Book Maker properly installed. Book Maker depends on XTND translators, so make sure that you've got them installed properly. You also need a word processor that can save in a format that you have an XTND translator for (usually MacWrite II).

Run the word processor, and start a new blank document. At the top of the document, type the following (what's in gray), replacing the example information with information of your own. If a line is marked as optional, you may leave it out if it does not apply. Don't, however, leave a blank line.

Figure 1: The information needed for Book Maker
.title Indubitable Solutions Logo
.shortTitle IS Logo
.isbn A!:ISLogo:AviD
.author Avi Drissman
.publisher Indubitable Solutions
.copyright ©1998-9 Avi Drissman
.date January 9, 1999
<-- Your title. Required.
<-- A shorter title. Optional.
<-- The ISBN. Must start with "A!:" Required.
<-- The author. Optional.
<-- The publisher. Optional.
<-- The copyright. Optional.
<-- The date of publication. Optional.
<-- Required. We are trying to make a picture, yes?

On the line immediately following the .picture directive, insert the picture. Then save the document in a format that you have an XTND translator for. If you're not sure what format that should be, save the document in MacWrite II format. Now, in the Finder, drag the document icon on top of the Newton Book Maker program icon. Newton Book Maker will launch and open a window with a button labeled "Do It". Click the Do It button, and Book Maker will process your book. When it is finished, it will offer to save the resulting book info file with a ".f" extension (for example, if your word processing file was named "Logo book", Book Maker will offer to save "Logo book.f"). Save the book info file.

Now, run NTK, and create a new project. Name it appropriately. From the Project menu, select Add File... and select the .f file that you created to be added to the project. Now go to the Project menu, and select Project Settings. Click the Output Settings icon on the left. Under Output in the middle, make sure that Book is selected. On the right, under Application/Book, type in an appropriate name for your book in the top box, and a symbol for your book in the bottom. If you don't know what symbol to use, you can use your book's name as long as you keep it shorter than 15 letters. If you have a developer signature, it'd be a good idea to use it. Now click on the Package Settings icon on the left. In the Name box in the top middle, use the same symbol you used for Output settings. You may attach a copyright message to the package at this point. If you are familiar with NTK, you can create a custom book icon if you wish, but it's probably not worth the trouble. Now click OK.

Now, from the Project menu, select Build Package. NTK will then proceed to build the background picture book for you. Enjoy.

Background picture books created using Newton Book Maker can be used with Avi's Backdrop v1.17 or later.

Newt's Cape

Newt's Cape is a very flexible and powerful program, and there are several ways to make it provide a background picture to Avi's Backdrop. Some of these examples require version 2.0 or higher of Newt's Cape; some don't.

Some ways of doing it:

None of the above methods actually create a book. If all you want to do is set the picture, you can follow one of the above set of directions, switch to Avi's Backdrop, go to Prefs, and set the background picture. On the other hand, if you want to save the picture for use later, or to share with a friend, you can go select File:Save as Package, which will create a book. That book can be beamed or mailed to others, or posted on the web.

Background picture books created using Newt's Cape can be used with Avi's Backdrop v1.25 or later.


Finally, you can use an image on the clipboard as a background picture—just open up the Prefs slip and drag it in. This only works on MP2x00s and eMate 300s. (I hope to extend compatibility to MP1x0s someday.)

For example, go to Notes, go to ink, and scribble. Then select the scribbles, and copy it to the clipboard. (It's important to copy it, because once you drag it into Avi's Backdrop, you can't drag it back out. Copy it by doing a tap and drag instead of just a drag.) Now go to Avi's Backdrop, select Prefs, and drag the scribbles into the Prefs slip. Close the Prefs.

Dragging images to the Prefs slip works with Avi's Backdrop v1.25 or later.

From Sean Luke:

For everyone who uses GraphicConverter: if you don't set things up right it will not do error-diffusion when converting to grayscale. It's an easy mistake to make. Here's the steps you should do:
  1. Scale your image first. This step should be before you convert to 16-bit grayscale.
  2. Do any other preprocessing and cleanup in color. Don't do it in gray.
  3. Turn on error-diffusion with Picture:Colors:Dither (important!)
  4. Convert the image directly to 16-bit grayscale with Picture:Colors:Grayscale:16 Grays
One last mention about thresholding vs. error diffusion.  If you're converting a pen-and-ink drawing or cartoon where there is no gradual change from color to color, like a South Park picture say, then you may want to use thresholding.  But if you're converting nearly anything else, especially photographs, oil or watercolor or airbrush art, etc., you definitely want error diffusion.

About screen sizes (from Steve Weyer):

Width x  Height
206 x 216
Newt's Cape
202 x 280
1-bit depth
240 x 302
1-bit depth
240 x 320
Newt's Cape
320 x 240
Newt's Cape
MP2000 Port.
298 x 388
4 bit depth
MP2000 Land.
414 x 276
4 bit depth
eMate Port.
302 x 436
4 bit depth
eMate Land.
464 x 282
4 bit depth
202 x 282
Newt's Cape(2.1d-2); Press

224 x 284
Newt's Cape(2.1d-2); Press

screen size
Newt's Cape
e.g., MP2K Port.=320 x 434; MP2K Land.=434 x 320
screen size
Newt's Cape
shift right by 4 pixels for buggy MP
screen size
Newt's Cape
smaller to avoid memory hang while online

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