I bought an old ComputerEyes (get it?) digitizer and a bunch of cool software, namely UniSpec and the CyberPaint and CyberStudio series. In the late 80's, I was making computer animations and grabbing stuff off of video; see my Mighty Morphin' Grogon Page for the proof. The original ST had an RF out, so you could do the old Channel 3 game fest (a la the 2600) on the TV or dump your creations to VHS easily. I made some videos this way for my band, sam i am, and it was a lot cheaper than Amiga Toasterville. Admittedly, though, Toaster was a kick ass professional product and was broadcast quality. The Atari video out tended to be over saturated and sometimes a little wobbly, especially with European software (the old 50mhz/60mhz vid sync problem, though not as bad as PAL/NTSC). But what the hell! It had that cool Fisher-Price - Captain Midnight look and I still dig it.

Two programs that defy screen shots are Kozmic and TripATron. Trip was coded by the great Jeff Minter of Tempest and Robotron fame and was a psychedelic light synth that you could program and manipulate in realtime to music, video or whatever.

Trip1Kozmic 1

These shots are from Kozmic imagine them pulsing with pallate swapping action!

UniSpec had pretty cool effects for a 1987 paint program, and combined with some video grabs I could make some interesting stuff, IMHO. Really interesting was that you could grab any screen from the ST's memory, at any resolution, and then import those pixels into your picture. So any program that did something graphical on your screen could be part of a Unispec picture! CyberPaint was a 2D animation program, limited by RAM to the number of frames you could do (Remember how expensive hard drives were? 30 megs = $700?) CyberStudio was a 3D animation and rendering environment, and I have been able to port stuff via DXF conversion to the Mac and into StrataStudio.

Modigliani And MeEarth and Moon

Unispec composite and Cyberpaint animation. The left pic has video grabs from ComputerEyes of myself and a painting by Modigliani, plus sceen grabs from Molekuel, a German chemistry modeling program in 3D. For the animation, a pic of the earth's surface was mapped onto a sphere using CyberTexture, it was then moved around a bit in CyberStudio, and rendered and assembled into CyberPaint. Kool!

Limited by its palette of 512 colors and a 320x200 lo-res screen, the ST was not as tuned for graphics as the Amiga or the Mac II. The later incarnations of Atari's line, the Falcon and the TT, used 32 bit clean 68030 chips running at faster speeds, and so could handle more colors at higher rez and could also do some limited realtime video stuff. But for some real art, take a peek at my wife's page. She works with Painter and Photoshop on the Mac and with acrylics and watercolors in traditional media.