Focus Clip Art
Dave Bradforth takes a look at four recent clipart collections.
Back in the early 1990's, if you wanted clipart for RISC OS computers you pretty much had no choice but to buy from a RISC OS developer who had taken the time and effort to either draw their own new collection or had licensed from a Windows or Mac OS supplier and ported the items themselves into RISC OS format.
As time has progressed a number of conversion utilities have appeared. ImageFS, perhaps the best-known commercial product, allows you to natively load many foreign file formats; although it must be said it has difficulty with a number of WMF files it performs very well with the conversion of TIFFs, GIFs and other filetypes. A result is that it's now quite feasible to use PC clipart natively under RISC OS.
The 20,000 Photos collection offers unsurprisingly 20,000 photographic images (in JPEG format) covering everything from Alaska to architecture, sports to transport and much more besides - in fact there are over 65 categories split between two CD-ROMs. Every file we took the time to look at was of a high quality, there's very little in the way of space-fillers on this CD-ROM. The images are supplied as royalty free for personal use, which does mean that the disc cannot be used for the production of anything you'll make money from; this may be the only downside to an otherwise faultless product the entire content of which is natively understood by RISC OS.
5,000 CARTOON CLIPART IMAGES.
Next up, the 5,000 Cartoon Clipart Images collection features... erm... 5,000 Cartoon Clipart Images. Supplied in WMF format, the style is very similar to some of the early Disney or Hannah-Barbera characters but they do lack definition. ImageFS refused point blank to understand the WMF files, but the conversion tools from Keith Sloan worked a treat. One issue I noticed was a great deal of repetition between this and the similarly-titled product from Greenstreet, so if you do own the Greenstreet offering you may not require this product. In all a good offering and a worthy addition to your clipart collection, but it does require work to be of use.
25,000 ANIMATED WEB GRAPHICS.
In an age where web designers use FlashMX or LiveMotion 2 for their tricky web graphics, it's nice to go back to the days of animated gifs where people were pleased with the little tricks they could achieve. The 25,0000 animated web graphics collection provides just that - 25,000 animated web graphics covering a variety of subject areas. Use of the images is easy enough - just copy them to your hard disc, link them into a web page then upload them - and the images are all freely usable on the web as part of a web design. While there are a lot in the way of filler items on this disc, it's easily one of the most comprehensive collections of the type immediately accessible to RISC OS users and it's cheap. Recommended.
100,000 WEB GRAPHICS.
Finally the 100,000 web graphics collection includes... well... 100,000 web graphics. There are literally thousands of items covering a wide variety of subjects from useful clipart to just plain boring. Well... okay there are useful little clipart images for use in websites together with the usual range of arrows, letters for drop capitals and more besides. It's a nice all-in-one collection which fills a purpose but it's not very flashy while doing so.
So to sum up, these CDs are cheap, and rather more cheerful than you might initially think. However before rushing out and buying them you could do worse than have a look at this months competition, as we have three sets of each CD to give away to some lucky readers.