Washington Apple Pi

A Community of Apple iPad, iPhone and Mac Users

August 1998 General Meeting Report

by Don Essick, Vice President, Macintosh

The dog days of August are upon us and about 80 of us braved the heat and humidity to attend this month's General Meeting. Those of you who weren't there missed a great demonstration of an exciting product. Best of all, for those attending, the vendor offered a $995 retail product for $99. Now aren't you sorry you weren't there?

Jeff Wismyer of Multi-Ad Services, Inc. visited this month to present Creator2. This program caused quite a buzz at the July MacWorld in New York. Traditionally used by newspapers to create advertising layouts, Creator2 has grown in features and power to rival the likes of QuarkXPress and Adobe PageMaker for doing general purpose page layout. Many tasks which require you to purchase extra tools or plug-ins for QuarkXPress or Adobe PageMaker can be done easily without leaving Creator2.

Jeff gave us just a little background on Multi-Ad Services, a 44 year old company which started out as a print-based services company and now is a full-service digital publishing firm which handles everything from software to images to printing services. MAS products are currently in use in nearly 60 percent of daily U.S. newspapers (including the Washington Post and Washington Times) and most Yellow Pages publishers.

Jeff launched immediately into the demonstration, as he had lots of features to cover. Creator2 is such a wide variety of tools and capabilities, I'm sure we didn't see them all. Creator2 is able to do such things as fit type into a box or other figure or conversely fit a box around your type. You can create "style models" which permits you to save combinations of character, paragraph and other element styles and apply them from a Style menu. You can convert any type to an outline and fill it with any pattern, texture or color you choose.

On the graphics side, you can drag and drop any object into your document or even drag a picture into another object and manipulate both objects as a single element. There is a full set of drawing tools including a starburst tool as well as Bezier drawing tools to manipulate objects. Once again, any object can be filled with a pattern, texture or color including multi-color gradients. Objects can be repeated with offset and scaling to create sophisticated and exciting effects.

Creator2 is fully AppleScript aware and comes with a variety of pre-written AppleScripts and you can write your own. They also have an Internet discussion group which features scripts written by users.

When opening a new document you come face to face with one of the most powerful features of Creator2. You can create multi-page documents and each page can be a unique size. The product comes with a large library of standard page sizes, or you can define your own. Jeff gave an example of a designer creating a product box. Specify one size for the front and back, one for the sides and another for the top and bottom. All 6 sides can be designed in the same session and saved in the same file. I don't think you can do that with QuarkXPress or Adobe PageMaker.

The interface of Creator2 seems to be an interesting amalgam of part-Adobe PageMaker, part QuarkXPress. Double-clicking on almost any element in your document brings up an object menu which you can use to manipulate your object in amazing ways. Simple tools allow you to quickly draw a rectangle, re-shape corners and apply color, texture or gradients all without constantly going to the menu bar or toolbar. If you goof, don't worry, you have access to "unlimited" undo and re-do capability (subject to memory limitations, of course).

Drawing tools include freehand, Bezier curves, polygons and circles. There is a customizable starburst tool which can be used to create lots of interesting shapes. You can convert text to outlines with a single click and then fill that text with pictures, gradients or just about anything you can drag and drop into the outline.

Creator2 can import images of just about all types into your document. Then you can surround it with one of hundreds of customizable borders. You can create a drop shadow with a single click and customize it by double clicking. Text automatically wraps around objects.

For the professional, you can prepare your document for printing using colors from Pantone, Focoltone, NAA or CMYK. Online and multimedia designers can use RGB. You can preview your separations by viewing the Cyan, Yellow, Magenta or Black plate in preview mode.

Creator2 does its text magic using QuickDraw GX technology. This allows you to modify font outlines, shadows and strokes and create custom ligatures and do other type manipulation magic which would be difficult or impossible otherwise. You can even spell check multiple languages in the same document. Dictionaries are available for Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish and U.K. and U.S. English.

An impressive feature list, to be sure and Jeff did a great job of demonstrating the features and power of the product. One of the most interesting features was the database publishing demo which used a script to fill an advertising layout from data contained in a FileMaker Pro database. It still blows my socks off after seeing it several times!

Jeff sold out both cases of product that he brought to the meeting, so he just might be amenable to selling you the product at the User Group discount. He can be reached at jwishmyer@multi-ad.com or (309) 690-5468. Identify yourself as a Pi member and give him your excuse for missing the meeting. You can also stop by the office and pick up a demo CD if you'd like to try before you buy. Please don't bother Beth with phone calls. Come by, say hello, and pick one up and make sure you thank Beth for the great job she does in running the madhouse office. My thanks also to Lorin, Lawrence and the other volunteers who helped to make the meeting happen.

The meeting schedule for the next few months is shown below:

Sept. 26, 1998
Myrmidon (Terry Morse)
Golive CyberStudio 3
Oct 17, 1998
Apple Computer
Nov 21, 1998
20th Anniversary Celebration
Dec 12, 1998
Garage Sale

Send meeting comments to: don.essick@tcs.wap.org.

Return to Pi Meeting Summary Index

Revised August 29, 1998 Lawrence I. Charters
Washington Apple Pi
URL: http://www.wap.org/