An Amiga Moment

Sssso apparently some folks on the Internet have declared today Amiga Day. It’s the birthday of Jay Miner, the guy who designed its graphics chips.

I wasn’t planning to do anything for it beyond snark about how the Amiga was ten years ahead of its time when it came out, then Commodore refused to do any R&D for the next twenty, but then Auntie Pixelante put up a font that she described as “evoking the feel of dumping cracked Amiga games”. And then I found myself in Illustrator, putting a fake copper-list through the text, and starting to warp and twist it in a manner seen on a lot of demo crew logos. While listening to Jarre.

cracked-by-collapsar!

The Amiga shaped one of the fundamental ways I approach color; I grew up using Deluxe Paint, which worked fairly directly with the Amiga’s thirty-two color palette entries. So I got used to a process of blocking out shapes, then fiddling with the color sliders to get just the right look – and possibly fiddling with those sliders as one of the last few things done on a piece. Being able to reproduce that method with “global” color swatches is the reason I started using Illustrator when I shifted from Amiga to Mac; the infinite scalability was a nice perk, but I was really after that very selective power to change colors with very little effort.

  1. I never had an Amiga but I always wanted one, and still do, even though any given cellphone is powerful enough to emulate one fully now. I’ve been thinking of getting a CD32 or a CDTV or something, since then it can stay relatively out of the way in my home entertainment center.

    You can kinda-sorta do “global” color swatches in Photoshop or GIMP by working in indexed mode, but it’s nowhere near as flexible/powerful/fun as DeluxePaint was. I never used DP on the Amiga but the PC version was fantastic.

    I also loved Autodesk Animator which was very much like if DeluxePaint were made for the PC in the first place.

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