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HarmWave
Reviewed by Kym "Ped" Sturdevant


This piece of software was recommended to me, for review, by PSPUG member Punky. I tried it out and had a lot of fun with it, although at first I had a tough time understanding what some of the functions did. In fact, version 1.4 was just released recently. I was amused to learn that the author of this program is a Delphi programmer... as I've managed to avoid that language in my tenure as a computer science major.

Description: HarmWave is a graphics application that can create seamless tiles for use as Windows wallpaper, or Web page backgrounds. It can also make web buttons & banners, or do photo re-touching. It has many filters and effects, and is only limited by your imagination and creativity.

Cost: It's totally free, no nag screens, no guilt, no nothing. Download it from http://www.softlookup.com/display.asp?id=4857 (304 KB)

Platforms:Windows 95/98 (I also got it to work on my NT 4.0 machine at work)

System:
Pentium
32MB of RAM memory
High or True color is required (setting of 800 x 600)

Installation: You download a .ZIP file, and then extract it into anyplace you want. The README.TXT file recommends that you unzip everything into a single folder, so that the help files will work correctly. I personally created a folder in my Image processing directory and put it there. It should be in a place that you can remember later.

Features:This software creates interesting textures in a variety of styles and sizes... with only a few button clicks. The default saving method is .JPG, but .BMP can also be used.

Features of the software:

  • Fill gradients: The default settings for this are Navy Blue to Aqua to Verticle Center. The color selection reminds me a bit of the color selection for PSP... and you can specify "custom" colors. Also there are eight different gradients
  • The Image Buffer: This lets you save any texture you like for later... very conveinent when doing multiple level textures.
  • Effects: This list is easy to browse to find the different kinds of effects available. The major categories are: Filters, Distortions, Color, Size/Aspect, and Draw.
  • The User manipulation area: When you choose an effect from the effect browser, you can change the settings of it here... similar to the Control Palette in PSP.
  • Image Resizing: This program comes with an excellent resizing function. It comes with the three standard desktop sizes (640x480, 800x600, 1024x768) programmed... and allows for a custom resizing. There are two resizing option, ReSize Smooth and ReSize Fast.
  • File Saving: As this program was designed mostly to make interesting textures for desktops and webpages, it saves the files in two formats, .JPG and .BMP. By default the images are saved as .JPG
  • Seamless testing: To make sure that your image tiles well... this program will send it to the properties as temporary .BMP (much as web browsers do)... it helps you decide about the seamless-ness of each image you create.
  • Tools: The first four: Draw, Ellipse, Rectangle, and Line depend on the pen color (and Mode)
    The Paint can fills the image with the color chosen as the brush color.
    The Text tool makes you choose the color, style and color in its dialog box.
    The Selection tool lets you select only rectangular areas.
    The Eyedropper works the same as in PSP.
  • The Colors: The Check box "Fill Shape" lets you decide whether or not to fill your shape. A word of warning here, I figured out that the shape outlines with the pen color and fills in with the brush color. Pen Color: Seems to be the most used of the colors you choose on the front. Like the Gradient color box, I couldn't specify any Custom ones and keep them.
    Brush Color: Used for filling
    X and Y Coordinates: Like PSP the numbers here start at Zero.

There are many more features to this software, but these are the basics you'll need to know before you start using with this software. I would recommend that you just play around with the different deatures saving what you like and scrapping what you don't.

Ease of use: This program is a stand alone image editor, and as such I recommend that you simply play around with it yourself, learning it's ins and outs. Once you learn the basics it's easy to make a simply texture in the future.

Also this is actually easier to use if you have ever used a version of PSP earlier than 5.0x.

Problems: Actually my biggest problem was getting used to this simpler program. I've gotten so used to all the bells and whistles of PSP 5.01 that I actually had a tougher time figuring out just what the certain functions were.

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