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Posted By

Csabo
on 2017-01-06
16:05:24
 VDC Challenge!

VDC ChallengeThe first release of the new year comes from MMS: he's here with his new picture show called VDC Challenge. Some of you may remember this topic from the forum, or this preview picture, and this demo is now real! It's up to you to test the pictures and compare them to the C128 slideshow, then decide: who does it better? :-)

Posted By

Litwr
on 2017-01-06
22:54:20
 Re: VDC Challenge!

IMHO the quality of images is almost the same but C+4 images are slightly better.

Posted By

George
on 2017-01-06
16:14:14
 Re: VDC Challenge!

Fantastic!

Posted By

Mad
on 2017-01-06
23:49:47
 Re: VDC Challenge!

Fantastic images! The Pharaomask is out of this world it almost looks like truecolor!

Posted By

MMS
on 2017-01-07
02:07:08
 Re: VDC Challenge!

Thx guys!
Some personal expereince during the creation of this:
- I also found it funny, though the C128 VDC resolutions are up to 800x600, and the +4 verson give a similar experience despite it is only 320x200.
- The HFLI VS FLI question was also interesting. Though it provides more colors per attribute, the FLI half resolution (VS HFLI) sometimes made the picture much less enjoyable. The girl face in normal FLI looked terrible, eg. there were no details on the hair. I can say, the HIRES mode was really underestimated by me, it stepped a level up with FLI color handling. (but there are some fantastic artists making normal HIRES gfx, respect ) BTW a very similar Amiga picture made me start doing grafix of +4 back to 1989.
- I tried to keep the dithering low, as some people do not like it , it was kind of funny how the low color dithering made the picture look closer to the original, while at a certain point it turned into something too "computer taste".
- As I know there is no crossplatform +4 HFLI editor, it made the defective pixel correction pretty time consuming, but it was challenging, so enjoyed it
If I was lucky, then I could make it not detectable with dithering and color adjustment. When I had no luck, I modified the original picture with Irfanview, by adding motion blur or local color adjutment / editing on the original picture and restarted the conversion process.
- Still I do not master the Plus/4 palette. Would be great to have a raw palette.

Posted By

carrion
on 2017-01-07
09:39:59
 Re: VDC Challenge!

good job. the converted pics look really amazing - just checked it on real machine

my questions though:
- how did you fixed pixel corrections that you are talking about at the end of your post?
- did you recolored the pics for example in photoshop or gimp or Timantes?
- did you previously dithered (Floyd or something) in PS? Gimp?
- or did you convert from scaled 320x200 but true color pics?

Posted By

MMS
on 2017-01-08
02:06:33
 Re: VDC Challenge!

Thank you :-)

Only very few SW tools used, so it was a kind of "spartan approach."
Below I give some details, not only for the experts

-I used just Irfanview and MS Paint as PC tools. And certainly Istvan's converter.
-With Irfanview I scaled down the pictures to 640x400 or 960x600 and used the slower Lanczos filter to get a better result. Nemo picture was so good, it required no modifications at all.
-If the original JPG picture was too noisy, I reduced the variations in the picture it with the median filter with lowest setting. It generates more "planes" with the same color. But it greatly reduces over-dithered +4 pictures, as the small whitish dots force the converter to generate noise and strange colored pixels.
The effect of median filter is most visible on the Tuhankhamon picture.
-Last step: usually I reduced color depth,hoping that it will be close to the Plus/4 palette. I usually step down to 256, but if possible, try 64 colors only.

Then I checked it with the converter, if I could prevent the dithered background. T

Usually this was enough to have a good base for converter.

Then only the Dithering method, their parameters, and usually the saturation had to be finetuned.
For me Jarvis and Stucki provides the best results, I hate Bayer and disilike FloydSteinberg.

If I found bad pixels at really bad place, I stepped back to MS Paint, and made small correction with brush and rubber.
-In one case I made full background recolor (Parrot), because background was completely dithered and looked crap. So I removed with hand (on the edges of parrot pixel by pixel) the background in MS Paint, and recolored the whole background to a color seemed close to a Plus/4 color.
he third green (turquize?) was the right one. BTW I had a other very nice parrot with purple background, but two parrots would be just too much of them in one slideshow (I really like these cute little dinosaurs )
-The Girl eyes need to be corrected in the same way, as there was a big chaos inside (as in the real life, eheheh). The hair was also finetuned a little, and eliminated the bad pixels of the backgroundpixels by hand.
-Strange enough, but one of the most complex one was the Astronaut, although it is almost black and white. A lot of small colored dots appeared on the Moon. But the suit had red buttons and an americal flag I wanted to keep in color, and if I reduced saturation, they turned grey. So I made the picture outside of the astronaut real greyscale in Irfanview, and reduced the saturation only to that level the US flag still recognizable.

Pictures saved with the highest 9 compression leved, with M2 setting. This is well supported by the player module wrote by Istvan.
M2 is lossless compression and greatly reduces the size of saved pictures, and on 1551 they load really fast
(remark: at the time of my Conan Comic slideshow I did not use compression extensively (afraid that it will result quality loss, like JPG), that's why only very few pictures fit to the disk. With my current knowledge the Conan release would be with much better quality and much more pictures)

Posted By

George
on 2017-01-07
15:49:08
 Re: VDC Challenge!

Fantastique, Master of Convertris!

Posted By

MIRKOSOFT
on 2017-01-08
06:00:48
 Re: VDC Challenge!

Hi friends!

I'm 128er and see your work - pictures are nice, pretty nice...good work!
Like all of us know - Plussy has 121 colors, C128 16 for VIC-IIe and 16 for VDC.
Other side is resolution: 320x200 HiRes colored vs 640x720 colored, or even 800x600 monochrome.
I'm fascinated by Tutanchamon picture - where I can download source, or source of all? Want to compare colors vs resolution and attriute clash between Plussy and C128...

Miro

Posted By

MMS
on 2017-01-08
07:13:23
 Re: VDC Challenge!

Hi Miro,

Later today I will upload to imgur the original pictures, and you can play with them. (I will share the link)

But first I have to do some snow work outside, because "Winter is coming"

Posted By

George
on 2017-01-08
07:22:51
 Re: VDC Challenge!

Great choice of pictures. I like them all!

Posted By

MMS
on 2017-01-08
19:01:46
 Re: VDC Challenge!

I uploaded the originals (and some editied ones) to a new separated folder, so you can download and test them:

mmszoli.imgur.com

(BTW there were some pictures I was no happy with, so did not go into the final package:
Terminator, Tron, the Tower, Still life: they were just not good enough, so I skipped them)
Snow Leopard and Koala were nice, but finally they were not in the release, the same as the Commodore 128 Ad and Looney Toons too. I uploaded them too. Maybe you have more success with them )

Posted By

Litwr
on 2017-01-09
09:24:59
 Re: VDC Challenge!

I have made a list of 8 bit home computers which are the best with some feature.

  • Amstrad CPC - the best pixel based graphics
  • Amstrad PCW - the best CP/M computer
  • Amstrad PCW - the best text processor
  • BBC Micro and Commodore 128 VDC - the best speed of calculation with screen on
  • Commodore 64 - the best sound and graphics combined quality
  • Commodore +4/PAL - the best speed of calculation with screen off
  • Commodore +4 - the best quality of static graphics

So plus4 is champion for two qualities! BTW maybe somebody missed the related video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4sWBcjr--k? Atari 800 has 256 colors but I don't know good Atari pictures. Are there any Atari 800 good pictures somewhere?

Posted By

gerliczer
on 2017-01-09
10:39:55
 Re: VDC Challenge!

Are there any Atari 800 good pictures somewhere?

G14latarnik +4
Atari Vs Plus/4
And that's only the tip of the iceberg. Try to look for Atari demo parties like Silly Venture. There are two or three of them almost every year, AFAIK.

Posted By

Litwr
on 2017-01-09
12:13:41
 Re: VDC Challenge!

Thanks! I have just found a good site with Atari 800 pictures - https://demozoo.org/sceners/33060/. IMHO the pictures of VDC Challenge have better quality. I don't know why. Maybe Atari 800 has more limitations for its graphics...

Posted By

MMS
on 2017-01-09
13:48:42
 Re: VDC Challenge!

OFF
Hi Litwr,
"Amstrad CPC - the best pixel based graphics"

I suppose you refer here the CPC+ range 4096 color palette, as the original CPC palette of 27 fluorescent/bright colors are kind of funny... and no sprites too to extend it.
The 16 color per screen on resolution @160x200x16 not SO outstanding (well even with tricks you can have 27 on the screen, while on Plussy 121), though "no attributes" linear framebuffer is a nice part to able to program SW sprites.
320x200 with 4 colors was very well utilized with my fav SymbOS.
I agree the 640x200 is a nice feature of CPC for GUI and text editors with it's two colors, but then there is C128 VDC with same resolution, but with 16 colors.

(I counted here only the official modes, and no overscan and FLI)

BUT I think if we count really the best one, then we may refer only the CPC Plus range
It has huge 4096 palette, nice resolutions, linear framebuffer (no clash) and sprites.
C128 VDC was limited, the others had low palette(CPC) or lower resolution (SAM Coupe)

(eg. SAM Coupe seems a little more advanced than the basic CPC, as has similar linear frambuffer modes, just a little lower resolution (256x196x16), but with much bigger palette (128 colors, then 32000 after Kaleidoscope upgrade)).
C128 could offer not 2 but 16 colors in 640x200 resoltion, so it is better, then basic CPC machines.

ON
1) And we can see, what the proper faithful colors and rich palette can do with pictures
2) Most of those ATARI art are hand drawn, and I know by experience, what a huge job is
I know, that some of the referred ATARI GFX are already nicely converted to Plus/4, but I may challenge few of them too, like the Bruce, Christ or even the hardly recognizeable GnR :-D
(The Therion Slayer is something special, as it seesm not a real album art of the bands. (anyhow, I am not a big fan of Slayer gfxs and Therion arts have little confusing message)

Posted By

TMR
on 2017-01-09
12:47:20
 Re: VDC Challenge!

"I don't know why. Maybe Atari 800 has more limitations for its graphics."

The Atari 8-bit series don't have colour attribute RAM like the 264 or C64 so 160x192 bitmap graphics have four colours and character-based graphics have five with the extra one being selectable on a 4x8 pixel cell basis. The best results for hand drawn images in the past have come from a program called Graph2Font and a gallery of images is at http://g2f.atari8.info/gallery/

It's possible to go completely bonkers with colour changes for converted images though, have a look at http://atariage.com/forums/topic/200118-images-generated-by-rastaconverter/ (which goes through a convert/analyse pass hundreds of times to get a good result) and things start getting interesting around post 12.

You also only get 128 colours from these resolutions, the full 256 colour palette is limited to the 80x192 and 80x96 pixel GTIA-specific modes; one has nine user selectable colours, another has sixteen luminances but one hue and the third is sixteen hues at one luminance.

Posted By

MMS
on 2017-01-09
15:45:21
 Re: VDC Challenge!

wow, those generated Atari picture from Ilmenit are just fantastic.
Would be very hard to challenge them, but maybe worth a try
(the hand drawn ones are also nice, but just similar to the better C64 graphics)

As I read they need 10 or 100 millions (!) of evaluations to get such perfect result.
Modern PCs can do 4 thousand per second... So it take days from the PC to program to generate those quality pictures.

Posted By

George
on 2017-01-09
14:48:29
 Re: VDC Challenge!

Hi MMS,

i liked your picture-show so much, that you inspirated me and made me curious to give it a try with my conversion style, which is opposite to yours... no FLI, no dither, only Multicolor..here is my result:



The Asians say, copy from the master (MMS) is a way to honor him...

Greetings George

Posted By

MMS
on 2017-01-09
15:44:33
 Re: VDC Challenge!

Thanks, mate
You know I like your conversions. And this one look great too. A fantastic looking MC one.

The paths could different, but by passing them, we all gain experience and knowledge

Posted By

George
on 2017-01-09
16:13:00
 Re: VDC Challenge!

Thanks from my side too.
* You have 1st place at the Top 50 picture shows
* You had the 1st release in 2017
* You got a blog entry in my blog.

Enjoy your fame!

Posted By

Litwr
on 2017-01-11
01:54:10
 Re: VDC Challenge!

Enterprise 128 pictures - http://ep128.hu/Ep_Demo/Leiras/Enterprise_Slideshow_2.htm. Sorry, I don't know their limits: resolution, colors, ... They are beautiful. However IMHO +4 pictures have more saturation and with almost invisible pixels. I have to add that Enterprise 128 or Apple ][c+ are very rare computers. Amstrad CPC6128+ is a kind of legendary rarity so as MSX2+. So they are out of the competition (IMHO).

Posted By

George
on 2017-01-11
04:04:48
 Re: VDC Challenge!

The enterprise has far more graphic capabilities than our plus/4. (see Wikipedia)
The saturation and pixels, you mention above, are settings in the converter (Saturation, dithering,...). I think somebody with experience could get far better pics from this machine.
But i agree, they are beautiful.

Posted By

gerliczer
on 2017-01-11
05:11:54
 Re: VDC Challenge!

The latest version of ep128emu has a GUI for the graphics converter utility, so everybody can make such conversions easily.

Enterprise has a maximum horizontal resolution of 736 pixels in two colours mode. The horizontal resolution in 16 colours mode decreases to 184 pixels and it is 92 pixels in 256 colours mode. Two colours Spectum-like attribute mode can have 368 pixels in a raster line. Each raster line can have its own 8 independent colours and another 8 that is derived from the first 8 using a common value for the lower parts of the RGB components. However, it lacks attribute modes similar to Commodore machines as even the above mentioned attribute mode works with the palette colours. One frame can have up to ~276 active raster lines, or at least that is a kind of commonly used maximum value, AFAIK.

Posted By

MMS
on 2017-01-11
20:19:57
 Re: VDC Challenge!

Yeah, I really forgot that machine, though it was very famous in Hungary.

Yes, that machine could wipe the floor with plus/4, had native 256 color mode, but with little reduced resoluion.
320x256x16 linear is good as a basis, but the raster tricks and mixed mode were fully supported by the hw.
One of the better emulators for this machine was developed by IstvanV.

Hey. The EP pictures contains the same Astronaut as my slideshow. I vote for my Plussy version :-)
Update: I added EP128 version of the Astronaut for a while :-) and VDC Mania Parrot (though the Youtubevideo may not give the full resolution and colors, despite 720p video)

Posted By

Mad
on 2017-01-12
11:42:39
 Re: VDC Challenge!

George congrats for this multicolor conversion! It almost looks like perfect at a first view.

Posted By

George
on 2017-01-12
11:55:37
 Re: VDC Challenge!

Danke, Mr. Bauknecht. I am a great fan of your work.

Posted By

Litwr
on 2017-01-13
05:58:10
 Re: VDC Challenge!

There are several new graphic modes discovered for Amstrad CPC at 2016 - http://www.cpcwiki.eu/forum/applications/perfect-pix/. So it can challenge Plus4 superiority. I checked Perfect Pix manual and found that mode B0 is a kind of an easy trick. It just shows two pictures simultaneously. This is easy to implement with any computer but the proper converter required. Mode B1 is more tricky and it changes palette along raster lines. Plus4 may change 2 colors along raster line in the multicolor mode up to 14 times to get similar effect. But it is impossible for the bad lines. I can imagine an image without bad lines at all, with the fixed attributes. This gives 2 permanent colors and 2 changeable colors - 16 colors per a line. To write a converter to such format will be uneasy task. The advantage of this mode is in absence of interlace flicker. Mode R uses interlace so it can be realized with Plus4 too... IMHO fliconv makes about the same effects.

Posted By

MMS
on 2017-01-13
15:26:35
 Re: VDC Challenge!

nice

Posted By

MIRKOSOFT
on 2017-03-20
20:35:57
 Re: VDC Challenge!

Hi!

I was inspired by this challenge and created few images on my Commodore 128.
Really CRT looks better, but look at images or open D71 images in attached emulator and try to show - result is simple:
C128 won resolution
+4 won colors...
Here's link to download: http://www.mirkosoft.sk/c128.rar


Miro

Posted By

MMS
on 2017-03-21
13:37:51
 Re: VDC Challenge!



UPDATE
Today I downloaded VICE and donwloaded the files. Unfortunately I have some troubles.

I made thes setting to be 64K VDC, and seems to load the files (first I did not relaize that I should not enter the -B1, -C2, etc but finally worked it out) but I see only garbage on the screen.
64K parrot:


16K Parrot:


When I switch to 16K, I see the loaded picture, but certainly NOK due to incorrect VDC RAM size.
I went through the video settings, DirectX, Vsync, Revision#, Fullscreen with different resolutions etc but could not improve it. (I have a Radeon HD card)

Is there any setting in VICE I should keep in mind? Or should I use different emulator than VICE ?

Posted By

MIRKOSOFT
on 2017-03-21
18:19:18
 Re: VDC Challenge!

Wait!

VICE works not with VDC interlaced modes, even VDC handling is wrong - it's C64 based emulator.
Use emulator in archive - Z128K.jar
This is emulator at development stage, but even now features many never emulated functions. I mean this emulator will be later like for Plussy community YAPE is.
VICE cannot handle Plussy FLI - YAPE displays all corretly - again VICE is C64 based.
Miro

Posted By

MMS
on 2017-03-21
18:57:35
 Re: VDC Challenge!

Thanks!



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