Lasting Impressions: Bitstream Makeup Helps you look
by Alan Zisman (c) 1992. Originally published in Our Computer Player,
Even though you might not know it to look at the
typical printed output, software running under DOS has supported fancy
fonts for years. Before the scalable type managers (ATM and TrueType)
that came along with Windows 3.x, fonts on a PC meant Bitstream soft
fonts. DOS word processors of the late '80's, like Word Perfect and
MS-Word, and even Borland's Quattro-Pro spreadsheet came with a free
Bitstream Fontware font installer, and a sample font or two.
While many people did purchase and use these fonts,
laser printers were expensive and rare. And PC font technology meant
bit-mapped fonts. Seperate fonts for each size desired, for bold and
italic, for portrait and landscape printing. Many megs of hard drive
space (at a time when a 40 meg hard drive was considered reasonably
large) were required, and it seemed to take forever to generate and
install a range of font styles and sizes. As a result, Mac users used
lots of fonts. PC users mostly printed in Courier.
When Windows 3.0 brought in the possibility of
scalable fonts (one font for all sizes, portrait and landscape, screen
and printer), Bitstream tried to keep up, releasing FaceLift, to
its new Speedo font format. Although a perfectly fine product, it lost
the marketing battle to Adobe's Type Manager (ATM), while Hewlett
Packard released Intellifonts bundled with its newer LaserJet and
Deskjet printers, and Microsoft bundled TrueType support with its
Windows 3.1 update.
Scalable fonts are great, but once these fonts are
installed on a system, they can be used for much more than simply
displaying straight lines of text--- letters and words can be turned
into little works of art, into designs and logos. Microsoft has
a little utility, WordArt with the newest versions of Word for Windows
and Publisher, while high-priced illustration programs like Corel Draw
give users tremendous power to integrate type into designs.
Coming right up the middle is Bitstream's new program,
MakeUp, which they describe as "the most fun, easy-to-use, and powerful
program available for producing graphic creations with text and
MakeUp combines much more power than the simple WordArt, while being
much easier to use (and cheaper) than the high-end illustration
Opening MakeUp gives a page view, with another of
those tool bars, which seem to be in every new Windows program these
days, running along the top. At first glance, some of the icons seem
mysterious, but an hour or so running through the manual's tutorials,
and their uses will seem obvious.
Like AmiPro and many publishing programs, MakeUp works
with frames... make a text frame, select a font and type in some text
(only a line at a time). MakeUp supports Windows scalable fonts
installed with ATM, TrueType, or Bitstream's Speedo format for
and includes five fonts, which are shipped in all three of those
formats. Text is entered into a dialog box, appearing on your page when
you click Okay.
Once your text appears on screen, you can resize it,
rotate it (to any angle, accurate to 0.1 degree), or apply any of a
variety of special effects. You can curve your text to any of the 44
shapes included, or use the Bezier tools to create your own shape. You
can make the letters 3-D or embossed, and add colors, patterns, or a
range of gradient fills. (It supports up to 16.7 million colours, even
if your card and monitor can't display that many). You can wrap text
around a full or half circle. With a simple click, you can alter the
text's perspective, add shadows, or mask it, to create white text on a
MakeUp is not a full fledged draw program. It doesn't
let you draw complex shapes right on your page. You can, however, add
lines, boxes, circles, rectangles, polygons, and squares right from the
tool bar. Like all tools, these are easily configurable, with
Control-click bringing up a dialogue box. As well, you can import
clip-art onto your page in a wide range of bitmap and vector formats.
get you started, the program includes about 3 1/2 meg of clipart, along
with a built in viewer. And as a frivolous extra, when the program is
minimized, the icon winks at you!
As their quote suggests, the program is powerful, fun
and easy to use. My 11-year old daughter, Kate, quickly used it to
produce a series of fancy "Kate the Great" posters, complete with
colourful gradient fills. Even in black and white laser printouts, they
looked attractive and professional.
Unfortunately, the program still has some rough edges.
Screen redraw time was often slow on my 386-25, and the program had to
redraw often, after each dialogue box. Some of the dialogue box options
are 'hidden'... for instance, to get a new clipart library into the
viewer, a user must learn to look in the window's control menu. And I
may be jaded after reviewing Lotus SmartPic's 2000+ graphics, but the
173 graphics included seemed fairly uninteresting (maps of each US
state, but no other maps, for instance).
Worst of all, the program has problems relating to
other Windows programs, an almost fatal flaw in a program aiming to
create logos and designs for inclusion in other program's output.
will let you export its output in any of 16 bitmap or vector formats,
and in this way, your creation can be brought into most word
processing, desktop publishing, or graphics programs. It would be more
convenient, however, to be able to use the Window's clipboard, Dynamic
Data Exchange, or OLE features, and MakeUp claims to support these
This support isn't working right at this point,
however. BitStream technical support confirmed that it simply is not
possible to use the ClipBoard to copy and paste into AmiPro, for
example. Trying to use MakeUp to insert an OLE object into both AmiPro
and Microsoft Publisher caused MakeUp to crash without inserting the
object. Hopefully, version 1.1, which is being released as I write,
solve these problems.
MakeUp successfully takes a middle ground. It won't
let you create an entire drawing, like an illustration program. It also
won't cost you as much, or take anywhere near the time to learn or use.
It excels in letting you use text and simple shapes to produce
eye-catching designs. If you want to add logos and unusual headlines to
your posters, leaflets, advertisements, and other printed output, and
you are prepared to put up with a few version 1.0 rough edges, give it
Performance: 3 -- Slow screen redraws could cause frustration
Usability: 2 -- Problems with OLE and sometimes obscure icons and menu
structure lowered score
Manual: 4 -- Good division into tutorial and reference sections
Availability: 3 -- At all the usual outlets
Average: 3 -- A useful, though not perfect product
215 First Street
list price: $149(US)
street price: $129.99(CDN)
req: Windows 3.x, 2 meg+ memory, program requires 4
meg hard drive space, optional clipart requires 3.7 meg space.
(Note from the year 2003): The above
article was originally published in 1992, as a review. A decade and
later, I've gotten a series of emails from Bitstream fans hoping that I
could sell them a copy of this software or direct them to a place where
it is still available. While I have reviewed software since 1991, I am
not a vendor of r any products. I suggest to everyone looking for
of older software to check at eBay or at OldSoftware.com.If
on my Files webpages, you'll find links to a number of (mostly
freeware) downloadable software, some of which may be good replacements
for older programs.
-- AZ (September 15, 2003)