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Software product and product sheet
NOTE: This page is a compilation of several pages as part of the product description in the 1990's.
I wrote the software and all the interfaces. I also did the screen captures you see below and the text and arrangement of the web pages.
Note: AutoScript is no longer available. Development and production were shut down in September 1998. For several years after you could still use a competing program for these and other functions, CAD Publisher. That now appears to be defunct. See the box at the bottom of this page.
AutoScript® Product Sheet
AutoScript is a fancy file convertor which takes an AutoCad drawing file and produces a PostScript or an Encapsulated PostScript file from it. That output file is then suitable for use as an illustration either directly as a presentation piece or for pre-press use. It is used greatly in the screen printing industry, especially for control panels, printed circuit boards and membrane key pads.
AutoScript offers three very major advantages over AutoCad output - or any other file conversion program :
- A quick and consistent method of setting colors, fills, and line specs for a range of entities based on their color in AutoCad.
- Control over linewidths, fills over any closed entity, creation of any color and halftone-cell control for pre-press.
- The original AutoCad drawing is not messed with or changed. Output settings are saved in an AutoScript "config" file.
See These AutoScript Dialogs
Setting Color Definitions
AutoScript does not limit you to the 255 defined colors in AutoCad. You are able to create any number of colors simply by assigning proportions to each colorant for each color definition.
There are three main tabbed areas:
1 - The library is any of a set of FoxBase databases which provide sets of defined colors you can add to any current drawing.
2 - The Config is the set of colors specifically assigned to this particular drawing.
3 - Transfers is the panel which allows you to copy color definitions from the libraries to the config and to add colors from the config to any library.
This view of the Color-Edit dialog shows a radial-gradient color's main settings. In this example the color model is CMYK and so there are four color settings each for the base color and for the end color. When a line's color is picked in the tble view from a gradient color such as this the line is given the base color.
The "Save Changes" button is handiest when previewing changes in color. Any color changes are not saved to the config until you either click elsewhere on the list of colors or you hit the "Save Changes." Once you make a change to something the "Undo Changes" button becomes available.
This view of the Color-Edit dialog shows the same gradient color as above but with the halftone-settings panel open. You are able to control frequency, angle and dot pattern type as well as the flatness of many of the dot patterns. As you change frequency and angle they are illustrated in the drawing to the far right. The dot patterns available are also illustrated in the smaller drawing area to the right ot the "Dot Shape" pull down.
This is a LOT of control over dots within your output drawing. It is also probably the fastest and easiest way that I know of to have this kind of halftone control across your entire output.
Output Specifications for Lines
With AutoScript you can determine the shape of line endings and line corners. You may also set whether some open polylines will be treated as if they were closed as determined by how close the end points of the line are.
Here is where you control overall (global) line-draw settings. This also allows you to treat some polylines as if they are closed (so that they can be filled) even when they are not - using the Auto-Close feature.
This dialog is used to override the overall (global) line-control settings on a row-by-row basis. This dialog floats around above the table view (see above) and shows the settings for the current line in the table. Any changes you make in this dialog are made to the current row in the table.
Page Setup - Size and Scale
The Page Setup controls paper size and image scale as output from AutoScript. Scaling is based on which image boundary (extents, limits or AutoScript windows) is chosen in the main dialog.
This tells AutoScript what output paper size you want. There are a number of predefined sizes in the pull-down. Any other setting is considered a custom size.
Some people prefer that a certain number of units in their drawing equals a certain number of units on paper. This type of scaling is especially handy when setting a scale which is easily to measure on paper, such as mapping uses.
Font Substitution Table and Lookup
Both PostScript and Windows fonts are output based on their names. The means the AutoScript uses to get the right font names is a substitution based on the AutoCad style name. It is easier to spell any of many various standard (PostScript abbreviation) style names than it is to type in the actual font names.
Font names are related to AutoCad Style names. Styles in AutoCad are user names for memory structures which keep the names of screen fonts to use along with default size, angle, etc.
In AutoScript we use the style name as a key to tell us which PostScript font name to use. This is a substitution table.
The font settings dialog allows us to see all the styles used in the drawing along with the currently assigned font which will be used in the PS output for that style.
The Lookup Table allows us to re-assign the style to any font in the database (a FoxBase database).
AutoScript's version 6.0 for Windows includes a preview window to let you see what the PostScript output will look like. This preview also shows you one plate at a time for separations.
This is the Preview Window which allows you to see how the image will look when printed. The preview file menu also allows you to print this image as a bitmap (bmp) file
The previews below show a few changes in color definitions and color assignments.
Far Left: the color defintion for red was changed to a linear gradient and the color definition for yellow was changed to a radial gradient (yellow inside and red outside).
Middle: The yellow gradient was changed from radial to linear.
Far Right: Same color definitions but this time the circle is not stroked (notice the yellow line around the circle in the first two)
Print Dialog, Expert Options Dialog, Preferences Dialog
The Print dialog allows both Windows and PostScript output to file or printer.
Printer output to Either PostScript Printer or to Windows. The PS Printer option means that we send out own PostScript code - not the windows "kitchen sink" PS code. The AutoScript PS is faster and far more compact than the Windows PostScript code.
When sent to a printer the code is sent to a DOS LPT port. That means on a network the port needs to be captured to work.
Expert options allow so types of tweeking not otherwise available. The Inline PS tab allows a user to create a file with PostScript code which can then be included in the output file.
The Proof Scaling option allows a PostScript file to be sized for a final device (i.e. for large film) but to be sent to a device of a very different size for a proof to look at (i.e. a much smaller laser printer) and to have the drawing scale automatically to that differently sized printer.
This is the general preferences dialog. AutoScript can use either the colors in which entities were drawn in AutoCad or can use the rows on which entities were drawn in AutoCad as the way to organize, in order, entities for processing.
Batch Process Your Files
Batch processing in AutoScript version 6.0 has moved from actual use of batch files to output multiple files to the use of the current batch-processing dialog.
You can process DXF files by either loading them into the batch window or loading an AutoScript batch file into the window. This supports the same batch files used to run AutoScript Version 5.xx.
Each file listed for processing can have separate settings including different config files. Any setting that is changed when more than one file is selected in the list box changes that settings for all selected (highlighted) files.
The Timer option allows you to set the starting time for the batch process. This way you can start the processing long after you leave work and after other scheduled evening work, such as backups.