Lo-Bit Drawing On a Macintosh

On January 19th 1996, Gary Winter (my father) decided to play around with the new family computer. He opened Claris Works 3.0 (later renamed AppleWorks) on the Macintosh Performa and began to draw.

Drawing in ClarisWorks 3.0 on a 1990s Macintosh Performa
File > Document Summary Info > Description: “Marscape”

The file was saved as “BOING”. It has lived on this computer’s hard drive for over 27 years. I thought it would be cool if I could make the image into a high-resolution print and gift it to my dad for Christmas last year.

Below is the original image in its actual resolution of 330 pixels wide by 306 pixels tall. It’s funny because on the original Performa, this looks quite large on the 15″ CRT monitor. However, on a modern high resolution screen it’s tiny and it’s not suitable for print.

Boing by Gary Winter

My goal was to print it on 8.5″ x 11″ high gloss photo paper and then frame it. This is not possible with the above image since it’s 330×306 and at 72 DPI. So I played around with “remastering” the image in Adobe Photoshop. I wanted to retain the “pixelated” look and did not want any anti-aliasing. I did touch up a pixel or two as there were some “imperfections” that probably occurred due to my dad not having a lot of computer mouse dexterity yet. Although, there were also some imperfections that I kept because I thought they made it feel more organic.

Here are the steps that I followed to achieve upscaling the above image from 330×306 to 2325×2156 while retaining the “lo-bit” style:

  1. Open the original image in Adobe Photoshop.
  2. In the “Image” menu, select “Image Size”.
  3. Change the “Resolution” to “300” Pixels/Inch.
  4. Check the “Resample” checkbox and select “Nearest Neighbor (hard edges)”.
  5. Set the “Width” to 8.5 inches or whatever you desire.
  6. Click “OK”.
  7. Move the image in to a new 8.5×11 inch document, or whatever you desire.

Simple!

I recommend zooming in to see the jagged “pixels” more precisely. There’s something satisfying about it. I’m not sure why. Perhaps I’m alone in that feeling though just because this work feels special to me.

Boing by Gary Winter in ClarisWorks 1996

I was very pleased with how this turned out so I sent it the proof to UPrinting. I’ve had success with them in the past and they’re very affordable. Unfortunately they had to convert the file from RGB to CMYK “for color accuracy”. I am sure there was good reason for this but the CMYK version does not represent the original 256-color palette that was used when creating this. The CMYK version looks less vibrant but otherwise it’s fine. And to be fair, on the old Macintosh Performa’s CRT monitor, the image does look a lot less vibrant more dull. Newer monitors, like the one you’re likely reading this article on, make the image look arguably too vibrant.

Please excuse the glare and reflection 🙁
It also appears as though it turned out a bit less red and a bit more orange. I imagine the conversion of RGB to CMYK caused this 🙁

Boing by Gary Winter printed and framed

It seems this style of drawing a vertically centered horizontal line and then creating a landscape was quite popular in the 1990s. For example, take this album cover by The Dismemberment Plan for the album titled “Emergency & I”:

The Dismemberment Plan - Emergency & I

The cover art and three other pieces adorning the album’s packaging were drawn digitally by Morrison on a personal computer at Water Music in the downtime between recording sessions. He claimed he was “just doodling” with no concept in mind when designing the artwork, and that other people in the studio had nonplussed or averse reactions to it.

via Wikipedia

Here’s another one I found for an upcoming tour flyer for a band called Shadow Show. So it seems that this style is still popular. I wonder if it has a name? Perhaps I’ll post more here as I find them.

Shadow Show tour flyer poster

2024-03-23 Update:
Everything above inspired a concert flyer that I made for a friend! Check it out.