Pencil Test 

In 1988 Apple’s Advanced Technology Graphics Group created a short filmed named Pencil Test to show off the capabilities of the Macintosh II:

The company published two support documents about the film.

Reading this documents is a little wild. The Macintosh II was a modular system, unlike Steve Jobs’ original all-in-one. Apple speaks to both sides of the closed/open coin, claiming they have the best of both worlds: integrated system software and factory hardware with the ability to accommodate modularity at the same time:

There are advantages and disadvantages both to the totally integrated systems and the open modular systems. Totally integrated system’s advantages include having hardware and software tied directly together and having one place to get support. Disadvantages include being locked into the one company’s point of view about how to do things, working only with their tools, and, often, being locked into that company’s software. An integrated solution on non-Macintosh systems is most likely pieced together from a variety of third-party products.

Open module systems offer one of the main advantages of Macintosh: integration. With the Macintosh consistency of user interface, different modules from different publishers have the familiar user interface. The best drawing program can be used with the best animation program while using the best video card.

What’s even more interesting is the company Apple is gunning for in these documents:

Amiga animation and Pencil Test do not compare well. The Amiga solution uses 256 colors/8 bits per pixel, while Pencil Test uses 16,800,000 colors or 24 bits per pixel. Doing the shading used in Pencil Test on an Amiga results in a palette of a few main colors with many shades of those few colors. Also, be aware that many of the video products for the Amiga work at a resolution of 320 x 200 pixels. This is a fairly low-resolution graphics when compared to the Macintosh solutions using a minimum of 640 x 480 pixels. Using a product like RGB/Videolink 1400A, it is feasible to use pixel counts as high as can be purchased; that is, 2048 x 1024, 1024 x 1024, and so on.

Of interest, the developers of the top Amiga animation products are in the process of moving their applications to the Macintosh II. Many have completed the move.

Big thanks to Brian, who emailed me about these kbase articles.