Tuesday, July 12, 2005

the wordpad effect

after a bit more study, here is what is going on with the wordpad effect (as discussed in my previous entry).

the version of wordpad that ships with windows 2000 only supports 5 filetype options:
  1. Word for Windows 6.0
  2. Rich Text Format (RTF)
  3. Text Document
  4. Text Document - MS-DOS Format
  5. Unicode Text Format
(you can also open "Windows Write (*.wri)" files, but there's no option to save in that format.)

this could differ for various versions of windows, but i suspect it's largely the same (can't test on xp until i have spare time at home, which i probably won't tonight).

the default "save as" type is Text Document. so if you simply open a binary file in wordpad and resave it, seemingly doing nothing else and making no changes, what you are in fact doing is converting it into a plaintext TXT file, just one with a BMP file extension. (i can't determine what format it thinks the images are when you open them... i suspect RTF, or maybe DOC, because when you save it brings up a warning box that you will "strip out the formatting".)

so i decided to save multiple copies of the same BMP file and try to resave it in different formats using the "save as" function. so in each case, i opened the BMP in wordpad, selected "save as" from the "file" menu, and then chose a filetype to save. here are my results:

Word for Windows 6.0. renders file unreadable.

Rich Text Format (RTF)/ also renders file unreadable.

Text Document. this is the default, and the results i got appear to be identical to what dj empirical got when he did the same thing. so that's consistent.

Text Document - MS-DOS Format. this is the only other option that didn't break the file altogether. the effect is much the same as with Text Document, only moreso:

Unicode Text Format. rendered the file unreadable.

so yeah, wordpad is very effective for adding that wavy look (the wordpad effect) to uncompressed images, such as BMP or TIF. but i don't recommend it for any other databending use, because it adds too much junk to the data during the file conversion process. you could probably get away with using if for audio databending, but it's just too rough for serious image databending. you might get better results using microsoft word. or some other text editor that's more powerful and better than wordpad, like textpad.

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