Welcome to the Picasso96 FAQ!
Note: newest entries first, to give you latest information first! If your
problem is not covered here, it's probably in the documentation...
Please read the documentation, too!
I own a PicassoII(+) and the Picasso drivers of some applications
do not work with Picasso96 but worked with the original software.
What is wrong?
Sorry, but some drivers for the old API are really buggy, e.g. the
ADPro Saver and Display modules. There is no way to make them work
properly as they did not even adhere to the original Picasso API.
I own a PicassoII and tried to use Picasso96 with it but Picasso96
refuses to find the board. The old software works. What's wrong?
Your PicassoII is probably configured for segmented mode. This mode
is not supported by Picasso96. You will have to change the appropriate
jumper. Note: if you run the showconfig tool from your workbench, the
PicassoII must show up as two devices with the product ids 11 and 12.
If it shows as id 13, it is configured for segmented mode.
I have strangely distorted images or text on my Merlin. What
can I do about it?
Try to set the "NoPlanar2ChunkyBlits=Yes" tool type in the monitor
driver icon. This should help.
What tool types are there to configure a Picasso96 board?
- SoftSprite: use software sprite emulation in all modes.
- BigSprite: double the size of the sprite (ECS sprite only)
- BorderBlank: force board to always (Yes) or never (No) display
a border, defaults to do the same as the system.
- DisplayChain: if set to "no" the Amiga or other boards will
never been shown by the board switch.
- IgnoreMask: if set to "yes", masked blits are treated like
unmasked ones for speed reasons.
- NoPlanar2ChunkyBlits: use CPU routines instead of on-board blitter
for that purpose. Might be faster in certain configurations.
- NoBlitter: if set to "yes" the on-board blitter will never be
used. Activate this only when absolutely necessary.
- BoardType: the type of the board to configure by this monitor
driver, e.g. "PicassoIV".
- SettingsFile: name (and path) of the settings file. Defaults
If you change the tool types you will have to reboot to get the
All other tool types are explicitly non-documented. Do not try
them or you might be in real problems. Do not even ask anyone what
they are for. They are only for our internal testing.
What Picasso96 ENV variables are there?
- ENV:Picasso96/AmigaVideo: if set to 31kHz, the Amiga will be
set to a MULTISCAN-like mode when Picasso96 screens are shown.
This is necessary if you want to have a high audio sampling
rate because the Amiga audio is coupled with the Display DMA.
Only set this if you do not have a 15kHz monitor like the A1084
attached to the Amiga video port.
- ENV:Picasso96/BlackSwitching: if set to "Yes", the display
will be set to black when screen switches involve a memory
transfer of the new screen to the board. This way it might
look better. Use it as you like it.
- ENV:Picasso96/DirectColorMask: if set ("Yes"), masked blits are
supported in HiColor and TrueColor, too, but this will slow
down operations like shell scrolling. Use only if absolutely
- ENV:Picasso96/DoNotUseMMU: if set ("Yes"), the MMU of 040 and
060 based systems will not be set up to mark the memory of
the graphics board as no-caching/non-serialized or no-caching/
imprecise. This might help on unstable systems but will cost
These environment variables can be changed any time and will take
All other environment variables are explicitly non-documented.
Do not try them or you might be in real problems. Do not even ask
anyone what they are for. They are only for our internal testing.
I think that something is not working for me. Who is the right one to mail
my report to?
First, are you really sure that it is a Picasso96 problem? Did you read
the documentation and you did not find enough information there?
Ok, if you are sure you want to write a mail, choose the appropriate
person to send it to:
I keep getting random crashes or currupted memory lists. What is wrong?
Do you use FastIPrefs or do you still use the original IPrefs? The
original IPrefs uses a far too small stack frame and gets in deep
trouble when used with the v43 picture.datatype supplied with
Picasso96. I suggest you switch to FastIPrefs and tell me if that
"cured" your problems.
ShapeShifter is awfully slow in High- and TrueColor modes, it seems
to use refresh modes. What can I do about it?
The Macintosh can only use direct display memory access when using
one of these modes:
All other modes are refresh modes! And no, we can't do anything
about it! Don't even bother to ask!
- "xy 15 bit RGB" or
- "xy 32 bit ARGB".
Since Picasso96 version 1.19 my mouse sprite is scrambled on the far
right portion of the screen. What can I do about it?
Since version 1.19, always 64 pixel hardware sprites are being used
which need more time to fetch the sprite data during horizontal
retrace. Please increment the horizontal total value of affected
modes and move the mode to the left until this effect no longer
Is there no way to get DPaint to work with non-planar Picasso96 modes?
All those who want to use DPaint with Picasso96 should use ModePro
and tell it to "force planar" screens.
I have problems getting a small mode like 320x200 to work with my
CyberVision 64. What can I do?
The default modes might be too small for your card. Try to increase
the horizontal and vertical totals by a few percent.
It aint much but why is my mosepointer's colors being somekind of
inverted when passing over colored areas of screens in almost any
That's a limitation of many VGA chips. They have only two real mouse
colors and one inverting "color". On the PC, normally only two colors
are needed so that's ok for them.
You'll have to paint yourself a two colored mouse sprite, switch to
software sprite or live with it. Sorry!
I have problems using IFF pictures with FastIPrefs, WBPattern or
Multiview. What can I do about it?
You can improve the situation by running CPUBlit. If you
want to use CPUBlit, put it in your Sys:S/Startup-
Sequence before the monitors are started. The
line must look like that: 'CPUBlit -a -b'.
I already have a settings file for CyberGraphX or the old Village
system which I want to use. What can I do?
The PicassoModeTNG by Olaf Barthels can load those settings.
Why do some screens not respond to DisplayBeep()?
Because Picasso96 currently does nothing when DisplayBeep()
is called for a Hi- or TrueColor screen. The reason is that on screens
that are not CLUT based, the standard way to do a DisplayBeep() does
not work. Some replacement will be implemented later.
Why do all my icons flicker when moved around on a Picasso96 screens?
With Picasso96 icons are not moved beamsyncronized. The icon is first
cleared out at its current position and then redrawn at the new
As a matter of fact, for a short amount of time the icon is not visible.
This causes the flicker unless it happens in the vertical blanking
period. Currently Picasso96 moves icons without waiting to be as fast
Why does PhotoGenics display only a strange black-and-white screen
when trying to open a HiColor screen?
That's because PhotoGenics incorrectly tries to open a screen with
depth=0... use a screen promotor and tell it to open with depth=16...
You can download some fixes for Photogenics from the Picasso96 home
I don't like the settings supplied with Picasso96 because they do not
use the bandwidth my monitor likes or I would like to get better modes.
What can I do?
There are two alternatives:
Use Picasso96Mode and either create new modes or alter the pixel
clock of the existing ones, test the modes, save and reboot.
Look at the Picasso96Settings web page
and look if there is one for you...
Why is it that I can not use TrueColor modes with the CyberVision64?
The cards supported by Picasso96 have different color formats:
Cards and their supported color formats
So, the CyberVision can not use 24 bit TrueColor modes but has 32 bit
modes with an (unused) alpha channel.
I defined my own display modes, but some of them seem to have problems
with the hardware sprite (of my Cirrus based board). It either disappears
at the right side of the display or there are some strange pixels when I
move the mouse sprite to the top of the screen.
The mode you created does not give the VGA chip enough time to fetch the
sprite data during horizontal retrace. You will have to increase the
horizontal totals by a few pixels and move the display to the left. You
can check this in the edit and test screens of Picasso96Mode, too.
Some of my pictures and images are not rendered correctly.
Maybe some of your datatypes might be incompatible. We currently have
tested and can advise the use of:
- Matthias Scheler's datatypes:
These can be found in the "util/dtype/PictDT43.lha" archive available on
Aminet. The GIF datatype must not be distributed anymore due to licence
problems with Unisys who own the patent for the algorithm!
- ilbm.datatype 43.5 (c) 1995-1996 by Matthias Scheler
- gif.datatype 43.12 (c) 1995-1996 by Matthias Scheler
- jfif.datatype 43.8 (c) 1995-1996 by Matthias Scheler
- Andreas Ralph Kleinert's datatypes:
These can be found in the "util/dtype" directory of Aminet. The GIF
datatype must not be distributed anymore due to licence problems
with Unisys who own the patent for the algorithm!
- akJFIF.datatype 43.24 (01.02.97)
- akPNG.datatype 43.15 (05.02.97)
- akSVG.datatype 43.14 (01.02.97)
- akGIF.datatype 43.7 (07.12.96)
The supplied v43 picture.datatype has a smaller revision number than the
CyberGraphX picture.datatype. Which one should I use with Picasso96?
The picture.datatype supplied with Picasso96 is completely different to
the one supplied with CyberGraphX. The Picasso96 picture.datatype works
with Picasso96 and CyberGraphX, but the CyberGraphX picture.datatype
works only with CyberGraphX. So, you will have to use the Picasso96
Why is it, that NewIcons icons are rendered incorrect when I
use the option RTG?
This mode is not compatible with Picasso96 before version 1.19.
Why is there no screen dragging with Picasso96?
Hmmm, the sad thing is: VGA chips do not have the features the Amiga
Copper offers. There are too many restrictions:
- you can do split screen, but you can only show two screens at the
- the screen width and RGB formats have to be the same, or it will
look very strange,
- if both screens are chunky they should use the same palette or it
- the base address of the second screen must be 0 (ZERO), i.e. when
this is not the case, then you will have to move the screen to
that position. But this interferes with the memory management of
Which programs are known not to work with Picasso96?
Currently, these seem to be:
- DPaintV crashes due to the fact that it manipulates the bitmap
itself, ignoring that the display might be on a chunky screen.
The only solution is to create or activate planar modes and use
DPaint with at most 16 colors.
- ImageFX (may lock up).
- VLab video capture board software will lock up if the "Monitor"
window is activated. All other aspects of VLab will work normally
if the "Monitor" window is not activated. (Tip from Gary Beeton)
Please tell me what to add... :-\
Will there be support for the Retina Z2?
Support for the Retina Z2 is being worked on by external programmers,
but there is nothing to test yet.
Do not send any mail asking about specific dates or beta
testing offerings, you will notice when the boards are supported!
How can I create new resolutions for Picasso96?
You'll have to use Picasso96Mode. Here is how:
- start Picasso96Mode,
- click on the top left gadget (the "New object" gadget) and you
will see a new object attached to your mouse sprite,
- drop this new object into the resolution list (lower left part
of the display), once the name of the object changed to "New
- change the resolution size to 640x400 or whatever you like,
- get another new object (see above), drop it in the modes list
(upper right part of the display),
- click "Test",
- if not satisfied, click "Edit" and change the mode (no, this was
never meant to be really easy... :-))
- if you want similar modes for Hi- and TrueColor, copy the mode you
just created and change the depth cycle, re-test and so on...
- save and reboot.
How can I copy resolutions or modes for Picasso96?
You'll have to use Picasso96Mode. Here is how:
- click on the list item you want to copy,
- move the mouse to the left or right while still pressing the
left mouse button (!!!). Don't be too slow or it won't work!
You should see an object attached to your mouse sprite,
- drop the object over the third of the top-left gadgets (the copy
gadget) and you'll see a copy of the object appear in the list
view where you took the first object.
How can I delete resolutions or modes for Picasso96?
You'll have to use Picasso96Mode. Here is how:
Picasso96Mode: how can I activate or deactivate a mode or resolution?
Double click the list entry.
Some of my old Village drivers are behaving strangely or crash. Why?
We really suggest that you get rid of them. The old Village API is a
pile of ... :-(
Please use the Picasso96 drivers or try the CyberGraphX ones!
Some (old) documentation says, KickStart 3.1 is needed for Picasso96. Why?
NEW FEATURE: from Picasso96 1.17 on, 3.0 is sufficient.
We have found the differences and added the necessary code to allow
full 3.0 compatibility.
How can I tell the version of Picasso96 I currently have?
In the root directory of the archive or disk you got is a file called
version. From a shell window, do
"version <path>Version" or simply "type"
this file. This file does not exists on the November 96 demo disk, but
on all later releases.
I installed Picasso96, but I don't get any screen modes.
The settings files which are currently supplied assume a PicassoIV
board. If you have another one, start Picasso96Mode, select the menu
"Attach setting to" and choose your board (should be the last line of
the menu. If your board does not appear, the monitor file has not
been started or is misconfigured (check tool types of
Why are screens with up to 16 colors so slow on fast Amigas?
Because on most cards, these screens are planar. If you want to speed
them up, disable the planar modes with Picasso96Mode.
Why is the scrolling speed of the Picasso II, Piccolo or Spectrum less
than under the old Picasso, CyberGraphX or EGS software?
This is because the Picasso96 software normally respects the rastport
and blit masks which requires multiple blits to be performed. If you
want to speed up blitting, add a tool type "IgnoreMask=Yes"
in your Devs:Monitors/PicassoII, Piccolo or
Spectrum icon. Be warned though that this mode may result in
If you want me to add other items, send
me suggestions. I would
prefer to get them "ready for cut'n'paste"... :-)
tabt, February 11th, 1997