Amiga Animations

Commodore Amiga 1000 personal computer with 1081 RGB monitor running Electronic Arts Deluxe Paint. The Amiga 1000 (1985) was the first model released. Original photo by Kaiiv (de.wikipedia), editing by Pixel8.
Commodore Amiga 1000 personal computer running Deluxe Paint. Photo by Kaiiv.

Commodore Amiga computers were produced from 1985 until 1994. During the heights of its time Amiga was the leading home computer of western Europe.

Models were created in a high-end workstation line, Amiga 1000, 2000, 3000 and 4000, and a low-end home line, Amiga 500, 600 and 1200.

All models used processors of the Motorola 68000 family, had video and audio chip sets (co-processors), and a graphical operating system with preemptive multitasking and a 32-bit address space.

The Amiga could display full-screen video with overscan while playing two-channel stereo sound or four-channel mono sound. A rich choice of color modes and screen resolutions between 64,000 and 614,400 pixels was available.

There were three generations of chip sets: OCS (old chip set; Amiga 1000), ECS (enhanced chip set; Amiga 500, 600, 2000, 3000) and AGA (advanced graphics adapter; Amiga 1200, 4000). The OCS chip set had a palette of 4096 colors, ECS and AGA 16 million colors. OCS and ECS had 32 color registers, AGA had 256.

The most used graphics modes for animations were:

  • Indexed Colors with 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 or 256 colors registers.
  • EHB (Extra-Halfbrite) which could display 64 colors with just 32 color registers. The 32 extra colors were half the brightness of the colors in the registers.
  • HAM 6 (Hold-And-Modify) could display 4096 colors with 6-bit pixel op-codes. The op-codes could either select a color from 16 color registers or hold a color from the previous pixel and modify its red, green or blue channel with a precision of 4 bits.
  • HAM 8 (Hold-And-Modify) could display 262,144 colors with 8-bit pixel op-codes which could select colors from 64 registers or modify an RGB channel with 6 bits of precision.

Amiga animations were often distributed as freeware on floppy diskettes. A popular series of freeware diskettes was Fish Disk. Due to the low band-width of floppy diskettes, the animations had to be short, so that they could be loaded fully into memory before they were played back.

The most used file format for animations were IFF ANIM and MovieSetter. Games often used proprietary formats for their animations.

© Walter & Werner Randelshofer. All rights reserved. Animations used under permission.