Course: Multimedia Programming 100 – Introduction to Multimedia

Homework 2.A DPaint was DaFuture…

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    • #449

      Sam Collins

      In this day and age, we are accustomed to the quick and seamless ways that most graphic programs work. So when viewing the DPaint III instructional video – while marveling at how MTV-80ish the intro is – I couldn’t stop watching! What I learned is there are similarities with DPaint III and today’s programs, Photoshop and GIMP.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”> </span>

      In the article, “Electronic Arts DeluxePaint Early Source Code,” by Len Shustek, it was stated that within a short year, not only did computers expand with capability but so did the graphic programs available at that time (1984-ish) as well, yet the DPaint video hails the program for its ability to do more in animation (not what Photoshop is known for) as we watch a basic animation of the developer, Dan Silva<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>(on a unicycle and juggling! Cool!). Back in the 80s, I understand why this could be considered huge news but it would only affect a small niche market as most people didn’t own personal computers and graphic designing and animations were left to the professionals.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”> </span>

      Because of the way we not only communicate but how we receive our information, the graphic programs that are available to us are designed to be extremely hands on and for the general public. This means it’s pretty easy for anyone to either intuitively figure things out or watch a youtube video and learn how to work the programs today.

      When watching this “instructional” video on the numerous demonstrations on how to use DPaint, it is easy to see the very clunky aspects of this program; there seems to be a lot of ‘clicking’<span class=”Apple-converted-space”>  </span>needed in order to get around the program. In today’s applications, this simply doesn’t exist in Photoshop, maybe not even in GIMP (I am not fluid in GIMP yet).<span class=”Apple-converted-space”> </span>

      DPaint does not seem to be very hands on – for today’s standards. The user has to put things in “mode” or “requesters” in order to get them to work and once these boxes are open, they are hard to read (despite being so basic). But that was back then! Most graphic programs today can be learned in a couple of hours of poking around. Where DPrint talks about Hbrite colors (too much work! I want MORE than 68 colors, what do you mean my computer doesn’t support it?!) and its main purpose – to add shade to an image – both Photoshop and GIMP can offer more in less steps.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”> </span>

      But for its timeline, DPaint could still be considered extremely sophisticated. Just take a look at Mr. Silva excitedly explain the concept of key stroke abilities versus menu commands! This is the common language that is still spoken today when using graphic and video editing programs.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”> </span>

    • #451

      Anderson Evans

      Glad to see you found the material interesting.  I also think you’d be surprised at what is and isn’t intuitive with software like DPaint if you were to try it out.  I think you are right, that there is maybe a concerted effort for “first steps” to be easily taken by beginners with today’s graphic design software thanks to the synthesis of tutorials and explicit icons/mouse-hover-info, but I think graphic design software in general (both old and new), tends to be easy to get started with, but quite difficult to master.

      I found this video very interesting when watching some GDC talks a few months back:

      The lecturer was a non-technical studio artist hired to learn DPaint in the past, and I believe he does a good job contextualizing some of the major differences in the older graphics software and today’s.  The key concept seems to be the earlier tools are, of course, designed to work with the minimal graphics of the time.  Today’s graphics in high high definition necessitate (for the super-user) very different kinds of expert level tools.  Many game developers today (myself included) use special software (like ‘Aseprite‘) to downgrade graphical assets to give indie games the look of older titles where DPaint was used out of necessity.  I was very interested to hear from an artist that explains how he was never intentionally going for a pixellated art style, rather he was attempting to bring as much realism to his work as was possible with the computational constraints at the time!

      Above image created in DPaint by Mark Ferrari (Speaker in video referenced above)

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