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Definition: SuperPaint

The first paint program designed for video capture and editing. Developed at Xerox PARC in the early 1970s by Richard Shoup, a pen and digitizer tablet were used for input and control, and the tool palette (see below) was displayed on a second monitor. SuperPaint was programmed in BCPL (predecessor of C) on a Data General Nova 800, and the resulting system took up two racks five feet high, which remain on display in the Computer History Museum.

SuperPaint's first public debut was during the NASA Pioneer missions to Venus and Saturn in 1978-79. It was used to create real-time videographics illustrating the fly-bys and scientific results for TV and the press. See paint program.

SuperPaint Tool Palette
This SuperPaint tool palette was displayed on a second monitor and was the first use of HSB for selecting colors (see HSB). (Image courtesy of Richard Shoup.)

The Tools
These are the meanings of the icons on the palette. (Image courtesy of Richard Shoup.)