An application that allows the user to simulate painting on the computer by using the mouse or a graphics tablet. The images are generated as "bitmapped graphics," which are a matrix of picture elements (pixels). Windows comes with Paint, an elementary paint program, and image editors such as Photoshop provide a basic set of painting tools. However, the foremost paint program is Corel's Painter, which provides an unbelievable number of features (see Painter).
An Artist's Canvas
Bitmapped images are much like an artist's canvas, as all the elements in the scene are "painted" together. Colors can be changed and parts or all of an image can be run through image filters to create a wide variety of special effects. However, unlike illustrations created in a drawing program, bitmapped images cannot be resized (scaled) smaller and larger without loss of quality. See graphics, image editor and SuperPaint.
Painting Vs. Drawing
Although more painting tools are added to drawing programs and more drawing tools are added to paint programs, their inherent structure is different. Objects in a drawing program (vector graphics) can be resized and reshaped over and over again. Paint programs (bitmapped graphics) provide a single canvas to be covered with "electronic paint," and the only way to make changes is to paint over the existing image.
One of the First
This on-screen tool palette from SuperPaint was very sophisticated for its time. Created by Richard Shoup in the early 1970s at Xerox PARC, it was the first program to use a graphics frame buffer for "painting" an image as well as capturing and editing video. The entire system using Data General hardware took up two 5' racks (see SuperPaint
). (Image courtesy of Richard Shoup.)
Twenty Years Later
The staggering increase in computing power from the 1970s to the 1990s spawned paint applications such as Painter on personal computers. These tool palettes simulate every imaginable type of brush and paper an artist could choose (see Painter
Oil or Pixels?
Believe it or not, this "oil" was created in Painter 5 on the Macintosh by Rhoda Grossman using brush strokes with Painter's Van Gogh cloner. Named "Clo-nay, France," the impasto look (thick paint) was accomplished with Painter's Apply Surface Texture command. (Image courtesy of Rhoda Grossman, www.digitalpainting.com)