Canvas' origins date back to 1987. The original idea for Canvas came from Jorge Miranda, one of the founders of Deneba Systems Inc. of Miami Florida, for Apple's Macintosh computers—part of the wave of programs that made the desktop publishing revolution.
The first version was unique in many ways; not least because it was released as both an application and a desk accessory. In the latter form, it could be used while another program, e.g. PageMaker, was running simultaneously; very handy in that time of single program operation.
From its inception, Canvas differed from other graphics applications because it combined tools and file formats for both vector (line art) graphics, and raster (photographic and other pixel-based) images, along with word-processing and page-layout features such as multiple page documents and master pages. The user works in a window which is the familiar "page on a pasteboard" analog used by many DTP and vector graphics programs, but in that window, which might be a single illustration page or one page of a multi-page magazine, book, web site, animation or presentation, the user can create or edit and layout text, vector graphics and raster images. Canvas also emphasized technical drawing in addition to artistic illustration features.
With Version 3.5, Deneba went cross-platform, releasing a version with file-format compatibility for Macintosh and Windows computers. At Version 5, Canvas was completely rewritten for both platforms, and included a QuickDraw palette for creating 3D primitives and renderings. Version 7 of the software saw an internal extrusion engine being used instead of QuickDraw.
At Version 8, it was the first of the complex graphics programs to be "Carbonized" to run on both Classic and Mac OS X. With the introduction of Canvas 11, support for the Macintosh platform was dropped, making the application Windows-only.
In April 2003, Deneba Systems was acquired by ACD Systems of Victoria, BC, Canada, the developers of Windows image editing and handling software such as ACDSee, before the release of version 9. Canvas development has continued under the guise of ACD Systems of America in Miami.
Canvas is available in a standard and extended version. The once-optional Scientific Imaging module is now integrated into Canvas and provides enhanced input-output filters for file formats commonly used in science and engineering visualization. The Geographic information system (GIS) module provides tools for use in mapping and GIS-based data analysis.
While Canvas started out as a prosumer program in the general graphics/DTP market, and continues to be the first (even only) tool of many professionals in such fields as graphics design, advertising, marketing, and DTP, it is less known in the consumer/prosumer market today than programs marketed by larger companies, such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and CorelDRAW. It has been better known in academic and commercial enterprises.
Canvas has been translated into multiple languages, including German, Spanish, French, Italian, and Japanese. International sales account for over one third of all sales with Japan and Germany representing the largest markets. Full and demonstration versions of Canvas 11 can be downloaded from the ACD Systems website.
- Canvas 1.0 (Macintosh)
- Canvas 2.0 (Macintosh)
- Canvas 3.0 (Macintosh) 1990
- Canvas 3.5 (Macintosh and Windows) 1992
- Canvas 5 (Macintosh and Windows) 1996
- Canvas 6 (Macintosh and Windows) 1998
- Canvas 7 (Macintosh and Windows) 1999
- Canvas 8 (Mac OS 9, Mac OS X, and Windows) 2001
- Canvas 9 (Mac OS X and Windows) 2003
- Canvas X (Mac OS X and Windows) 20051
- Canvas 11 (Windows Vista) 2007
- Canvas 12 (Windows XP, Vista, Seven) 2010
- Canvas 14 (Windows XP/Vista /7/8)
- Canvas 15 (Windows XP/Vista/7/8) 19 Nov 2013
In 2007 ACD Systems stopped making Macintosh versions of Canvas. The last Mac OS X update was Canvas X.0.2, build 926.
Canvas Mac Resurrection
On 4 June 2013 ACD Systems announced that they have formed a new development team to support the release of Canvas for Mac OS X (Beta available in spring 2014).
On 20 November 2013: Canvas for Mac is arriving. Good news on the Canvas Mac front, we've increased the number of developers working on the Mac version now that Canvas 15 for PC has been released, and while we have Canvas X functioning on Mac, we're busy making sure that all the small stuff is working correctly, and hope to begin a closed public beta in spring of 2014. http://forum.acdsee.com/forum/canvas/326-canvas-for-mac