Graphics Animation System for Professionals
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GRaphic Animation System for Professionals
Originally conceived by Doug Wolfgram under the name FlashGun, the first public version of GRASP was the Graphical System for Presentation. The original software was written by Doug Wolfgram and Rob Neville. It later became the Graphic Animation System for Professionals. Many regard this as the birth of the multimedia industry.
GRASP - Graphic Animation System for Professionals
In 1984 Doug Wolfgram conceived of the idea of an animation scripting language that would allow graphics images to move smoothly across a computer screen under program control. Persyst Systems hired Wolfgram's company to develop some graphics and animation for their new graphics card, the BoB board. The marketing manager from Persyst then moved to AST computer where he brought in Wolfgram to do similar animation work for the AST line of peripheral cards for PCs.
Wolfgram saw the growing demand for multimedia so he brought in John Bridges, with whom he had co-developed PCPaint for Mouse Systems in 1982. Together they co-developed the early versions of GRASP for Wolfgram's company, Microtex Industries. Subsequent versions followed. Version 1.10c was released in September 1986.
Starting with John and Doug's source code for PCPaint, the painting aspects were chopped out and instead a simple font editor for Doug's slideshow program FlashGun was created. The graphics library was used to make a simple script playback that had a command for each graphics library function. It also originally used the assembly language fades from FlashGun for a "FADE" command, but those image fade routines were mode specific (CGA) and difficult to enhance. The routines were rewritten along with the script parts. It stored all the files in a ZIB archive, renaming John Bridges' program ZIB to GLIB and the archives it produced were GL files (GRASP GL library format).
In 1987, GRASP 2.0, was released and no longer distributed as ShareWare. It became a commercial product published in the USA by Paul Mace Software. John Bridges assumed responsibility for development of the core engine while Wolfgram developed fades, external utilities and new commands.
GRASP 3.0 and 3.5
In 1988, GRASP 3.0 was released, followed in October 1988 by GRASP 3.5, bundled with Pictor Paint, an improved PCPaint minus publishing features. GRASP 3.5 "[supported] a wide range of video formats, including CGA, EGA, Hercules, VGA and all popular enhanced VGA modes up to 800 x 600 pixels and 1,024 x 768 pixels resolution. The software [displayed] and [edited] images in several standard formats, including PC Paintbrush (PCX) and GIF."
Award-winning animator Tom Guthery claims that by using GRASP in 1990 his early animated computer programs "[gave] smooth movement and detailed animation to a degree that many programmers had thought impossible at the time".
In February 1991 GRASP 4.0 was released, with the ability to create "self-executing" demos (bind to make EXE added), AutoDesk FLI/FLC support, PC Speaker Digitized Sound, and a robust programming environment. It also included ARTOOLS, a collection of image manipulation tools which included an early morphing utility which tracked all points in source and destination images, creating all the in-between frames. Later that year HRFE (High Res Flic Enhancement) was offered as an add-on for GRASP, "[enabling] GRASP to recognize, import, manipulate and compile animations created in Autodesk's Animator Pro environment."
In a published paper critiquing GRASP 4.0, the authors Stuart White and John Lenarcic said that "The GRASP language offers creative freedom in the development of interactive multimedia presentations, especially to seasoned programmers with an artistic inclination."
A stripped-down version of GRASP 4.0 was also included with copies of Philip Shaddock's Multimedia Creations: Hands-On Workshop for Exploring Animation and Sound.
Multi-Media GRASP 1.0
In June 1993, Multi-Media GRASP 1.0 was released with TrueColor support.
Authorship and Ownership
Early in 1990 Doug Wolfgram sold his remaining rights to GRASP (and PCPaint) to John Bridges.
In 1994, GRASP development stopped when John Bridges terminated his publishing contract with Paul Mace Software. In 1995, John created GLPro for IMS Communications Ltd, the newest incarnation of John's ideas behind GRASP updated for Windows. In 2002, John Bridges created AfterGRASP, a successor to GRASP and GLPro.
Although some web pages list Paul Mace Software as "buying" GRASP or "owning" GRASP, that is not correct.
- GRASP: Summary from the Encyclopedia of Graphics File Formats
- Educational Software Cooperative (ESC) - Featured Members
- IIMS 1994: White and Lenarcic - EONQUEST: An interactive multimedia learning environment for elementary mathematical problem solving
- Shaddock, Philip. Multimedia Creations: Hands-On Workshop for Exploring Animation and Sound. Waite Group Press, Corte Madera California, 1992. ISBN 1-878739-26-3. Google Book Search: 
- GRASP - GRaphical System for Presentation v1.10 Manual, released May 1986
- EONQUEST: An interactive multimedia learning environment for elementary mathematical problem solving by Stuart White and John Lenarcic
- "Doug and Melody Wolfgram", by Cynthia Gregory Wilson
- GLPro History at the Wayback Machine (archived June 25, 2001)
- GLPro Mailing List Archive
- GRASP File Format Summary
- Encyclopedia of Graphics File Formats, 2nd Edition by Murray, James D. , Van Ryper, William ISBN 1-56592-161-5
- The formats of GRASP animation files By George Phillips
- The Graphics File Formats Page GL - Another animation format Dr. Martin Reddy Technical Lead, R & D, Pixar Animation Studios