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|Initial release||November 1985|
5.2 / 1995
|Operating system||AmigaOS, GEM, MS-DOS, and Apple GS/OS|
MS-DOS, Atari ST, Apple IIGS
|Type||Bitmap graphics editor|
Deluxe Paint, often referred to as DPaint, is a bitmap graphics editor series created by Dan Silva for Electronic Arts. The original Deluxe Paint was written for the Commodore Amiga 1000 and released in November 1985. It was eventually ported to other platforms, including an MS-DOS version which became the standard for pixel graphics in video games in the 1990s, the only competitor being Autodesk Animator Pro.
Dan Silva previously worked on the Cut & Paste word processor (1984), also from Electronic Arts.
Deluxe Paint began as an in-house art development tool called Prism. As author Dan Silva added features to Prism, it was developed as a showcase product to coincide with the Amiga's debut in 1985. Upon release, it was quickly embraced by the Amiga community and became the de facto graphics (and later animation) editor for the platform. It was used almost ubiquitously in the making of Amiga games, animation and demoscene productions. Amiga manufacturer Commodore International later commissioned EA to create version 4.5 AGA to bundle with the new Advanced Graphics Architecture chipset (A1200, A4000) capable Amigas. Version 5 was the last release after Commodore's bankruptcy in 1994.
Early versions of Deluxe Paint were available in protected and non copy-protected versions, the latter retailing for a slightly higher price. The copy protection scheme was later dropped. Deluxe Paint was first in a series of products from the Electronic Arts Tools group—then later moved to the ICE (for Interactivity, Creativity, and Education) group—which included such Amiga programs as Deluxe Music Construction Set (preceded by Music Construction Set for the Apple II), Deluxe Video, and the Studio series of paint programs for the Macintosh.
With the development of Deluxe Paint, EA introduced the ILBM and ANIM file format standards for graphics. While widely used on the Amiga, these formats never gained widespread end user acceptance on other platforms, but were heavily used by game development companies. Dpaint for MS-DOS was used by LucasArts to make graphics for their adventure games such as Monkey Island, and is the source of the name of the main character in the Monkey Island series, Guybrush Threepwood - the character's name derived from a particular filename used to store his image data, which was named "guybrush.bbm".
Deluxe Paint I was released in 1985. Most Amiga graphics editors were oriented towards the bitmapped and bitplaned display modes of the native Amiga chipset, and in Deluxe Paint this was most prominent.
The next year (1986) Deluxe Paint II was introduced, with support for color cycling. The Amiga natively supports indexed color, where a pixel's color value does not carry any RGB hue information but instead is an index to a colour palette (a collection of unique color values). By adjusting the color value in the palette, all pixels with that palette value change simultaneously in the image or animation. Creative artists could use this in their animation by using color cycling.
Deluxe Paint III appeared in 1988 and added support for Extra Halfbrite. New editing modes allowed one to stencil certain colors, and perform blurs on the stencils to produce an effect that could be made to look similar to light-sourcing in a 3D program. Deluxe Paint III added the ability to create cel-like animation, and animbrushes. These let the user pick up a section of an animation as an "animbrush", which can then be placed onto the canvas while it animates. Deluxe Paint III was one of the first paint programs to support animbrushes. This is similar to copy and paste, except one can pick up more than one image.
Deluxe Paint IV (introduced in 1991), which did not include Silva as the lead programmer, was significantly less elegant and crashed more often than the predecessors, though it did offer significant new features like non-bitplane-indexed Hold-and-Modify support.
Deluxe Paint 4.5 AGA appeared the following year, addressing the stability issues and providing support for the new A1200 and A4000 AGA machines and a revamped screen mode interface. It appeared in both standalone and Commodore-bundled versions.
The final release, Deluxe Paint V, in 1995, supported true 24-bit RGB images. However, using only the AGA native chipset, the 24-bit RGB color was only held in computer memory, the on-screen image still appeared in indexed color.
Deluxe Paint II Enhanced 2.0, released in 1994, was the most successful PC version, and was compatible with ZSoft's PC Paintbrush PCX image format file. The MS-DOS conversion was carried out by Brent Iverson and its enhanced features were by Steve Shaw. It supported the CGA, EGA, MCGA and VGA IBM-compatible PC graphic cards, the Hercules, Tandy and Amstrad proprietary video cards and the main of the first Super VGA video cards (manufacturer dependent) modes, enabling it to support up to 800×600 pixel screen resolution with 256 (from 262,144) colors and 1024×768 pixels with 16 colors.
"[" and "]" hotkeys could step through the indexed palette, turning indexed-pixel-painting into a fast two-handed mouse+keys process, and the right mouse button would paint with the background colour (instead of bringing up a context sensitive menu as is common in modern packages)
For example, transparency was obtained as simply as selecting a background colour index (a single right click on the palette GUI to change). Colours could be locked from editing by use of a stencil (a list of colour indexes whose pixels should not be altered in the image data). And simple colour-cycling animations could be created using contiguous entries in the palette. It was easy to change the hue and tone of a section of the image by altering the corresponding colours in the palette. (The specific section needed to use a dedicated part of the palette for this technique to work.)
Brushes can be cut from the background by using the box, freehand, or polygon selection tools. They can then be used in the same manner as any other brush or pen. This functionality is simpler to use than the "stamp" tool of Photoshop or Alpha Channels as provided in later programs. Brushes can be rotated and scaled, even in 3D. After a brush is selected, it appears attached to the mouse cursor, providing an exact preview of what will be drawn. This allows precise pixel positioning of brushes, unlike brushes in Photoshop CS3 and lower, which only show an outline.
Animations stored in IFF ANIM format were delta compressed (only the differences between current and previous frames are stored), making animations smaller and faster on playback.
Deluxe Paint was a hit for EA.
Deluxe Paint was frequently used for making graphics for home computer games from the late 1980's to the early 1990's, and was used for games such as Wolfenstein 3D, Eye of the Beholder, Dark Seed, and Another World.
- Deluxe Paint Animation
- Brilliance (graphics editor)
- List of raster graphics editors
- Comparison of raster graphics editors
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- "Frequently asked questions about Monkey Island".
- Grossman, Dave. "TellTale Games Forums".
- Shustek, Leonard J.: Electronic Arts DeluxePaint Early Source Code, Computer History Museum 22 July 2015. Accessed on 18 February 2021.
- "Product Comparison". InfoWorld. IDG. 10 (49): 64. December 5, 1988. ISSN 0199-6649. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
- InfoWorld 14 March 1988, p. 21, at Google Books
- InfoWorld 13 November 1989, p. 158, at Google Books
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- Campbell, Colin (July 14, 2015). "How EA lost its soul, chapter 8". Polygon. Vox Media. Archived from the original on July 16, 2015. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
- "John Carmack on Twitter: "Deluxe Paint II was the pixel tool for all the early Id Software games."". Twitter. July 12, 2019.
- Shahrani, Sam (April 25, 2006). "Educational Feature: A History and Analysis of Level Design in 3D Computer Games — Pt. 1". Gamasutra. UBM.
- Brenesal, Barry (September 24, 1991). "SSI Challenges Your Intellect and Your Senses in a New Game". PC Magazine. Vol. 10 no. 16. p. 498.
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- Nutt, Christian (March 3, 2011). "GDC 2011: Eric Chahi Retro Postmortem: Another World". Gamasutra. Archived from the original on March 6, 2011.
- "Chris Harding interview". Archived from the original on March 24, 2006.
- "Jennifer Diane Reitz explains the creation of "Unicorn Jelly"".
- Dan Silva on LinkedIn
- CG Press: The History of 3D Studio – Tom Hudson interview
- Shustek, Len (November 12, 2013). "Electronic Arts DeluxePaint Early Source Code". computerhistory.org. Retrieved July 22, 2015.