April 04, 2006

Marching Ants, Hamm’s Beer, & Photoshop

MacPaint changed my life, period. I’d fooled with the primitive tools on Apple ]['s and a PCjr., but MacPaint was a whole new animal. At a friend's birthday party in 1984, I laid eyes on their new Mac & dumped my usual "plays well with others" schtick like a hot rock. This machine was the stuff, and the other kids weren't gonna get close until I'd rocked out with MacPaint's cool features (drawing a prison just so I could paintbucket the walls with the brick pattern). I've been hooked ever since.
But who knew that the "marching ants" animation that denotes a selection in Photoshop and other applications comes from the Land of Sky-Blue Waters? According to Folklore.org, MacPaint author & Mac UI pioneer Bill Atkinson was inspired by a Hamm's Beer sign. Groovy. [Via the PhotoshopNews history of the Photoshop toolbar]
On a related note, in covering Apple’s 30th anniversary, c|net shows an early ancestor to MacPaint. (Seems like rounded rectangles–always popular, overused in every era–have always been with us). And if you just can’t get enough of people waxing Apple’s car, check out frog design’s shout-out [update: link now MIA], as well as Engadget’s review of good, bad, and ugly Apple products from the last 30 years. (Hey, I kind of liked the Network Server! It had a certain ED-209 charm to it…) [Via]

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