August 18, 2009

Vector graphics software… from 1963

JFK was in office, and yet the app Sketchpad (from then-25-year-old Ivan Sutherland) offered multitouch input, auto-correction of vector strokes, and even reusable symbols (a la Flash, Illustrator, etc.). Very cool:

Apparently Dr. Sutherland once employed–you guessed it–John Warnock, seen here introducing Adobe Illustrator in 1987. [Via]

Posted by John Nack at 7:02 AM on August 18, 2009

Comments

  • Mario — 8:33 AM on August 18, 2009

    You know what is cool and curious about this? That the original presentation is from 1963, then on 1987 it was used for a presentation and now on 2009 thanks to some of the ideas of those guys and the openness of the internet of today we can enjoy this marvel. What if the world back then had been as open as it is today?
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Klaus Nordby — 9:11 AM on August 18, 2009

    Wow, what a brilliant feat for a 25-year old guy in 1962! Thank you for featuring this great piece of history.

  • J. Peterson — 11:30 AM on August 18, 2009

    That video is narrated by another Utah alum (and Sutherland student), Alan Kay. Kay was at Xerox PARC in the 70s, where he helped design the user interface metaphors that led to the Macintosh UI.
    There’s a longer version (pt 2) of the video narrated by Sutherland himself, showing how it works in 3D too. The demo starts at about 3:30 of part 1.

  • Daemon — 4:56 AM on August 20, 2009

    Oh lord, they got Smart Objects back in the day!

  • graham parkinson-morgan — 12:42 PM on August 20, 2009

    They were lucky they didn’t make that into a shrink wrap product, else customers would still want the platform supported today.

  • Stephen Walker — 9:47 AM on August 21, 2009

    I was just about to ask if there was a 64-bit version when I saw your post about 64-bit reality check!
    This is absolutely amazing stuff. Thanks.

  • Alvaro — 5:32 PM on September 02, 2009

    Is very indredible see that some of the features exposed in that old video aren’t implemented in all current profesional software for drawing.
    Also it shows that in so many years the advance in concept and tools wasn’t too big compared with the fast processing advance which makes posible add colors to that old ideas.
    Great video!

  • Dean Sutherland — 6:42 PM on September 02, 2009

    The longer version linked to By J. Peterson is not actually narrated by Ivan. The demonstrator is, um…, (drat! I’ve forgotten his name!) the director of the MIT Lincoln Laboratory at the time. It’s taken from an MIT-produced news/promotional piece made for public TV.
    Another way of looking at the computational power of the TX-2, by the way, is that the HP-21C hand-held programmable calculator I purchased as a college freshman (in Fall 1979) did about as many FLOPS as did the several-room-sized TX-2.
    Dean Sutherland
    (Son of Ivan; I was about 2 when this film was made.)
    [Cool stuff, Dean. Thanks for sharing these details, and props to your dad. :-) –J.]

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