Advanced Search

Artist is:Dan Silvaremove the N_ref_artist filter

artist information
Artist name Dan Silva
Mother country USA
Notes Dan Silva is the legendary creator and developer of Electronic Arts' bitmap graphics package Deluxe Paint. DPaint, as it affectionately came to be known, started out as EA's in-house MS-DOS graphics editor Prism — which, in turn, was a port of Dan Silva's earlier creation of black & white paint program Doodle for the Xerox Dandelion workstation — but went on to become the premiere 2D paint package of the late 1980s / early-mid 90s for pixel graphics in videogames released for the Amiga, PC and other platforms of the era.

DeluxePaint I was first released in late 1985 for the humble Amiga 1000 sporting a meagre 256k memory (see HERE for source code) and amazingly achieved over 50% market saturation with Amiga owners. No sooner released, Silva began work on Deluxe Paint II, determined to incorporate features he had envisioned for the initial release that had been sidelined by the competing development schedules of other EA products involving his support team colleagues.

Probably having realised just about all that he wanted in a 2D graphics package with the 1989 release of Deluxe Paint III, Silva left EA for more challenging pastures. In 1990, he joined the Yost Group and worked for the next decade as a core developer of 3D Studio MAX (aka Autodesk 3ds Max), a highly popular professional 3D modelling package of the era and beyond released for PC.

Hitting rewind and going back to the very beginning of this story, however, what exactly lit the fuse to ignite Dan Silva's interest in graphics? After all, Silva has openly admitted in the past that he ''wasn't into programming in the abstract,'' so what did he do prior to his labour of love in the field of computer graphics and when exactly did it all change for him? In a DPaint III video tutorial released in 1989, Silva provides some insights into how his interest in graphics all started in the 1960s.

''I got into computer graphics in not the most direct way. I actually started out in mechanical engineering, but when I was going to school — which was originally at Stanford University — there wasn’t any computer graphics department. As a matter of fact, there wasn’t anything called computer graphics that I had ever heard about.

I got into using computers in mechanical engineering to synthesize three-dimensional kinematic linkages, which sounds pretty complicated but actually involved many of the same concepts that you use in computer graphics. When I started working at other jobs – I worked at NASA Ames doing scientific programming – I did everything I could to get my hands on equipment that I could create computer graphics with, because I just felt a real need to create some sort of tangible output. I wasn’t into programming in the abstract.

Indeed, in the early 1960s Silva began working towards his Masters Degree in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University. At the time he could not have conceived that the humble computer would one day become such a dynamic medium for self-expression and creativity. The existence of this potential only began to be realised during his 4 years with Informatics General Corp., a contractor to the NASA Ames Research Center. Like many computer programming pioneers of the era, Silva did his most interesting work after hours when the precious computer resources available would otherwise have lay idle.

In 1978, he took up a new position at Xerox Corporation designing the user interface design for the Xerox Star workstation. It was there that he envisioned that having fun with computers might actually make for a decent living. The following year he moved to the newly-formed Lucasfilm computer division, where he designed a video editor. After that Silva returned to Xerox, where he worked with Bill Bowman to create a next generation bitmap graphics editor. This collaboration resulted in Doodle, a monochrome paint program Silva produced for the Xerox Star 8010 ''Dandelion'' workstation circa 1980, which eventually evolved into the Free-Hand Drawing application produced for the platform and its successors as part of Xerox's graphic-orientated ViewPoint software suite.

Unsurprisingly, by the time he joined Electronic Arts in 1983, Dan Silva had a pretty clear concept of what the ideal paint program would look like and, importantly, how it should behave. With this in mind, he started work at EA on Prism.....a graphics editor that was specifically designed to serve as an in-house tool for videogame & serious software development, but in the grand design of things would end up being soooooo much more!
Artist photo

Dan Silva (back row, standing 2nd from the left), pictured as part of EA's in-house development team in 1985

Portrait of Dan Silva © 1986 by Avril Harrison, included with DPaint II. [Source: Amiga Graphics Archive]
This artist page has been viewed : 1804 times

 1 - 1 / 1 
World Tour GolfOCS 1988TanagerElectronic Arts
 Total of game listing generated: 102,220,452 

Coded by RCK of - Content © 1998-2023 HOL TEAM - Online amiga database © 2002-2023 HOL TEAM - Gen. in 0.73s