The GRAphics Symbiosis System (GRASS)


Tom DeFanti and Dan Sandin with the GRAphics Symbiosis System

In 1973 Tom DeFanti came to UIC’s Information Engineering (now Computer Science) department and a 37-year (and continuing) collaboration started. The GRAphics Symbiosis System (GRASS) was a programming language created by Tom DeFanti to script vector graphics visual animations. It was designed to be used by creative people who had little or no technical background. With GRASS, users could issue commands for complex, time-based scaling, translation, and rotation of objects in real time. This real-time image manipulation capability made it of interest to artists who were working to integrate video and the then relatively new medium of computer graphics. Since GRASS produced real-time images on a big cathode ray tube (called a Vector General), Dan just pointed video cameras at that screen and processed the image with the IP, seeing the results immediately (this was quite a revolution compared to the film-oriented computer graphic production workflow of the time.)

Wikipedia GRASS entry GRASS (programming language) on Wikipedia

Tom, Dan & group
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