SIGGRAPH 1990 Computer Graphics Achievement Award: Shoup

  • ©1990, Richard G. Shoup



    Computer Graphics Achievement Award


    The 1990 Computer Graphics Achievement Award is awarded jointly to Richard Shoup and Alvy Ray Smith for seminal contributions to computer paint systems. While paint programs have been around as long as frame buffers, Shoup and Smith, through work they did collectively and separately, transformed computer painting from a novelty into a true artistic medium with a richness and range sufficient to attract well-established artists to its use. It is difficult to overstate the pervasiveness of their contributions. Through their work they developed the definitive paint system. So well developed were their ideas that they are exemplified, virtually unchanged, by the tens of thousands of paint programs on desktops today. Indeed, some of Shoup’s and Smith’s algorithms are used today as they were originally elaborated.

    The first eight-bit frame buffer paint program ever written is attributed to Dick Shoup. It was developed at Xerox PARC in 1972-73. Soon after, Alvy Ray Smith joined PARC and immediately began making major contributions of his own. Eventually, Smith left PARC to join the Computer Graphics Laboratory at New York Institute of Technology, where he continued paint system development until 1977. In the same time period, Shoup left PARC to form Aurora Imaging Systems, a venture to commercialize his work on paint systems. The NYIT Paint program was eventually sold to CBS and Ampex. It received a showcase national debut when Leroy Nieman used it during halftime at the 1978 Super Bowl.

    Shoup obtained his Ph.D. in Computer Science at Carnegie-Mellon University in 1970. Within a year he became one of the first employees at the pioneering laboratories of Xerox PARC, where he spent close to a decade researching projects ranging from computer graphics and animation to digital video and theories of computation. It was there that he conceived and developed the first digital videographics and animation system for graphic artists known as “SuperPaint.” This ground-breaking achievement was recognized in 1983 by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in the form of an Emmy for Outstanding Achivement in Engineering Development, and has been included in the permanent collection of the Computer Museum in Boston.

    Shoup left Xerox PARC in 1979 to co-found Aurora Systems, a manufacturer of digital videographics and animation systems. In addition to his executive responsibilities, he has continued as designer of two generations of Aurora videographics systems, including PC and workstation-based software packages, user interfaces, and architecture for the real-time hardware of the high-end product.


    ACM SIGGRAPH Press Release, 1990