Before Adobe Photoshop…

…there was the Quantel Paintbox. For the techies out there it was a RISC based computer, specifcally a computer designed from the top to bintroduced to the market in 1981 and BBC was their first customer. Many of the BBC shows had used Paintbox to replace traditional pen and paper effects.

The Weather Channel was Quantel’s first American customer, and the small weather content startup in Atlanta posssed the first two American serial numbers in the following year. TWC used Paintbox almost exclusively for at least a decade and a half related to weather maps, travel cities forecast, etc.

There were various variants, and the Paintbox got smaller and less hardware intensive. In the late 1980s the Paintbox had the ability to integrated video and graphical animation, and of course in 1980s tech, up to 30 seconds, and costing a fortune in capital expenses.

This video on YT features how to use a Paintbox that’s over an hour long. There’s another one from that time too!

It’s safe to assume that Adobe, and the rise of PCs and Macs ate Quantel’s lunch. I’ll leave finger-pointing to others. Quantel itself was still existing a decade ago, but had been sold in recent years and any support or resemblance of the Paintbox was vaporized, coincidentally around 2017 when I went to my first NAB show…

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