Photoshop is 20 (though looks younger)
To mark the 20th anniversary of the launch of Photoshop, Adobe brought together the four original developers to talk about how the package was created and its subsequent impact on image making...
In 1990 when John Knoll, Thomas Knoll, Russell Brown and Steve Guttman launched Photoshop 1.0, a few people raised questions about a creative tool that could so easily manipulate photography. While the tone of Adobe's anniversary film has an understandably celebratory, ocassionally deifying air, it actually opens with footage from a concerned US TV consumer show from February of the launch year.
"These days the picture that the camera takes may not be the picture we see in newspapers and magazines", proffers the host, who goes on to cite examples of where image manipulation has made it hard to tell "what's real and what's not".
We see Rosanna Arquette sporting a Playboy logo that she was otherwise oblivious to and the TV Guide cover where the designers failed to realise why transferring Oprah Winfrey's head to a 1979 shot of actress Ann Margaret was not a good, and in no way a seamless, idea.
Author Fred Ritchin on a US TV show that debuted Photoshop 1.0: "My concern is that if the media takes to doing what Russell is demonstrating now, that people, the public will begin to disbelieve photographs generally and it won't be as effective and as powerful a document of social communication as it has been for the last 150 years."
In the clip from the TV show, Adobe's Russell Brown goes on to demonstrate what the nascent software program can do and with a certain charming naivety, secretes a picture of himself in between Ronald and Nancy Reagan onscreen. While the protestations of author Fred Ritchin are aired – and certainly remain relevant – it's Adobe who came out of this on top, of course, with an estimated 10 million people now currently using Photoshop worldwide.
To a lot of people working in photography, design and publishing, Photoshop was indeed a revolutionary creative tool. To many others (and to Adobe's annoyance) the word "Photoshopped" became synonymous with the grim side of image editing; the dark place where celebrities unwittingly sported extra limbs, where the line between the real and the surreal became indistinguishable, even to certain professional users of the software. The atrocities uploaded to PhotoshopDisasters need no introduction.
The idea for Photoshop, according to founder Thomas Knoll, came out of his "hating writing my PhD thesis" and the subsequent time he spent programming code to display greyscale images on a black and white display. The first version of the application was initially trialled under the name Display in 1987, was then renamed ImagePro (which they found was already taken), with Adobe CEO, John Warnock, apparently suggesting the hefty Imaginator at one stage. Photoshop was eventually put forward by someone the team were demoing the software to. Adobe then predicted that they would shift 500 copies on floppy disk.
Twenty years and 10 million sales later, the application still benefits from added functionality, with Adobe set to launch their CS5 version in April this year. 'Layers', introduced in Photoshop 3.0, for example, gave designers the ability to create more complex compositions, while the 'healing brush', a feature introduced in version 7.0, allowed users to retouch images by removing blemishes and wrinkles, yet preserve the lighting and texture. Indeed, Photoshop tools like 'crop', 'blur' and 'dodge and burn' have now become part of the contemporary creative vernacular.
The four founders are doing the rounds at the moment, celebrating the anniversary of their baby, and also appear in a film on the NBC Bay Area website. It's in this film that Thomas Knoll suggests that a certain Cupertino-based computer company perhaps owes more to Photoshop than is routinely acknowledged.
"Before Steve Jobs came back, in their dark period," says Knoll, "I've often thought that it's quite possible that without Photoshop being an exclusive Macintosh product when it came out, Apple might not have survived."
A big claim, no doubt, but how important has Photoshop been for you? Could you survive without it?
I think a better headline to this blog would have been "Photoshop is 20.0."
Yikes - I've had all of those packs…
Happy Birthday PSD
I run Photoshop 24.7
Photographs have been manipulated since the day following its invention.
An amazing tool Photoshop, even at 20! What is neat, is this year also marks the 25th anniversary of Desktop Publishing or DTP...
» Aldus Adobe Macromedia Quark – Desktop Publishing turns 25:
Happy birthday Photoshop. I've been using since I was 8 (am now 27 - so remember the basic screen above). I started off by redrawing famous portraits from an art gallery book It has helped me decide I wanted to be a graphic designer. awww! it really has helped shape my life - is that sad?
I miss x-acto knives and spray mount
"Indeed, Photoshop tools like 'crop', 'blur' and 'dodge and burn' have now become part of the contemporary creative vernacular."
Well, they were probably part of the creative vernacular since the invention of photography. I'm sure designers still asked for images to be cropped and blurred long before DTP and Photoshop, and dodge and burn are darkroom techniques.
What a story, Happy Birthday Photoshop!
Its our mate Paul Smith's birthday too. Wow.
Journalists are there to embroider the truth about stuff. A nice little Photoshop image alongside makes life easier. Everyone knows a photoshop speaks a thousand words. There's no fun when corporations abuse their power with Photoshop'd versions of truth.
To jenno - when I was 8 I was using pasta shells and glue to photoshop faces (I'm now 38 and make fab pasta)
anyone care to recall Letrastudio and ColorStudio and Studio 8 - all great image editing applications that Photoshop effectively wiped out...
Boy-oh-Boy, what a strange and clever bunch of characters! - "Goofy" was a good word to use.
But what a product! Nothing short of Revolutionary.
Don't want to sound cynical, but I couldn't help but find it irksome to see them back-slapping and reminiscing over subjects as dull as how we chose the name!
photoshop is a great program! Happy birthday!
This post makes me feel my age! I can remember using Macs whilst college that were huge gray monstrous things and photoshop! Well it was uninviting and lifeless, I thought it was fairly amazing at the time though. And zip disks everyone was using zip disks, they soon got replaced fob fobs, although if on honest iv still got a special place in my heart for the old zip disk, they were reliable and easy to use.
what does elliott erwitt say..not aw pshaw ,, no doubt
Just as the darkroom was the indespensible second part of the image-making
process, so now is Photoshop. But now my Darkroom is on my desk and my
fingers stay dry.
Incredible - congratulations !
I say, Photoshop is a must once an image is in digital form. I try and use it with the knowledge I have from shooting film, both transparency (which is very intolerant to mistakes in exposure) and black and white (which can always surprise you if you make a big mistake!). Although I have a traditional black and white darkroom (very much my garden shed... i don't have a garden!) a lot of work is digitised and so I use Photoshop to do the work of a photographic printer. I use tools to dodge and burn. I sometimes create several images from a RAW file and bring them into Photoshop to form a balanced composite image. It is a multifaceted piece of software that takes a lifetime to master. Trouble is, there's only one lifetime.
Am I the only one still using Paintbox from Windows?! Photoshop? Not in my back yard.
In 1990 i was drawing in Basic on the only x86 in computer class)))
Happy Birthday Photoshop!
You've helped me through college, university and now in my career.
these two guys look alike
The fact that photoshop is twenty just makes me feel older, ive been using it since I was 17, ouch!
while studying design, I learned that averything can be fixed with photoshop (or if it a model...just sand it)
photoshop saved my life so many times!!! I love it!!!...although ouch I feel old too.
At the age of five I sat in a caravan in Wales waiting for it to stop raining, playing with my Pegoramma. This 'toy' was a rectangular sheet of grey plastic pierced with a matrix of regular holes. The idea was to push red, yellow, blue and green pegs into the board which eventually, ( if I got it right ) formed a picture. Surely this must be the earliest incarnation of Photoshop? ( 1954 )
Photoshop is a great !
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