20 Years of Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop; software that served as a catalyst to the designing community by aiding with the paradigm shift from traditional hand designing to the digital era, turned 20 on Feb 19, 2010. There was a sense of celebration all over the globe to commemorate the impact the software had across a plethora of digital platforms like photography, art, design, publishing and commerce.

The magnitude of Photoshop’s impact on our lives is great. Billboard signs, magazine covers, major motion pictures or even logo’s on the coffee cups you hold every day; all of which have a high probability of being touched by Photoshop. At least 90% of creative professionals use the software. Moreover, contemporary uses in Photoshop were seen in photography, graphic designers and advertisers whilst also being partially used by architects, engineers and to an extent, doctors too!

A spectrum of interactivity engaging the end user to Photoshop was directly available soon after their 20 year celebrations had begun. This would include general celebrations, imaging contests and exclusive online ‘tips and tricks’ that were initiated in the UK and across the globe.  In the United States, the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) played host to the 20th Anniversary celebrations for over a thousand attendees at the Palace of Fine Arts theatre, San Francisco.

Furthermore, a TV broadcast on Adobe also aired in the states a day after, including the original Photoshop team that were reunited after 18 years once more to throw light on their early work and demonstrate Photoshop 1.0 on a rebuilt Macintosh computer.

For 20 years Photoshop has played many different roles – it has given creative people the power to deliver amazing images that impact every part of our visual culture and challenged the eye with its ability to transform photographs,” said Shantanu Narayen, president and chief executive officer at Adobe. “It’s no exaggeration to say that, thanks to millions of creative customers, Photoshop has changed the way the world looks at itself.

It was in the year 1987 that Thomas Knoll developed a pixel imaging program called display. This was a simplistic program enabled to show greyscale images on a black and white monitor. However, once the collaborative efforts of him and his brother John Knoll were initiated, the two minds then began to integrate features that further enabled digital image files to be processed.  The program then caught the eyes of industry shapers which, in 1988, led Adobe to gain license to the software thereby naming it Photoshop; the first version of which was shipped in 1990.

Twenty years ago, Adobe predicted that it would sell 500 copies of Photoshop per month,” said Thomas Knoll, co-creator of Photoshop at Adobe. “I guess you could say, we beat those projections! It’s amazing to think that millions of people use this software today. We knew we had a groundbreaking technology on our hands, but we never anticipated how much it would impact the images we see all around us. The ability to seamlessly place someone within an image was just the beginning of Photoshop’s magic.

With regards to its 20 year history, Photoshop has evolved considerably from a simple display program to an in-depth software application that has more than 10 million users all across the globe. Every step in the evolution of the product brought around another step in advancement. For instance, Adobe 3.0 saw the advent of layers which empowered designers to create multifaceted designs otherwise thought impossible to do.  Another great innovative feature was the healing brush, a pioneering aspect introduced in Photoshop 7.0 which permitted users to retouch images by magically and clearly getting rid of blemishes and wrinkles whilst keeping the focus of lighting and texture.  Other hot tools like crop, eraser, blur and dodge are now a fundamental part of the Photoshop environment.

The Photoshop team thrives off its fruitful beta testing program, merging with active and opinionated users that submit requests and aid in the moulding and shaping of features that have been provided to the end user for many years now. Adobe has further strengthened its engagement with customers via blogs, user research, customer support, forums and feedback from Adobe guru’s who globe trot while interacting with Photoshop users, as these ways shall continue to exist and evolve in the future.

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