Adobe Photoshop celebrates 25 years of image editing history

Posted:
in Mac Software edited February 2015
Adobe's Photoshop notched another milestone when it turned 25 years old on Thursday, marking a quarter century since the venerable software brought digital image editing to the masses as a Mac exclusive.




Apple's ties to Photoshop go back to the beginning. In 1987, then-PhD student Thomas Knoll used his monochrome Macintosh Plus to program a simple grayscale pixel imaging program called Display, laying the foundation for what would become Photoshop under Adobe license in 1989.

With the help of his brother John, who worked for LucasFilm's Industrial Light & Magic at the time, Knoll and Adobe released the first edition of Photoshop in 1990 on Apple's Macintosh platform.

"For 25 years, Photoshop has inspired artists and designers to craft images of stunning beauty and reality-bending creativity," said Shantanu Narayen, Adobe president and CEO. "From desktop publishing, to fashion photography, movie production, website design, mobile app creation and now 3D Printing, Photoshop continues to redefine industries and creative possibilities. And today that Photoshop magic is available to millions of new users, thanks to Adobe Creative Cloud."

Adobe has created a special webpage dedicated to Photoshop's 25th anniversary that features an interview with Thomas Knoll and highlights works from prominent artists who use the program. Knoll will participate in a Reddit Ask Me Anything session at 2 p.m. Pacific on Thursday.

The company also released a new TV commercial celebrating the occasion, with images from movies that used Photoshop in their making, including Avatar, Gone Girl, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Shrek.





Finally, Adobe is running a contest through its Behance online sharing platform to showcase 25 visual artists under the age of 25 who use Photoshop. Participants can upload projects to Behance using the tag "Ps25Under25" for a chance to be featured for two weeks on Photoshop's official Instagram feed.

From humble beginnings, Photoshop has grown into a dominant force in creativity that now includes mobile apps. Last year, Adobe launched Lightroom for iPhone and Photoshop Mix, bringing powerful, purpose-built image editing to Apple's mobile devices.

In May 2013, Adobe ditched its traditional per-license pricing model and turned Photoshop, Illustrator, Typekit and more into subscription-only services. Photoshop is now offered as part of the Creative Cloud Photography Plan, which comes in at $9.99 per month and includes the latest Photoshop CC version, Lightroom and access to various iOS apps.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 39

    Illustrator and Photoshop have been my go to daily professional tools since '87 and '90 respectively.

     

    Both rather crude and limited in their early versions, each bore much promise of future capabilities, many driven by feedback and requests over the years from customers like me.

     

    Each is a universe unto itself now which I've barely scratched the surfaces of, but each has been ably up to whatever tasks I've put them to.

     

    We welcomed the switch to Creative Cloud and its subscription model and consider $50/month well worth the price for easy access, great performance, and more frequent updates and new features.

  • Reply 2 of 39
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by DanielSW View Post

     

    Illustrator and Photoshop have been my go to daily professional tools since '87 and '90 respectively.

     

    Both rather crude and limited in their early versions, each bore much promise of future capabilities, many driven by feedback and requests over the years from customers like me.

     

    Each is a universe unto itself now which I've barely scratched the surfaces of, but each has been ably up to whatever tasks I've put them to.

     

    We welcomed the switch to Creative Cloud and its subscription model and consider $50/month well worth the price for easy access, great performance, and more frequent updates and new features.




    Yeah but it's shit though.

    Death to Adobe and all it's dreadful software.

  • Reply 3 of 39
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,165member
    At the time I managed the Apple division of the European end of Adobe. I recall having very early betas of Photoshop to learn. Later Illustrator too. Those were fun days indeed.
  • Reply 4 of 39
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,165member

    Yeah but it's shit though.
    Death to Adobe and all it's dreadful software.

    Adobe, the company, has at various times been Apple's greatest ally and undoubtedly the knife in the Apple's back. I would never say their software was dreadful though.
  • Reply 5 of 39

    I've been using Photoshop since version 7, in 2002, and, despite all the company's failings and questionable business practices, was rather fond of Adobe software until their clown of a CEO decided that its users weren't being milked hard enough already and imposed that CC crap upon us all (the technical justification behind the decision – more frequent and granular updates –, by the way, is a blatant lie, as the “CC 2014” moniker might as well have been “CS8”).

     

    The way Adobe veered off course with their AIR and Flash shenanigans also goes to show just how out of touch they are with the market at large… Seriously, it took a disruptive platform with an incompatible browser and an open letter by Jobs for the web to be finally fixed and purged of proprietary, accesibility-averse plugins and, even then, those morons were in full denial mode for more than a year.

     

    To add insult to injury, they were lucky (or were they?) for not having been the target of an antitrust case on account of their purchase of Macromedia (and the subsequent and, in my opinion, monopolistic, anticompetitive and downright criminal discontinuation of FreeHand; either the acquisition should've been blocked altogether or, at the very least, they should've been forced to sell off all FreeHand-related patents and IP by regulators).

     

    After a long, stable 25-year-long reign, it's safe to say that the barbarians are at the gates already… The Pixelmator, Acorn and iDraw archers came in front and showed the way, and now it's up to the folks at Serif to knock 'em down with their Affinity Photo battering ram.

     

    https://affinity.serif.com/en-gb/photo/

     

    For all the people saying that this won't be a viable contender until it is ported to Windows, I beg to differ; nowadays, the Mac is, more than ever (except perhaps in the early 90's, back when Ps 1.0 was launched first on the Mac and Windows 3.0 was still in its infancy) the dominant platform in creative circles, and it's not like Serif doesn't have a long history of developing Windows applications already. :rolleyes:

     

    But anyway, since the cross-platform case is a strong one, I am also predicting that once these guys look at the combined revenues of the Designer, Photo and Publisher components come next year, they will announce a cross-platform Affinity Suite 2 shortly afterwards (whether they scrap the Plus Suite altogether or keep developing it as a Windows-only, “Elements-esque” prosumer counterpart to Affinity is anyone's guess – though if I were in a position to decide that, I *would* bet the company on Affinity, go straight to Adobe's jugular and not even bother with the prosumer market, as that space probably has low margins and an infrequent upgrade cycle) and, well, it could very well be game over for Adobe in the professional photography, illustration and DTP fields (not a small chunk of their overall market, and they have serious competition on the professional audio and NLE markets already, leaving only AfterEffects as an isolated monopoly; as for Lightroom, as Apple has shown us before, I'd venture to say that it's probably not *that* hard to clone or replace, seriously). I don't mean “game over” in the classical sense that they would file for bankruptcy soon (if ever! Just look at Microsoft; 800lb gorillas, especially those deeply entrenched in a few software niches, can take years to falter) or even lose the market share majority they currently enjoy, but “game over” as in being forced to seriously rethink their software licencing and pricing model…

     

    And only then I, as many other, might consider switching back to Adobe's offerings; however, by then, we will have partially learnt new tools and workflows and, if the support is there (plug-ins, tutorials, overall academic and industry acceptance, etc.), may end up sticking with Affinity. That Adobe doesn't get this and is probably laughing their competitors off while extorting and bullying their loyal users – yes, bullying, as in treating them like pirates and making their legally paid and licenced software actually harder to maintain and less reliable than if otherwise pirated – just shows that company's deep, culturally entrenched hubris and contempt for all things decent.

  • Reply 6 of 39
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,613member

    25 Years of Image Editing History and 15 Years of Screwing and Fleecing Customers.   Or words to that effect.

  • Reply 7 of 39
    If you are looking to get the best possible images, look to Phase One Capture Pro. It is better in almost every way to what Adobe has which is what you'd expect from a company that is also heavily invested in pro camera hardware too.

    It also avoided the wallet draining subscription joke Adobe forces you to take. Bottom line is it's better and over time costs less.
  • Reply 8 of 39
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,165member
    If you are looking to get the best possible images, look to Phase One Capture Pro. It is better in almost every way to what Adobe has which is what you'd expect from a company that is also heavily invested in pro camera hardware too.

    It also avoided the wallet draining subscription joke Adobe forces you to take. Bottom line is it's better and over time costs less.

    I am not disagreeing with you but wanted to clear up a possible misunderstanding that your post perpetuates.

    One Capture Pro, DxO etc. are all great adjustment and tools for photographers as are Aperture and Lightroom. Photoshop isn't, and never has been, a tool aimed at that market for serious use (albeit it can do it using the RAW extension), it is primarily and foremost an image manipulation tool and excels in that role. None of the afore mentioned tools are aimed at manipulation, rather they are adjustment and filter tools with abilities for dust and scratch removal too in most cases. Most professional photographers will be adept at using both of these kinds of tools, adjustment and manipulation, when needed. Using the right tool for the job is half the work, as we all know.
  • Reply 9 of 39
    xixoxixo Posts: 421member
    Hopefully by the time Flash is 25 it will be dead.

    Adobe's arrogance will be their undoing. They don't seem to fully comprehend how InDesign killed Quark.

    If Quark hadn't stopped listening to their customers, InDesign never would have prevailed.

    Quark had been the standard, but two years after the introduction of InDesign, Quark was dead in the market.
  • Reply 10 of 39
    mpantonempantone Posts: 1,375member

    Three of the original Photoshop team members, including programmer Thomas Knoll, are in a panel discussion tonight at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. It might be interesting to hear. Too bad they don't stream events online.

  • Reply 11 of 39
    garypgaryp Posts: 150member
    Photoshop certainly dominates professional image editing, but not because it's good software. It is an unwieldy dinosaur and hardly intuitive to learn & use. I eagerly anticipate the modern capable contenders that will dethrone Photoshop. I have used it for 16 years, but I will buy & support the first adequate replacement. And, I will Never Never rent software. Death to Adobe CC!
  • Reply 12 of 39
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by xixo View Post



    Quark had been the standard, but two years after the introduction of InDesign, Quark was dead in the market.

    Drop shadows, native Photoshop files, bezier containers, gradients, transparency, Quark importer, copy and paste between Illustrator and Photoshop, much better printing dialog settings, and much more. Quark was just outclassed by a huge margin. I think Adobe fully comprehends how inDesign killed Quark. 

     

    We got the first version of inDesign as a free upgrade to Pagemaker.

     

    The last version of Quark I bought was 6.5. I have no idea what version they are on now or what its capabilities are. I get spam from them regularly but I just delete it unread. The professional DTP industry is standardized on CC and for that reason any competitor would have to release an entire suite that was so much better that the pros would switch. I just don't see a start up company being able to do that. Perhaps a company like Apple could but they have a lousy track record in that department.

  • Reply 13 of 39

    For those who used both Adobe Illustrator and Macromedia Freehand, which Adobe bought only to kill, know how much better Freehand was. Unlike Illustrator, where you were only able to draw in outline mode then render in color, Freehand was able to draw and render simultaneously. Freehand continued to outperform Illustrator in features and speed until Adobe bought it to kill it.

     

    I'm not sure if anyone here remembers DaVinci Systems, it's now owned by Black Magic and are using it for it's originally intended purpose, video editing and compositing. DaVinci had another side to it, photo editing which I believe was eventually purchased by Linotype then Heidelberg. DaVinci could've easily become the Photoshop killer we've all been waiting for. It was unbelievable back in the 90's even when compared to the latest version of Photoshop, it had unlimited undos on every file even after you've exited the program, you could turn off/on single events in your history timeline or even move them around, you can edit any entry as if it were a vector stroke, everything can be edited and changed. Too bad they only focused on vertical markets, in 1996 a DaVinci machine cost about $50K and training was $4K, my boss was like we could buy 10x Macs with everything for the price of one DaVinci. Unfortunately he was right.

  • Reply 14 of 39
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post





    Adobe, the company, has at various times been Apple's greatest ally and undoubtedly the knife in the Apple's back. I would never say their software was dreadful though.

     

    I would say they wrote some of the worst software on the planet. The UI design is dreadful, and often very un-mac like. Buggy as hell. But worst of all (for me personally) they killed off my two favourite apps. Fireworks and Freehand which I will never forgive them for. They effectively killed off Flash too by trying to take over the web with it. I actually used to like Flash back in the mid nineties, as I was a Flash developer for 5 or so years. Glad to see the back of that nonsense though.

  • Reply 15 of 39
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

     

    For those who used both Adobe Illustrator and Macromedia Freehand, which Adobe bought only to kill, know how much better Freehand was. Unlike Illustrator, where you were only able to draw in outline mode then render in color, Freehand was able to draw and render simultaneously. Freehand continued to outperform Illustrator in features and speed until Adobe bought it to kill it.


    This is not the way I see it all. Illustrator was a different sort of tool than Freehand. Freehand was sort of a hybrid vector drawing with page layout features. No question that designers were able to create some fabulous art with it, but Freehand did not play well with other page layout applications such as Pagemaker and Quark. In order to import a FH drawing it had to be converted to an EPS file. Freehand made terrible Postscript. It was a film ripping nightmare. It took literally 5x more work to output a document with FH links than with Illustrator links.

     

    To the other point of Adobe buying it to kill it. That is complete nonsense. Illustrator had a larger market share by a huge margin. Also there were some legal issues as to to who actually owned the copyright to FH as it had changed hands so many times. Had Adobe thought that Freehand was a better application than Illustrator they would have made it their default application but they didn't, however they did make it a free download. An example of that concept would be that when they bought Macromedia they ditched their own GoLive and made Dreamweaver the default and replaced their animation app, whatever it was called, with Flash.

  • Reply 16 of 39
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

     
    I actually used to like Flash back in the mid nineties, as I was a Flash developer for 5 or so years. Glad to see the back of that nonsense though.


    I use Flash for only one purpose now. We have these 1080p monitors which we mount vertically at our trade show booth. I use Flash to create presentations for them. They look great as all the text is vector. I export the Flash as a projector file including commands to make it run full screen, loop and rotate 90 degrees. I do not know of any other tool that will do this project as well so I use Flash. Really simple, easy to edit and I can program it to do features like loop one section 3 times then jump to another section, etc.

  • Reply 17 of 39

    I started on PS in the mid 90s, I think maybe 3.0.  It was overpriced back then (probably even more so than now).  I'm really thrilled to see small companies cropping up and making apps that are extremely competitive with Adobe's features but that cost 1/10th of the price (e.g. Pixelmator).

     

    I'm sure larger design firms  will continue to support Adobe for now, but young artists don't have to pay through the nose any more, and those same young artists will be running the larger design firms eventually.  I think that's what will ultimately kill the Adobe graphics monopoly.  It's grown too bloated and is too distant from its users.

  • Reply 18 of 39
    Happy birthday, Photoshop!

    I've been using you since 1994, just before layers were a thing (version 2.5) and I remember watching one of the 'old hands' show me how to combine two images with a blending mode using Calculations under the Edit menu. It's still there, but layers have replaced it's functionality for me.

    Since one of these articles isn't complete without commenting on adobe's business practices, count me in with the satisfied adobe customers. They have made missteps. And maybe taken too long to right the ship (flash & standards-based wed tools) but they have come around nicely. I find their direction satisfying and I consider them a good partner in my business.
  • Reply 19 of 39

    Christ, I can't believe I've used PhoShop for over 15 years now.  I use both illustrator and photoshop on a daily basis, I couldn't imagine being stuck using something like gimp, what a royal pos.  

  • Reply 20 of 39



    As a longtime Quark user that was waiting for years to see a OS X version of it, I'd have to say Quark killed itself.  InDesign simply stepped over the still warm body and grabbed the mic.  When CEO Fred Ebrahimi exclaimed that "the Macintosh platform is shrinking," and suggested that anyone dissatisfied with Quark's Mac commitment should "switch to something else"...we did.

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