Adobe is celebrating 25 years of Photoshop, the world’s most-used image editing software.
Adobe Photoshop 1.0 appeared on computer screens for the first time, and has since evolved into the most widely-used programme in the image editing and pre-press industries. For the majority of professional designers, Photoshop has been a loyal companion at work for years.
Photoshop and its associated applications have also won a place on the desktop and mobile devices of hobbyists. The following chronology describes the development of a software, and illustrates the digital transformation of the past two and a half decades:
1987 : US student Thomas Knoll, distracts himself from his doctoral thesis by writing an image viewer for black/white monitors, which his brother further develops for image editing.
1989: Emerging graphics software company Adobe is thrilled with the viewer, acquiring the license to the programme and working with the Knoll brothers on a final version, called ‘Photoshop’.
1990: Monitors on, eyes open! Adobe delivers version 1.0 of Photoshop, initially, and for several years, exclusively for Mac computers. It quickly becomes a sales hit. Print products are increasingly prepared on the computer. Photoshop’s intuitive interface means photos can be digitised and optimised for the print industry extremely conveniently with scanners— still relatively rare at the time.
1991: The second final version of Photoshop supports path tools and the CMYK colour model— the technological basis for modern four-colour printing.
1992: Version 2.5 sounds like a smaller step forward, but is actually a milestone: as well as the Mac version, Photoshop is available for Windows PCs for the first time.
1994: With Photoshop 3.0’s layer technology, Adobe introduces a feature that has become a standard in image editing today. The ability to edit various image elements on separate layers makes editing much easier. If a change goes awry, it’s only necessary to correct the respective layer, and not the entire project.
1998: Another popular Photoshop feature makes its debut: with version 5.0, users can undo multiple editing steps simply by using the change history. Also, Adobe integrates a colour management system, so a separate tool is no longer necessary.
1999: With version 5.5, Photoshop users are online faster— as the Internet is increasingly used. For the first time, Photoshop offers the convenient option to compress image quality for viewing in a browser with the ‘Save for We’ menu item. Additionally, the programme ImageReady 1.0 is delivered with Photoshop, so web graphics can be optimised even more extensively.
2001: Digital cameras start to take off. With Photoshop Elements 1.0, Adobe releases the predecessor of the popular programme series for amateur photo enthusiasts who want to correct lighting, remove red-eye or straighten the horizon in their digital photos as easily as possible. Elements is similarly powerful as the ‘full’ Photoshop but, to the delight of the less technically-inclined, more intuitive.
2002: Photoshop remains the flagship of the Adobe photo software range, and continues to set standards with new functions in the third millennium. Arriving in Photoshop 7.0, the Healing Brush permits the near-automatic retouching of problem areas of an image: skin blemishes and crow’s feet disappear with just a few clicks. Just as other Photoshop functions, the Healing Brush has become a classic.
2003: Even professionals are increasingly abandoning their analogue cameras and shooting digitally. The Photoshop plugin, Camera Raw, becomes a mandatory tool for many demanding photographers, allowing access to more creative control of a camera’s raw data. Camera Raw has been an integral part of Photoshop since the eighth final version. And yet another milestone: Adobe bundles Photoshop with other design and graphic applications as the Creative Suite (CS), as these applications are increasingly seeing parallel use in the creative world now.
2005: With Creative Suite 2, Photoshop supports Smart Objects and HDR images. Photoshop users can manage photos and other files centrally in the auxiliary Adobe Bridge programme for the first time.
2007: Further growth for the creative family: Photoshop Lightroom 1.0 celebrates its debut. The all-in-one solution meets the professional demands of photographers, providing efficient workflows for editing, managing and publishing raw camera data. The new version of Photoshop is also a milestone: new, more powerful 3D, video, animation, and image analysis functions introduced with Photoshop CS3 Extended mean doctors, scientists, engineers, architects and other professionals discover the image editing software as an advanced tool.
Image processing goes networked and mobile: Photoshop enters the Cloud, enabling modern creative experiences
2009: Smartphones make their breakthrough. Consumers now increasingly want to access their image collections and edit photos on the go. With Photoshop.com Mobile, Adobe releases popular image-editing features as an App for iPhones and Android devices. On Google Play alone, the App, now named Adobe Photoshop Express, has already been downloaded over 10,000,000 times.
2012: Adobe introduces Creative Cloud with Photoshop as a central component, creating a modern tool box for working in a networked and mobile world. As with Creative Suite, users access a portfolio of high-performance graphics and design programs. However, they are no longer bound to a desk: now they can sync projects seamlessly — via the Web — between desktop and mobile applications, such as the new smartphone and tablet app, Photoshop Touch.
2014: Powerful updates expand the Creative Cloud into a diverse eco-system, for Photoshop users, too, who get even more creative mobile possibilities with Lightroom mobile and Photoshop Mix. The new personal user account, Creative Profile, makes it easier to synchronise results across linked devices. An integrated online marketplace for templates speeds up the design process. The link with the Behance creative network makes it easier for digital artists to present their work on the Web.
2015: In this Jubilee year, Photoshop offers users more ways than ever before to express their creative ideas: on the desktop (Photoshop CC, Lightroom and Photoshop Elements 13), on mobile devices (Photoshop Touch, Photoshop Mix, Lightroom mobile, Photoshop Express) and online (Photoshop.com). Recently, Adobe announced the integration of stock photo service Fotolia into the Cloud, so Photoshop users will enjoy easy access to 35 million photos, graphics and videos.