Photoshop Turns 25
Yesterday on February 19th, Adobe Photoshop celebrated its 25th birthday. It’s hard to believe that 25 years ago the first version of the venerable photo manipulation software was launched.
While it probably doesn't get the attention that other important innovations of the late 20th century get, such as the personal computer, Photoshop is still one of the most influential inventions of the time. When you think about how much of the visual world we live in today has been influenced by computer graphics in one way or another, from advertising to movies, and much of that can be traced back to Photoshop.
Photoshop certainly changed my life. I don’t think I would be doing what I’m doing today without having encountered Photoshop early in my career. It was one of two pieces of software that had profound influence on me when I was younger. The other being Lightwave 3d.
I came to photography from Photoshop rather than the other way around. I worked as an assistant to a photographer, and I would often have to scan slides and negatives and touch them up. Photoshop was an eye opener for me, into a wider world of computer graphics. It encouraged me to seek a career in graphic design, and later motion graphics and visual effects.
Photoshop wasn’t the first graphics program I used. That honour fell to the classic Deluxe Paint on the Commodore Amiga. Deluxe paint opened my eyes to the possibility of what one could achieve with computer graphics. Photoshop on the other hand was a whole different ball game. For the first time (for me anyway) you could manipulate high resolution images in full photographic quality. This was mind blowing for me at the time, coming from the world of Deluxe paint and the Amiga.
My first version of Photoshop was 2.5 LE which I got with a Umax scanner (remember them!) on my first (well, it was my brother’s) Macintosh, a Quadra 7100 AV. It’s changed so much since then, and yet looking back at old screenshots, it’s still certainly familiar.
Today, I certainly don’t use Photoshop to its full potential. I’m not great at compositing, although it’s something I want to do more of. I still use it mostly use it for touching up and enhancing photogaphs.
Lately, Photoshop has been getting a reputation as something of a bloated application, and its certainly showing the weight of its heritage. There are numerous new competitors which are faster and newer, and yet, nothing has the full toolset and power of Photoshop. It’s a testament to the original developers of the enduring legacy of their creation. So Happy Birthday Photoshop, and thank you. Here’s to another 25 years.