History of Adobe Photoshop

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  • Topic: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Creative Suite, Image editing
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  • Published : July 9, 2012
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HISTORY OF ADOBE PHOTOSHOP
Brief Photoshop Timeline

1987 Thomas Knoll begins writing graphics subroutines on a Mac Plus.

1987 Thomas teams up with his brother John and combines these subroutines into an app. called "Display."

1988 Refined version of Display becomes "ImagePro."

1989 BarneyScan licenses the application to bundle with their slide scanner. About 200 copies are shipped.

1989 Adobe strikes a deal to license what becomes known as Photoshop. They begin 10 months of product development.

1990 Photoshop 1.0 ships in February.

1990 Version 2.0, code name "Fast Eddy," ships in the fall.

1993 Version 2.5.1 is released. One of the first apps to run native on a PowerPC chip. Also first release of Windows version (April, 93).

1994 Version 3.0 ships with the "Layers" capability.

1996 Version 4.0 ships. Controversial key commands are changed.

1998 Version 5.0, which includes the "History"palette, ships.

1999 Version 5.5 ships: the first true "web ready" version of the app. The story of one of the original "killer apps" begins in Ann Arbor, Michigan (USA) with a college professor named Glenn Knoll. Glenn was a photo enthusiast who maintained a darkroom in the family basement. He was also a technology aficionado intrigued by the emergence of the personal computer. His two sons, Thomas and John, inherited their father's inquisitive nature. And the vision for future greatness began with their exposure to Glenn's basement darkroom and with the Apple II Plus that he brought home for research projects. "Photography was a hobby of mine in high school," explained Thomas in an interview for the Michigan Engineer. "In dad's darkroom, I learned how to make black-and-white and color prints, how to balance color and contrast." While Thomas learned about image manipulation in the basement darkroom, John was attracted to the odd-shaped box known as a personal computer that his dad had brought home. "The first real computer I ever actually sat down and used was in 1978. I was a 16-year-old high school student when my dad got an Apple II Plus with 64k of RAM," John recalls during an interview for his AppleMastersbiography. "Another memory that is really fixed in my mind" John adds, "was in 1984 when I picked up a copy of Time magazine that had a little article about the Macintosh, and I thought, wow, look at this thing!" A couple of months later Mr. Knoll had purchased one of the first Macs available on the open market. Even though Thomas loved hands-on darkroom work, he too had a keen interest in computers and programming. In 1987 he purchased an Apple Macintosh Plus to help him with his Ph.D. work on the "processing of digital images." Much to his disappointment, the Mac couldn't display gray-scale levels in his images. To solve that problem, Thomas wrote a subroutine to simulate the gray-scale effect. Thomas's work led to more subroutines and chunks of image programming. These bits of computer magic caught John's attention during a visit he paid to Ann Arbor while on vacation from his job at Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) in Marin, California. "The work Thomas was doing had to do with how a computer could recognize a predefined object in a digitized picture," John recalls in an interview with Terrence Masson for the book, "CG 101: A Computer Graphics Industry Reference". "Image processing is the fundamental basis of any of that kind of work, and Tom had written a bunch of image processing tools," John adds. "As Tom showed me his work, it struck me how similar it was to the image processing tools on the Pixar [image computer John had just seen a graphics demo on at ILM]." "There were a bunch of command line driven shell tools much like the Unix C shell command line interface of the Pixar." Shortly there after, John and Thomas pulled these pieces of code together and Thomas built an amazing little application called "Display."

John Knoll.
Photo by Jeff Schewe.
"I was delighted," John said, "but I...
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