Feeds

Adobe Photoshop celebrates big 2-0

What a long, layered trip it's been

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Exactly 20 years ago today - Wednesday, February 24 - the first stable version of Adobe Photoshop was released into the wild. At 728 kilobytes, it fit on a single floppy disk.

To gain some insight into Photoshop's origins, we sat down with long-time Photoshop expert, author, and teacher David Biedny between his Photoshop sessions at the recent Macworld Expo in San Francisco.

Before Photoshop became Adobe Photoshop, when creators Tom and John Knoll were trying to find a home for it, Biedny was working with Mac developer SuperMac, then-publisher of PixelPaint, the first color paint app for the Apple Macintosh. "John Knoll had gone to [SuperMac] as one of the first companies that he wanted to pitch Photoshop to," Biedny told us, "and the director of product development there sent me a copy and said, 'What do you think of this?'

"The disk arrived in my office on a Friday afternoon in a FedEx envelope, and I put it on my Mac II...and by the time I came up for air it was Saturday morning."

That was the reaction many photo folks experienced - including your Reg reporter - when first encountering the app that not only changed photography forever, but which eventually gained the ultimate honor: it became a verb, a distinction reserved for such game-changers as Xerox and, yes, Google.

Photoshop 1.0.7 splash screen

It was 20 years ago today...

Unfortunately for SuperMac - and fortunately for Adobe - the PixelPaint publishers turned Knoll down, reportedly because they didn't see how Photoshop could coexist with that color paint program.

But Photoshop wasn't the original image editor. "People will always remember Photoshop as the image editor, but the reality is that before Photoshop came on the scene, there had been a long history of graphics-editing software, really starting in many ways with a program called The Realist," Biedny told The Reg.

The developers of The Realist, Mark Zimmer and Tom Hedges, eventually sold the app to Letraset of FontStudio fame, which transformed it into ImageStudio, which morphed into ColorStudio - and there were things about ColorStudio, according to Biedny, that Photoshop was never able to replicate, such as a vector-based layer that sat on top of the bitmap that could be selectively rasterized and printed out with a fine-grained anti-aliasing.

While The Realist was going through its metamorphosis into ColorStudio, Photoshop's creators Thomas and John Knoll were developing the precursor to Photoshop - which was originally known as Display and then ImagePro after such tools as gamma correction were added.

The origin of the name Photoshop, according to Biedny, is obscure. "Tom said somebody - he hasn't mentioned who - gave him the name, but he hasn't really gone on the record to say who. And actually Adobe had done some work to try to figure out what to name it, but ended up going with the Photoshop name because at that point it already, kind of covertly, had recognition."

The Photoshop name took a left turn when scanner manufacturer Barneyscan licensed the app (version 0.87) in 1989 to bundle with their slide scanners, dubbing it Barneyscan XP. The deal was short-lived, with only around 200 copies shipped.

But that small seeding was important in one major way - one that explained how the Photoshop name had "covertly" gained recognition: the copy of Barneyscan XP/Photoshop that was included with the company's slide scanners wasn't copy-protected, and pirated copies soon began illegally wending their way around the graphics community.

The proverbial cat was out of the proverbial bag - but Photoshop had already been making its mark not in the graphics community, but among filmmakers.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Next page: Into The Abyss

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Facebook, Google and Instagram 'worse than drugs' says Miley Cyrus
Italian boffins agree with popette's theory that haters are the real wrecking balls
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.