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Friday, 19 February 2010 10:47

Photoshop turns 20

February 19, 2010 is the 20th anniversary of Photoshop, a program that changed the way many creative professionals work.

One of the signs that a product has become part of everyday life for a significant part of the population is its name being used as a verb. "I must Hoover the loungeroom", "Xerox that article for me, please", or "I Googled him before our first date."

Or "That picture was obviously Photoshopped."

It's the 20th anniversary of Adobe Photoshop's arrival, and very early in those two decades it became the tool for pro image editing.

Originally developed by Thomas Knoll and his brother John Knoll (who is even better known for his work as a visual effects supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic - think Avatar, Pirates of the Caribbean, and multiple Star Wars and Star Trek titles), Photoshop quickly became the software of choice  for those who needed to prepare photographs and some other types of image for publication or printing.

As early as 1991, Photoshop was in everyday use at the publishing company where I worked. Even though it shipped (as I recall) on a couple of floppy disks, its feature set made it stand out.

What made Photoshop special? Please read on.

From its early days, an important part of Photoshop's appeal was its support for plug-ins, allowing Adobe and third-party developers to add capabilities without changing the program itself.

Over the years, features were progressively added to Photoshop, making it more and more flexible and useful. Significant changes included the arrival of layers, multiple undos, editable text, the healing brush, and support for RAW files.

Today, Photoshop is more widely used than ever. To mark the anniversary, Adobe pulled together messages of congratulation from users in a variety of fields.

Dennis Publishing art editor Russell Clarke said "Dennis Publishing is proud to have used Adobe Photoshop for well over a decade. Across all our titles be they print, Web, or eMags the applications of Photoshop are so diverse and its ability to transform ideas into popular brands so powerful, it has become the only real option for any publisher or modern designer."

Orange County Choppers senior designer Jason Pohl said "The power of Adobe Photoshop allows our creative process to be natural and responsive, which in turn, makes our design process more streamlined."

Adventure photographer Tyler Stableford said "Photoshop has opened an entirely new plane of creativity in my photography career. And equally importantly, it has fuelled my enthusiasm as a digital artist. Thanks, Photoshop, and happy 20th!"


Pure West Films CEO Juan Carlos Pineiro Escoriaza said "I don't know what I would do without Photoshop and the flexibility it allows me to have in creating motion graphics for my projects. Congratulations on 20 years of impeccable service to us, the artists, who thrive using the software."

There are probably some people around who don't like Photoshop, and many more (especially amateurs) who can't afford it. But Photoshop is part of a select group of applications (Lotus 1-2-3 was another) that significantly changed the way people use computers.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.



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