20 years of Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is almost synonymous with photo editing. It is the Xerox of photo-editing. There are many photo-editing applications out there which are considered Photoshop alternatives, but never really termed as Photoshop beaters. Photoshop – just like Google –  is a verb now. Gone are the days where people used to  say the photo is doctored. The new phrase is ‘it’s heavily photoshopped’.

This week Photoshop celebrated it’s 20th anniversary. This is how it all started.

In 1987, Thomas Knoll developed a pixel imaging program called Display. It was a simple program to showcase greyscale images on a black-and-white monitor. However, after collaborating with his brother John Knoll, the two began adding features that made it possible to process digital image files. The program eventually caught the attention of industry influencers, and in 1988, Adobe made the decision to license the software, naming it Photoshop, and shipping the first version in 1990.

“Twenty years ago, Adobe predicted that it would sell 500 copies of Photoshop per month,” said Thomas Knoll, co-creator of Photoshop at Adobe.

With 400,000 Facebook fans and growing, it now enjoys a cult status in the digital image manipulation world. Photoshop makes the impossible possible. Photoshop makes Princess Diana lonely at Taj Mahal, absolves Diego Maradona of his infamous handball and changes Geri Halliwell’s dress.

It is hard to put a finger on what is the best use or best industry for Photoshop. From publishing, advertising to movie making it is used everywhere. Avatar is the latest and the biggest showcase for Photoshop and Adobe Suite. Here’s how they did it. Avatar used Photoshop extensively and it helped Avatar movie makers to create a brand new world. Here’s what Avatar’s producer Jon Landau has to say :

Certain software enables you to do your job. Other software allows you to do your job better. Adobe has come up with a suite of software that allows us to do our jobs better.

Photoshop’s popularity is immeasurable. But if we have to measure it, 6 million downloads for an iPhone app with the minimal capabilities should be a good indicator. Along with the sales, piracy is a good indicator of the popularity in digital age. Photoshop is considered to be the most pirated software after Microsoft Windows. Take that for popularity.