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Adobe Photoshop turns 26: chart its history from version 1.0 to CC 2015

Chris Brandrick and Michael Burns | March 1, 2016
Adobe Photoshop started life back in the late eighties when PhD student Thomas Knoll was working on his thesis - a work detailing the processing of digital images. This work evolved and in 1987 Thomas proceeded to develop an image-processing program for his Mac.

Adobe Photoshop, the industry-standard image editor and home of the PSD document format, started life back in the late eighties when PhD student Thomas Knoll was working on his thesis - a work detailing the processing of digital images. This work evolved and in 1987 Thomas proceeded to develop an image-processing program for his Mac.

This application was created to work with greyscale images, and over a short period of time Thomas developed it further, adding new digital editing processes. It didn't take long before his brother John Knoll was intrigued by the program, dubbed Display.

John, who was working at George Lucas' Industrial Light & Magic, suggested to his brother that they turned Display into a more feature-rich fully-fledged image editing program. From here the two worked together, combining Thomas' engineering background with the design experience of his brother.

By 1988 the program had changed dramatically, with a whole host of new features and some name changes, first to ImagePro, then to Photoshop. The Knolls decided to give the project another six months, complete a beta and attempt to sell it commercially with the help of the big guns in Silicon Valley.

One company decided to give Photoshop a go, but it wasn't Adobe. A company called BarneyScan was the first to take to the brothers' software, deciding to include around 200 licensed copies of the program with its scanner hardware. It wasn't long before Adobe did become aware of the potential that Photoshop offered. In September of 1988 John Knoll gave a presentation to Adobe's internal creative team, and the rest is history.

New Kid On The Block - Adobe Photoshop 1.0

After the brothers struck a deal with Adobe their product saw an additional ten months of development time.

Finally, in February of 1990, version 1.0 of Photoshop was ready and launched exclusively for the Macintosh. It quickly defined what an image editing program should be - an impressive feat considering it only featured four named programmers on its splash screen, a stark contrast to today.

If you want to see the very first version of Photoshop in action, but with a modern twist, then check out this video of version 1.0 running on an iPhone.

Colour The Path - Adobe Photoshop 2.0

The second version of Photoshop, codenamed Fast Eddy, arrived in June of 1991 bringing with it a whole host of new features, colour splash screen included.

Version 2.0 demanded double the RAM of its predecessor, requiring 4MB to run. A brief round-up of the features added in version 2.0 include the Path tool, the Pen tool. support for CMYK, and EPS rasterisation.

 

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