In 1987, Thomas Knoll developed a pixel imaging program called Display, a simple program to showcase grayscale 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 1989, Adobe made the decision to license the software, naming it Photoshop and shipping the first version in 1990.
“Adobe thought we’d sell about 500 copies of Photoshop a month,” recalls Thomas Knoll, Adobe Fellow and Photoshop co-creator.
“Not in my wildest dreams did we think creatives would embrace the product in the numbers and ways they have.
“It’s inspiring to see the beautiful images our customers create, the careers Photoshop has launched and the new uses people all over the world find for Photoshop every day.”
Now, 25 years on, Photoshop touches virtually all the inspirational imagery that surrounds us: the high-impact logo on your morning cup of coffee; the new app you download on your iPhone; the sleek design of your running shoes; the Hollywood blockbuster that you’ll see tonight.
“For 25 years, Photoshop has inspired artists and designers to craft images of stunning beauty and reality-bending creativity,” says Shantanu Narayen, CEO and president, Adobe.
“From desktop publishing, to fashion photography, movie production, website design, mobile app creation and now 3D Printing, Photoshop continues to redefine industries and creative possibilities.
“And today that Photoshop magic is available to millions of new users, thanks to Adobe Creative Cloud.”
Narayen says Photoshop is one of the most recognised software brands in the world with tens of millions of users, and is the go-to application for digital image manipulation across all media: from print, to film, to the Web.
Narayen believes the secret of Photoshop’s popularity has been its constantly evolving capabilities and an “incredible pipeline” of deep image science.
“This pipeline of innovation is now getting to customers faster than ever before, with Photoshop and Lightroom desktop and mobile apps constantly updated, as part of Adobe Creative Cloud,” he adds.