Perhaps no other software has had such a profound impact in the creative spheres of photography, publishing and designing like Adobe Photoshop. Not only is it one of the most recognised software brands in the world, with tens of millions of users, it is the go-to application for digital image manipulation across all media, from print to film to the web. So much so, that the software has become a part of our cultural consciousness in that ‘photoshopping’ is now a buzzword for all types of image manipulation. The moot point is that Photoshop is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month and it is pertinent to trace the imaging software’s technological innovation over these years and how it has inspired artists and designers to craft images of stunning beauty and reality-bending creativity.
How it all began
In 1980s, getting a photograph in and out of a computer was difficult because scanners sold for tens of thousands of dollars and printers and monitors had little capacity to produce high-resolution images. In 1987, Thomas Knoll developed a pixel imaging program called Display. It was 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 programme eventually caught the attention of industry influencers, and in 1989, Adobe made the decision to licence the software, naming it Photoshop and shipping the first version in 1990.
“Adobe thought we would sell about 500 copies of Photoshop a month,” said 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.”
“Photoshop has redefined the way creative professionals work across the globe,” said Umang Bedi, MD, India & South Asia, Adobe. “The imaging software touches virtually all the inspirational imagery that surrounds us every day: the logo on our morning cup of coffee; the perfectly cropped photo in the newspaper; the characters in the digital games; the sleek design of the hand-held device; to the pattern on the clothes we wear all are touched through Photoshop,” he told FE in a recent interaction.
According to Bedi, the secret of Photoshop’s massive 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.
Photoshop, that has become a much-used every day-language verb, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month. Bedi said, “When a noun turns into a verb; you know it has made a big difference in the world! And that’s exactly what Photoshop has done in the world of software. This image-editing programme that was created when we snapped pictures on film and displayed them on paper has not just thrived, but led in every major technological transition in its lifetime.”
Ever since its first shipment, Photoshop has remained extremely nimble and agile— from the Web to inkjet printers to digital cameras. “Designers working for newspapers, magazines and other industries that used presses were amongst the privileged few to benefit from Photoshop in early 1990s. But over these years, Photoshop has navigated the market very intelligently. Steering through its old versions to encapsulate the newest digital-age image editing tools, Photoshop has become a part of a cultural phenomenon and continues to blaze a trail with innovations and new features that make life of creatives everywhere around the world, more productive,” said the Adobe India MD.
Leading the ‘next’ for creative economy
Here are some trends that have the real potential to influence the future of design. In fact, there are clear signs these trends are already starting to have an impact on cutting edge design. And as Adobe Photoshop celebrates its 25th anniversary, it leads on all these trends and gives creatives immense power to create anytime anywhere!
According to Bedi, the paper napkin will become digital. “Today designers are being released from the confines of their desktops and their offices, and are going out and seeking inspiration from the world around them. No matter where they are, a coffee shop or a park, on their phones or their tablets, they are able to start doing work that is not just for play, but accessing real and powerful tools that let them tap into the environment around them.”
Moreover, the design process will start with mobile. It is mobile first now. And anything in the future of design will have mobile and tablet as the first thought before anything else, stressed the Adobe India MD.
In addition, design will get (even more) personal. Photoshop today enables the world’s brands and creative professionals express themselves and reach their audience. Brands today need to communicate creatively through the numerous forms of brand imagery.
“In future, design will not be for a broad mass, but will be personalised.
It will be targeted to deliver unique
experience to every individual it touches. This is a big opportunity for brands and designers, to engage at the most personal level with each member of the audience,” said Bedi.