Adobe Photoshop: The First 10 Years


As we near the 20 year anniversary of Photoshop on Feb. 18, 2010, I have a special treat to add to the festivities. Ten years ago, with the help of Erin McCabe and Glenn Knoll, I published an article titled, From Darkroom to Desktop -- How Photoshop Came to Light.

To celebrate two decades of greatness, you can download the PDF of that original article that includes some terrific old Photoshop toolbars, application icons, history of Photoshop timeline, and photos of the Knoll brothers shot by Jeff Schewe.

One of my favorite passages in the article tells how the foundation was poured for what would become photography's killer application:

The story of one of the original "killer apps" begins in Ann Arbor, Michigan with a college professor named Glenn Knoll. Glenn was a photo enthusiast who maintained a darkroom in the family basement. He was also a technology aficionado intrigued by the emergence of the personal computer. His two sons, Thomas and John, inherited their father's inquisitive nature. And the vision for future greatness began with their exposure to Glenn's basement darkroom and with the Apple II Plus that he brought home for research projects.

The rest, as they say, is history.


I was a tutor at university and trained the students in Aldus Photostyler 1.0 for Windows 3.1 in 1991. Did Aldus Photostyler become Photoshop for PC in 1992? Aldus had Photostyler (Photoshop), Freehand (Illustrator) and Pagemaker. Did Adobe buy Aldus to get this technology? Photostyler was exactly like Photoshop and Freehand was exactly like Illustrator. Did Adobe license the technology first for Mac and then make a PC version in 1992? maybe someone can send an answer in. Thanks -

Freehand was acquired by MacroMedia, Adobe did not get it until a few years later when they bought MacroMedia.

FreeHand competed with Illustrator and had many deferent tools and ways of doing things. Many designers preferred FreeHand to Illustrator but it never got the user base and was not updated properly which encouraged Illustrator growth. Further, FreeHand was not seeded all over the art colleges and other schools like Illustrator was so a generation of designers and illustrators grew up not knowing about or using Freehand which further diminished its user base.