Whether you see it as an amazing creative tool or the root of all digital fakery, it is now hard to imagine a world without Photoshop, 25 years old this week.
It all began in 1987 when Thomas Knoll created a simple program to enhance images on his black and white monitor. Then, after working with his brother to make it possible to process digital image files, their work caught the attention of Adobe and Photoshop was born. The first version was licensed and shipped in 1990. Twenty-five years on and the evolution of the Knoll brothers’ program has become so ubiquitous that its name is now a verb.
To mark the 25th anniversary, Adobe has released a film paying homage to the motion picture and entertainment industries, which will first air on TV during the 87th Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday. Created by Adobe’s ad agency, Goodby Silverstein & Partners, the spot showcases enhanced images from movies including Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon 2, The Hobbit, and Avatar. Set to the Aerosmith track, “Dream On,” the film also features work by members of Adobe’s creative community.
The company says more than 70 artists, designers, illustrators, and photographers collaborated on the campaign, with images selected from the Adobe-owned creative portfolio platform, Behance. Only Photoshop files were used, which were then animated layer by layer.
Alongside the celebratory campaign, Adobe is also launching a search for 25 of the most creative visual artists (who use Photoshop in some way, of course) aged under 25.
To be considered, artists must upload their work to Behance and use the tag Ps25Under25. The winners will each stage a two-week takeover of Photoshop’s Instagram channel.
Now an Adobe Fellow, the young Thomas Knoll could hardly have imagined what his creation would become or that tens of millions would use it. “Adobe thought we’d sell about 500 copies of Photoshop a month,” he said in a statement. “Not in my wildest dreams did we think creatives would embrace the product in the numbers and ways they have.”