Adobe Photoshop turns 30 today, and to look back on how far the photo-editing software has come, check out what version 1.0 of Photoshop looked like on a 1-bit 1986 Macintosh Plus computer with 8MHz CPU and 4MB RAM. Uploaded by user j0han1, the video is actually sped up two times because the original video exceeded the 10-minute YouTube video limit back in 2009 when it was uploaded (another testament to how long ago 11 years was, let alone 30). That means the waiting around for certain features like blurring and the image loading actually took twice as long. Still, it’s fascinating to see that a lot of the features we still use today were introduced since the very beginning of the software’s launch.
Photoshop as we know it today is a powerhouse tool that’s capable of advanced image manipulation. It’s given way to everything from professional photo editing to memes and gifts like Photoshop battles, but it’s also opened the gates for bad actors to take advantage of it to spread misinformation. The software’s gotten so powerful that Adobe has had to think about ways to take responsibility, from previewing AI features that can tell when an image has been manipulated, to introducing the Content Authenticity Initiative that aims to verify image sources online.
Created by brothers John Knoll, who works at Industrial Light & Magic, and Thomas Knoll, a doctorate student in computer vision, Photoshop was licensed to Adobe and officially launched on February 19th, 1990. You can watch Knoll recreate the first demo he ever gave with Photoshop above. Knoll also briefly works on the world’s first photoshopped image (though Adobe doesn’t want you to use that word, because it puts them in danger of losing their trademark), which is a photo of his wife in Bora Bora.
Though the UI layout and toolbar from back then look remarkably similar to today, Photoshop didn’t introduce layers until four years after it was released. The timeline below shows which features were added over the years to create the Photoshop we use today. To celebrate the birthday, Adobe is releasing improvements to Photoshop on the desktop and iPad, which can be seen in full on the blog. Highlights include improved content aware fill, dark UI support in macOS, and the object selection tool and type settings coming to the iPad.