Twenty years ago today, Adobe Photoshop 1.0 was released. And it changed the world as we saw it. Because it literally edited our vision.
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Photoshop is the invisible hand that touches everything around us. From advertising and commercials to the front page of magazines and political propaganda; going through motion pictures and art, Photoshop is everywhere, pushing the limits of reality, and morphing the world around us to fit what companies want us to believe, buy, and enjoy.
Back in 1987, when Tom and John Knoll created it, nothing could have predicted the deep impact this tool would have in our lives. At that time, there was photo manipulation, but it was reserved to a knowledgeable few, using airbrushes - which required a lot of expertise - and the first Quantel paint boxes - which required lots of money and training.
Photoshop - running on the first colour Macs, accelerated by graphic cards by Radius and RasterOps - democratised all this. Image editing became accepted as a tool, and as the power of the machines increased, everything started to become possible for everyone. Like the first industrial oil paintings democratized art in the 19th century - with Cezanne, Monet, Gauguin and VanGogh quickly taking advantage of the new cheap medium - Photoshop became the new inexpensive way to create new realities and alter the world surrounding us.
When Photoshop 3.0 introduced layers, things got even more dramatic. Together with tools like clone stamping and warping, Adobe's image studio became the beautiful monster that it is today, capable of creating the most beautiful works of art, and the most twisted works of marketing.
Happy 20th Anniversary, Photoshop. Here's a toast for the next 20 wonderful and terrifying years.