Editor’s Note: We first published this post back on Feb 1.
Who doesn’t use Photoshop as an image editing software? It started in the Fall of 1987 when Thomas Knoll decided to write his own code to display greyscale images on a monochrome monitor as a hobby while working on his PhD research into image processing at the University of Michigan. Together with his brother, John, they collaborated to put out ‘Display’ and set off from the get go to make the best tool possible. Thomas was the programmer and skeptical when thinking at the amount of work he needed to invest to put out a viable commercial product; John was the naive “We are going to take over the world” ever-optimistic partner every startup needs. They were unsure at first what use it could serve and pitched it as a file translation utility.
Digital scanning was just in its infancy and John used a scanned honeymoon photo of his wife on the beach at Bora Bora as his demo picture. There were no commercial digital cameras back then. Kodak, which was at the forefront of digital imaging, inexplicably didn’t believe digital photography would ever take off. Electronic Arts was puzzled as to the value of the software. Eventually, Adobe bought the licence to distribute the program in 1989, renamed it Photoshop and lauched Adobe Photoshop 1.0 in February 1990. The rest, as they say, is history.
An interview with John Knoll: