The first version of Photoshop, which starting shipping for Macs this week 25 years ago, was bare bones compared to the image editing tools and processing power Adobe offers today. But some things, like the magic wand and clone stamp tool that graphic designers used in 1990, are classic stand-bys. So after changing the world (and becoming a verb), what's next for Photoshop?
First: A birthday celebration. Photoshop is toasting its achievement with a 60-second spot that will air during this Sunday's Academy Awards. The ad spotlights works of art from Behance, Adobe's collective of Photoshop creators, and also shows which tools were used to create certain effects.
Then Adobe will continue its work of adapting to current needs, a process the company is deeply familiar with. Once used mostly by designers of print publications, Photoshop successfully evolved with changing technology, specifically the advent of digital printers and cameras, and became an essential tool for photographers, designers, and artists.
Adobe moved to its subscription-based Creative Cloud model in 2011, which made Photoshop more accessible (and cheaper), and has unbundled Photoshop features and built new mobile-first apps to better serve on-the-go image editors (and amateur Instagrammers). Adobe has also opened an SDK for other developers to tap into Photoshop's capabilities for their own apps. Adobe project manager Stephen Nielson hinted to VentureBeat that the company is eyeing opportunities in 3D image editing.
"I believe we're going to see more cameras with depth sensors, which will give us an additional input into editing an image," Nielson said. "When you know the depth of an image, you can manipulate it in totally new ways."
If Adobe can keep up with changing software trends, Photoshop might stick around for another 25 years--though we bet it won't look anything like it does today.
"For many users, cell phones are entirely powerful enough as computers to do anything they want," Photoshop co-founder Thomas Knoll said in a Wednesday blog post. "So there's a migration from bigger computers down to mobile devices, which means Photoshop needs to continue to make that transition, and that's a big focus for us now."