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Photoshop Turns 20

Photoshop turned 20 yesterday – so it’s time to bring out a couple of quick stories.

I first started using Photoshop back with version 2.5. It was on a Windows PC in 1992 or 1993. Back then, if you bought a mid-level or higher scanner Photoshop was often included for free and that’s how I came to own it. While I didn’t dive in head first, I played with it for many years and initially used it as a tool to clean up and prep scans. It wasn’t until the advent of good digital cameras in the late 90’s, early 00’s, that it became integral to how I work.

I have two brushes with Photoshop greatness in my career. The first is indirect and occurred when Adobe Camera Raw came out. In spite of the all the hoopla over it I found it to be challenged at best when working with Nikon raw files. My comments led an extended email correspondence with author Bruce Fraser and to spending lots of time photographing a MacBeth ColorChecker so that Bruce could test the files and pass information along to Adobe.

The second was much more direct. One of the successive versions of Adobe Camera Raw had a bug or two in it. I found them and posted them on an Adobe forum. Shortly after I got an email from Thomas Knoll, co-author/developer/inventor of Photoshop, with an invitation to be a beta tester for Adobe Camera Raw. I did that for a couple of years, Camera Raw versions 2.2~3.3. After 3.3 the beta program seemed to fizzle out. Releases went right to public betas or whatever part of the program I was in was asked to do less.  It was never quite clear since communication was often one-sided (from Adobe outward.)

By the spring of 2006 I was starting to use Apple’s Aperture as my main raw processor and it was time to move on. Regardless of all the shifting about with raw processors over the years (Nikon Capture, MacBibble, ACR, DPP, Aperture) as digital capture matured from an infant to a pre-teen (?), the one constant has been Photoshop for almost all work beyond the initial raw conversion.

Happy Birthday Photoshop!