Adobe is today celebrating the 25th anniversary of Photoshop, which first launched as a Mac-only app on 19th February 1990.

What went on to become the industry standard image editing app started life in 1987, when Thomas Knoll, a computer vision doctorate student at the University of Michigan, began developing it on his Mac Plus. Known then as Display, the app was designed to do nothing more than display grayscale images on the Macintosh’s black-and-white monitor. As Adobe showcases in the video below, the app has come rather a long way since then … 

Adobe says that it wanted to look back at where Photoshop came from before focusing during the rest of the year on where it will be heading.

Today, the digital imaging revolution that Photoshop started is so pervasive that remembering a time before it existed takes some work. So it’s with great pleasure, on Photoshop’s 25th anniversary, that we look back to the simpler, pre-millennial world into which it was born, not to celebrate the past but to recognize what an awesome transformation our world has undergone in such a short amount of time.

If you want the tl;dr version, Adobe has released a 67-second video showcasing some of the images created in Photoshop over the years.


Jimmy Kimmel had some fun with Photoshop, inviting last night’s studio audience to guess whether a series of images were really seen in this week’s Fashion Show, or were fakes created in Photoshop.


If you’re a long-time user of the app, and are in the mood for a wander down memory lane, Adobe has shared the evolving icons and names the app has enjoyed–from Photoshop 1.0 to Photoshop CC 2014.


While Mashable has pulled together a great collection of videos, including a detailed, 8-minute video of John Knoll–who assisted his brother Thomas in creating the app–demonstrating Photoshop 1.0:


And to show just how far computing power has come, here’s a 2010 video of Photoshop 1.0 running on an iPhone.


Check out many more videos over at Mashable, together with an excellent run-thru the history of the app by Amateur Photographer, who shared the first ever image edited in Photoshop–a photo of John Knoll’s then-girlfriend and later wife.


If you have your own memories of early versions of Photoshop, do share them in the comments.

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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