No. "Photoshopped" is not an adjective, and no, I cannot just "remove the crowd of people," or "add some new hair." Gripes aside, something I never questioned was, where the h*ck did photoshop even come from? It's so widely used now and even if you've never heard of the Adobe Suite in terms of design, most people will connect graphic design with the idea that, "oh, you use photoshop then?" Absolutely!
Since it's so widely used and accepted, what's it's great origin story? It turns out it blows back to the 80's. It begins with Thomas Knoll in the year 1987. He’s a doctorate-level software engineer that was dissatisfied with the lack of photo display capabilities on his Mac Plus. As a solution, he coded his own program that would display his grayscale images in 1-bit black and white. It was only one advancement for photo editing, but his brother, John Knoll, saw the potential and suggested he code more image editing functions and develop an arsenal of options. Thomas agreed, and soon after, ‘Display’ was born. The brothers then decided to ditch the name and changed it to the more appropriate, “Image-Pro.” By 1988, Image Pro had made many advancements, the the Koll brothers were ready to sell it commercially. In a final effort to market their ground-breaking software, the changed the name to it’s tried and true, “Photoshop.”
Selling the product wasn’t easy. The Koll brothers took Photoshop around to a number of companies, but none were interested. Finally, Adobe and the Knolls agreed on a deal and Adobe purchased all of the wholesale rights. The brothers continued to work together, and in 1990 they released Photoshop 1.0 for all of us to enjoy.
Though photoshop has come a long way in the last 27+ years since conception, the original 1.0 contained some of the commonly used classics. The Lasso, the Eyedropper, Curves, Levels, and the powerful, Clone tool. Not much has changed as far as the integral components. It’s only been expanded upon and streamlined. All-in-all, there’s a lot to thank the Knoll brother’s for. In-fact, Thomas Knoll is still from occasionally working with Adobe to help improve Photoshop and develop new plug-ins like the Adobe Camera Raw.
Photoshop is tricky nowadays because it's so powerful and maybe more importantly, so accessible. Anyone can take a nice, honest bikini pic and brush out any natural and organic lumps and chunks. Cut, past, crop, and adjust. It takes seconds to transform yourself and frankly, it's addicting and hard to revert back.
Controversy aside, Photoshop revolutionized the photography and design world, and continues to be Adobe's crown jewel. With it's boundless capabilities, and ease of achieving seemingly impossible pixel creations, Photoshop is here to stay. So thank you Knoll brothers. Thank you Thomas for seeing a problem and developing a solution that lives on so vivaciously today. Most importantly thank you for the Photoshop Request Thread memes.