PetaPixel

Soviet Image Editing Tool from 1987

Three years before Photoshop 1.0 was released, computer engineers in the USSR were already retouching photographs using some surprisingly advanced technology. The video above shows how the Soviets went about restoring damaged images with the help of rotary scanners, magnetic tape, and trackballs.

(via Boing Boing)


 
  • http://twitter.com/_PolarFox Mikko Ruohola

    This is scary sh*t.. CSI could be true after all!

  • http://twitter.com/chungdha Chung Dha Lam

    Whoa they had way better then MS paint back then.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=698973572 Patric Franksson

    Contentski Awarskij fillski!

  • Phriedrich

    There was also Deluxe Paint a long time before Photoshop. (Starting 1985?)
    But yeah, this editing tool in the video looks really cool.

  • Max

    Interesting video, though the sharpening of the second-to-the-last photo seemed a little implausible to me.

  • dmar

    Looked like he was using a Commrade64 LOL! CS5 just caught up to this with the content aware functionality. Imagine what we’d be using now if Adobe bought this tech back then…

  • Doing

    Unless is is propaganda and they started with a perfect image, then mucked it up to look old and ran it in reverse.

  • Slvrscoobie

    Thats exactly what I was thinking – this is COLD war russia were talking about- this was the anti-anti-anti-spy tech that was used to help convert people. i bet at least 1/3 of those were “added” instead of “subtracted” errors.

  • Stalin

    Congratulations! You’ve been perfectly brainwashed :)

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  • Moonsister Chris

    Maybe improbable but not impossible. The Soviets could’ve used modified space technology imaging techniques. Bet US could do the same thing back in the day using spun-off NASA space imaging technology. Inside Deluxe Paint & Photoshop ( & even your toaster) is a ‘tiny blue NASA meatball’ winking at you right now. ;-) What we don’t know is amazing. Air Force friend working in intelligence said the best equipment on the market is nothing compared to what he works with. The rest is classified. Time used for the fix here looks sped up & we don’t see the whole process & or equipment used, only what they wanted us to see. File this under amusing propaganda:P

  • Moonsister Chris

    0 назад = 0 back.. How strange that was at the top next to my name where ‘minutes ago’ is now. Is this site Russian owned or…?..*twilightzone* music…

  • Moonsister Chris

    0 назад = 0 back.. How strange that was at the top next to my name where ‘minutes ago’ is now. Is this site Russian owned or…?..*twilightzone* music…

  • http://twitter.com/jonhendry Jonathan W. Hendry

    Not that big of a deal. It’s not like Photoshop was the first time anyone did computer photo retouching and other graphics. The main issue was how much you wanted to spend on the hardware (money or time/effort to build your own, if you had the required skills.)

    The Pixar Image Computer came out in 1986, which could certainly do this kind of thing, you just needed about $200,000. But that wasn’t the first digital image editing system.

  • Moonsister Chris

    Found something amazing using today’s technology at the National Science Foundation website. Go there and search for press release 10-207 The Emergence of Holographic Video. Wow! This article from 2010 makes the tech here look stone age!

  • Guest

    Wow, random. I thought I recognised the tune in the background.. and it turns out I’d heard the melody in PPK’s resurrection before.. they based their tune on the one in this vid by Eduard Artemyev (Siberiade).

    As far as the actual image editing tool goes, I don’t think it’s fair to compare it to photoshop or deluxe paint, it’s probably more of a fair comparison to think about what the TV studios and professional printers had available to them – I’m sure they weren’t as limited by commodity hardware or tools as the rest of us :)

  • Guest

    Wow, random. I thought I recognised the tune in the background.. and it turns out I’d heard the melody in PPK’s resurrection before.. they based their tune on the one in this vid by Eduard Artemyev (Siberiade).

    As far as the actual image editing tool goes, I don’t think it’s fair to compare it to photoshop or deluxe paint, it’s probably more of a fair comparison to think about what the TV studios and professional printers had available to them – I’m sure they weren’t as limited by commodity hardware or tools as the rest of us :)

  • Simon Hawkin

    How nice! The old Soviet documentary.

  • Simon Hawkin

    How nice! The old Soviet documentary.

  • anon

    It’s not Soviet , it’s French ! It’s a PERICOLOR-1000 system with a software translated to Russian. They used to buy hardware and software in the West and change it a bit(translate) and present it as one developed internally in some scientific institute.
    Here is the discussion in Russian: http://habrahabr.ru/blogs/history/107465/

  • Anonymous

    The other computer looked like an Apple ///..

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charles-Pushrod/100001446845022 Charles Pushrod

    So the Soviets had the “Click Here To Download Plugin” box way ahead of everyone else?

  • Elcubico

    in soviet russia image edit YOU!

  • Xot

    It is.

  • http://twitter.com/IEBAcom Anthony Burokas

    Dunno, the results seemed a little far-fetched to me. And, decades before this, images from scratched negs were fixed with paint and a very find paintbrush. And then re-photographed. That whole trace the sword and make it instantly and perfectly vanish seems completely implausible given the crude computer horespower in hand back then. Heck a VGA image was “hard” for it to do.

  • http://twitter.com/IEBAcom Anthony Burokas

    Dunno, the results seemed a little far-fetched to me. And, decades before this, images from scratched negs were fixed with paint and a very find paintbrush. And then re-photographed. That whole trace the sword and make it instantly and perfectly vanish seems completely implausible given the crude computer horespower in hand back then. Heck a VGA image was “hard” for it to do.

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  • Poweredge001

    at 1:26, 1:41 you can still see parts of the menu that are not fully translated from English.

    at 1:22 – translated menu on the top of the screen reads in Russian ‘pericolor 1000′

  • nick_water

    fake

  • Zigger

    I’m not impressed, or scared. Amiga’s could do this, and more circa 1986. They had mice with two buttons also.

  • JBL71

    I found that whole thing rather depressing. The 80’s were such sad times for the Russian people.

  • Anonymous

    In 1987 the Sun-3 (3rd gen) workstations were a couple of years old, the original Mac with MacPaint was 4 years old … In 1985 and 1986 I remember messing around with the Symbolics Lisp workstation and landing the 747 on the Silicon Graphics simulator. Good times…. but anyway this equipment, while interesting, looks years behind the West. The enhancement results do look good, if somewhat implausible.

  • logik

    im not an apple advocate, but werent they scanning images with thunderscan and modified fax machines back in 1979? interpolation (which is what the machine in this video is doing) is very easy with mathematics, and the hardware has nothing to do with it. as long as someone can write the software…

  • Wtf

    Deconvolution algorithms for pictures taken with blurry focus is completely feasible. This is how your phone can take pictures without having an adjustable optical lens.

  • Cloud

    Photo shop is for the general public though, I doubt what the Russians were using was available for the general public, US intelligence probably has something more sophisticated at the time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Menhir-Yusupov/1472690119 Menhir Yusupov

    there is only one thing unknown – the value of the cost of technology. it seems that soviets spends a “little bit more” than commercial strukcures supporting the photoshop.bacause of the importancy of restored pictures for soviets in front of the allovertherestofworld

  • asmack

    The Soviets were editing photos long before this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_of_images_in_the_Soviet_Union

    ;-P

  • asmack

    The Soviets were editing photos long before this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_of_images_in_the_Soviet_Union

    ;-P

  • asmack

    The Soviets were editing photos long before this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_of_images_in_the_Soviet_Union

    ;-P

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bruce-Miller/100000952005408 Bruce Miller

    U.S.S.R. vs U.S.A??? That race is over America! and Yes you helped the Canadians win WWII., you lost in Vietnam, Iraq, and China is still the Red Dragon, breathing on your economic tail! Focus on a stronger, more unified America! You used to be predominately Christian and you have drifted away from those principles – how cum? Birth control pill? Ask the Pope! Has the Melting Pot got scum on it? slag in its base? Just for Hellry, will you ever go metric like the rest of the world? Will your fiat dollar ever stabilize again? Where can I buy a brand new Oldsmobile? Golds at $1400.00U.S. and climbing. Is this good or bad?

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  • Anon

    Fake – That real to real tape “drive” didn’t make any beeps or blips like in the movies!

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  • anonymous

    Original troll at 2:31?

  • Jtan163

    It’s not surprise the Soviets were advanced in this field. It would have been a political priority.
    They were so keen on re-writing history, and airbrushing un-people out by hand on the Soviet scale would have been very time consuming, any savings they could make would mean more creditable rewrites of history.

    I mean just check out the wikipedia article on airbrushing. The wikipedia’s canonical example of photographical retouching is a Soviet un-person edit job.

  • http://twitter.com/ProSocialTools ProSocialTools

    We were doing all of this in the USA in 1979. Hell, Crossfield and Scitex were the 3 big names in digital imaging at the time. Photoshop and PostScript sent them to the hospital, but it was digital photography that laid them in the grave. A single Scitex Response 300 workstation was around 1 million dollars US, and you needed a clean room for the cpus, disc storage, and tape backup machines. Photoshop was way better the first day it came out, but it couldn’t convert color to cmyk format.

  • Robert Korn

    Umm no it’s not. It’s because of the very deep depth of field due to the very tiny image sensor and short focal length lens.