Adobe Photoshop has been around for so long that it has become the international standard for photo editing and is even used as a generic verb for any type of photo edit. But, like all great things, it took a long while for it to reach its current state.
A Stark Contrast
Looking back at the beginnings of this software is almost shocking when you consider just how not powerful the application was in its early stages. In this thirty-five minute video spotted by Fstoppers, Colin Smith from Video Revealed details his career as a retoucher and advertising designer through the lens of Adobe Photoshop. Version 2.5, originally released in November of 1992, only had a single “Undo” state, no layers, and was missing just about everything else modern editors have come to know.
When Photoshop first hit the market, it was really one of the only major tools digital editors had available to them. Actions such as cloning out a shadow, cleaning some distractions or dust spots, or even using liquify take only a few seconds now, but these were tasks that could take an entire day back in the early versions of the application.
Over the course of the video, Smith demonstrates and recounts the stories behind many of the ad campaigns he has worked on over the years, specifically focusing on any of the Photoshop-related challenges and accomplishments achieved in each. This includes the painstaking level of detail and work that went into doing tasks that go without a thought today, but back in the beginning of the app, were incredibly difficult. These tasks get even more difficult it is considered that the systems used at the times were often extremely laggy, and it could take seconds and even minutes before changes were visible.
Going Even Further Back in Time
It really is worth considering how far technology has come today to provide the level of responsiveness and control that are available to modern editors. Smith’s discussion of Photoshop 2.5 highlights a lot of challenges, but it is obviously not the earliest iteration of the software. For a look at what that was like, the team from Linus Tech Tips humorously demonstrates how painful it is to go back to the original state of Photoshop version 1.0 in the video below.