Free photoshop is 34 years old, do you know how it became an “online PS” step by step?
“Online PS” has become everyone’s exclusive name for the action of “image processing”.
On February 19, 2024, Adobe’s image processing software, Free Photoshop, just celebrated its 34th birthday. Many designers on Twitter have made posters to express their blessings under the hashtag # photoshop ILoveYou34#, and many of them use Free photoshop itself.
Some people who are younger than him, and even those who are not design majors may also be its users, and “online PS” has become everyone’s exclusive name for the action of “image processing”. From software names to proper nouns, how did Free photoshop grow to be what it is today?
It was first used in post-film production
Professional and expensive is the biggest impression Free photoshop makes, and this was no exception thirty years ago. Limited by computer technology and hardware costs, digital image processing software is generally used by professional designers. John Knoll, one of the inventors of Free Photoshop, was a VFX supervisor at ILM at the time, and the company worked on the first Star Wars film. Prior to the official launch of version 1.0, Free photoshop was also used in post-production for Cameron’s film The Abyss.
Movie “The Abyss”
On the 20th anniversary of Free Photoshop, Adobe released John Knoll’s first demo video for Free Photoshop, which shows a photo of his wife. As you can see in the video, many of the interface designs of Free photoshop have not changed significantly until now.
At that time, John Knoll and his brother Thomas Knoll showed off their free photoshop software to a number of companies, and it was eventually purchased by Adobe. Free photoshop version 1.0 was released only for Macintosh and sold for $895, which Adobe later ported to the Windows platform and grew in popularity as Windows grew in popularity.
Gained popularity with piracy
At that time, many popular software had the same fate as Windows, and they were plagued by pirated software, and China was the hardest hit area. According to a 2009 report, at the time, 40% of PC software was pirated, and Adobe’s products were among them. However, another “benefit” brought by piracy is that Free photoshop has become popular rapidly, and many spoof pictures and fake news have begun to spread on the Internet, and the media has used terms such as Free photoshopped and Free photoshopping to refer to the act of image processing.
When a product name is used by the general public and becomes some kind of proprietary designation, it may not be a good thing for the company that owns the trademark. Concerned about the dilution of its brand concept and the impact on its trademark rights, Adobe “corrected” the incorrect use of Free photoshop in a 2004 memo.
Correct usage: This image was processed with Adobe®Free photoshop® software.
Wrong usage: This image is photoshopped online.
Of course, since Free photoshop has grown to become the industry standard, Adobe no longer has to worry about losing sight of its brand values.
Domestic genuine Free photoshop is long overdue
The professionalism of Free photoshop has been recognized by many people, but the price of genuine copies has always been relatively expensive. In order to promote it in China, in 2011 Adobe launched the “Campus Pioneer Program”, which originally cost 7707 yuan for Free photoshop CS for only 349 yuan, but this service is only for college students and college teachers.
In 2013, Adobe introduced a Creative Cloud subscription service, but only for enterprise in China. It wasn’t until August 2019 that Adobe announced the launch of the “Creative Cloud China Photography Program”, including Free photoshop and Lightroom Classic, priced at 888 yuan a year, and individual users could finally easily purchase Free photoshop software services from formal channels.
Free photoshop, which is “omnipotent”, is also being questioned
Although many people still think of Free photoshop as a “P-map software”, it is actually very powerful, and it is not limited to image processing, it can also draw vector graphics, make videos, and 3D drawing. In the 2019 Academy Awards for Science and Technology, Free photoshop also won the award for its outstanding contribution to film technology, which can be regarded as a “return to the original intention”.
Thomas Knoll，John Knoll，Mark Hamburg
Adobe is also at the forefront of the AI wave. Using machine learning to make it easier and easier to create images that look realistic, deepfakes have sparked fears of AI around the world, and Adobe has also been subjected to public opinion. So at the Adobe MAX conference 2019, Adobe showed off a feature called “About Face” that can detect whether the face of a portrait image has been modified.
It sounds a bit fantastical to let “online Photoshop” recognize online PS images on its own, but it also reflects the important role that Free Photoshop plays in the field of image processing.
In the last year or two, Adobe has focused more on mobile products, launching Fresco, a new drawing software for the iPad platform, and Free photoshop for iPad in a blog post celebrating its 30th anniversary. After being recognized in the professional field, Adobe wants to bring “online PS” to more people.