Photoshop Turns 10

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Few products are as important to the Mac as Photoshop. It helped drive the desktop publishing revolution, and it's been a valuable tool in the emergence of Web design. As Photoshop 6.0 hits the streets--the $609 package should be available when you read this--it's time to look at how Photoshop has evolved in the decade since its debut, and what the program has meant to Mac users.

There is no greater glory than becoming a verb. Font maven Kathleen Tinkel bestowed that honor on me after I gave her the world's best garlic press: she later told me she no longer presses garlic, she "Blatnerizes" it.

It happens with products, too. People xerox important papers, even on Canon copiers, and later Fed Ex them, even if they use Airborne or another overnight delivery service. Only one application in the world of publishing has enough distinction to earn its own verb, and it's worth every accolade: Adobe Photoshop.

As far as I'm concerned, every picture you scan needs to be Photo-shopped. Images headed toward the Web need Photoshopping. People Photoshop files in design firms, video-production houses, animation studios, and ad agencies all over the world. Physicians and scientists Photoshop their X rays, MRIs, astronomical data, and stuff I've never even heard of. Uncle Vernon didn't make Thanksgiving last year? You know what to do: just Photoshop him into the snapshot later.

Adobe Photoshop is easily the most life-changing program in publishing history. It is the cornerstone of print and Web publishing--its power matched only by its elegance--and plug-ins and page-layout programs dance around it.

Today, fine artists add finishing touches by Photoshopping their artwork, and pornographers would have nothing but reality to offer if they didn't Photoshop every one of their images. Photoshop means that a schmo like me can create brilliant graphics for an astonishing variety of media. And if I don't like what I see, I can Photoshop it some more.

But what truly amazes me is that while I write what sounds like an oversweetened eulogy for a poor, dead product, Adobe is releasing a new version--Photoshop 6.0--that'll let me Photoshop my pictures even better than before.

God bless the United States of Photoshop.

Photoshop isn't the only image-editing software for the Mac--"Darn right," says Fireworks maker Macromedia--but it certainly ranks as the most enduring. Rival products have come and gone over the past ten years, and Photoshop is still standing tall. Here's a list of some of the competing image-editing applications that Photoshop has left in its wake.

Color Studio
Digital Darkroom
Color-It Pro
Live Picture
Quark XPosure

Think back to February 1990. A fellow named George Bush was in the White House. An all-boy band named New Kids on the Block was tearing up the pop charts. Nobody could find Kuwait on a map. And Photoshop 1.0 had just arrived.

Now flash ahead ten years to fall 2000. Another fellow named George Bush is trying to get into the White House. An all-boy band named 'N Sync is tearing up the pop charts. Nobody can find Kuwait on a map. Still.

At least some things change--for example, Photoshop. Version 6.0 adds vector tools, expands Web-design capabilities, and incorporates many changes aimed at making the program easier to use.

To show you how Photoshop has evolved over the years, we've listed major additions to each upgrade, as well as what Macworld had to say about the software at the time. (Back in the days of Photoshop 1.0 and 2.0, we didn't even give ratings--another thing that's changed.)

Shipped February 1990
What We Said Then:

No RatingShipped June 1991
What We Said Then:

No RatingAnnounced November 1992
What We Said Then:

Rating: four starsAnnounced June 1994
What We Said Then:

Rating: four stars
Shipped November 1996
What We Said Then:

Rating: four starsAnnounced April 1998
What We Said Then:

50 mice
Announced June 1999
What We Said Then:

40 mice

Announced September 2000
What We Say:
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