Adobe Photoshop is a graphics editor developed and published by Adobe Systems. It is the current market leader for commercial bitmap and image manipulation, and is one of the best-known pieces of software produced by Adobe Systems. It is considered the industry standard in most, if not all, jobs related to the use of visual elements.
The brothers Thomas Knoll and John Knoll began development on Photoshop in 1987. Version 1 was released by Adobe in 1990. As the market leader, Adobe Photoshop defined the photographic post-production industry. It revolutionized the art of photo retouching and processing by streamlining workflows: intricate procedures which took hours or days, and could only be performed by skilled photographers, now became intuitive and easy for even an amateur artist. Photoshop’s digital advantages have contributed greatly to the world of photography by enabling manipulations that were previously difficult or impossible, and by allowing non-destructive and easily reversible changes to images. In the last ten years, Photoshop has earned its place among the standard tools of any serious photographer.
Although originally the program was intended as a tool for manipulating images that were digitized by a scanner, today Photoshop is used increasingly to produce images for the World Wide Web. Recent versions bundle a related application, Adobe ImageReady, to provide a more specialized set of tools for this purpose.
The most recent major version, released in 2005, is version 9, marketed as “Photoshop CS2.” It features important new additions including “reduce grain” filter that can help to improve pictures taken in low light, and multiple layer selecting and “warp,” a curve-friendly version of the transform tool. It also comes with Adobe Camera RAW, a plugin developed by Thomas Knoll which can read several RAW file formats from various digital cameras and import them directly into Photoshop.
Photoshop is available for Mac OS, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows; versions up to Photoshop 9.0 can also be used with other operating systems such as Linux using software such as CrossOver Office.
Today Photoshop has the ability to read and write many common raster and vector image formats. It also has several native file formats:
- The PSD (Photoshop Document) format stores an image as a set of layers, including text, masks, opacity, blend modes, color channels, alpha channels, clipping paths, and duotone settings. This is a popular format that is even supported by some of Photoshop’s competitors.
- The PSB format is a newer version of PSD designed for files over 2 GB.
- The PDD format is a version of PSD that only supports the features found in the discontinued PhotoDeluxe software.
There are many other bitmap-graphics editors available, but none have come close to Photoshop’s popularity among professionals. The most popular competitors in other markets are the free, open source GIMP, and the commercial packages Macromedia Fireworks, Corel Photo-Paint (bundled with CorelDRAW), Corel Paint Shop Pro and Ulead PhotoImpact. Less well-known alternatives include GIMPShop (a version of GIMP with a more Photoshop-like interface), the open source Paint.NET (although it bills itself as a replacement for Microsoft Paint), and the commercial Pixel image editor.
The Image Culture - Christine Rosen, The New Atlantis