22 Years of Adobe Photoshop 1.0 to CS6

It has been 22 years since Adobe Photoshop has been a part of designer’s lives. Initially, when it was about to be introduced, there was a long debate. Some people were reluctant about such softwares being introduced in the market which will allow people to make changes into the original picture. However, with the passage of time when people saw the positive aspects of adobe Photoshop, view changed completely. For all the lovers of Photoshop, we have decided to write this article to relive adobe’s journey of 22 years with you.

Adobe Photoshop has evolved so much in these years and they have introduced so many new features that whenever a new version releases, there comes a point when we wonder how Photoshop survived without all these new features. Major and minor details of Photoshop are pretty interesting and we will be getting into both major and minor details.

Thanks to the Knoll Family

Thanks to the Knoll Family

This family can easily be called a wonder. The basic idea was of Photoshop was developed by Thomas, Glen and John Knoll. They all were highly qualified and way too intelligent. Thomas has been a PHD student and has been involved in Photoshop’s journey for years now. Glen Knoll who was a lecturer at a college had keen interests in photography and computers.

Beginning of the Journey

Adobe Photoshops Journey

Click on image for Large View

It all started with a simple project of Thomas. He wrote a subroutine program in order to be able to convert a few pictures to grayscale. A simple process of converting images to grayscale, lead Thomas to develop more ideas like this and very soon he had plenty of processes to give effects on photographs. John supported Thomas totally and suggested him to come up with a full photo editor. Collaboration of both brothers improved the editor and resulted into launch of ‘Image Pro’ in 1988.

Initial Steps Towards Success

It took the brothers no more than six months to collaborate with Barneyscan, manufacturers of scanners. Around 200 copies of Image pro was were sold and were shipped along with the scanners. Very soon they formed a licensing partnership with Adobe and in February 1990 first version i.e., 1.0 was released.

Now that we have gone through the history of Adobe Photoshop, let’s take a look at how things changed from the version till now.

1. Adobe Photoshop Version 1.0 – 1990

Version 1.0 1990

Initially, the used the word ‘Special effects’ for the Photoshop features but it was not approved by the Adobe staff due to which Thomas managed to add the special effects into Photoshop as plug-in. Thomas worked really hard until the final release Initially, the flash screen only displayed names of four programmers but with the passage of time, this changed.

2. Adobe Photoshop Version 2.0 – 1991

Adobe Photoshop Version 2.0 – 1991


This version allowed users to trim around objects and save them. An engineer named Mark Hamburg introduced this feature. Mark was known as the ‘Path Man’. It also consisted of rasterizing and CMYK color support which made printing industry a user of Photoshop. It could be used on four megabytes RAM.

3. Adobe Photoshop Version 2.5 – 1992

3. Version 2.5 – 1992:

This was the first releaser for operating systems. Since it had a memory bug, a patched version was released as 2.5.1. It also worked on MAC.

4. Adobe Photoshop Version 3.0 – 1994

version 3.0 1994

1994 brought a huge and a positive change in Photoshop and that was ’Layers’. It is still being used and it is called lifesaver for designs which are much complicated. Power Mac chips were also introduced to improve the performance. Along with all this other developers added little Easter eggs which hatched on pressing obscure keys and show funny one liner.

5. Adobe Photoshop Version 4.0 – 1996

5. Version 4.0 – 1996:

Macros and Adjustment layers were the two most important features introduced in this version. Unification of Adobe Photoshop was also an important change in this version.

6. Adobe Photoshop Version 5.0 – 1998

5. Version 5.0 – 1998

Again there were two major changes in Photoshop. One, user was given the ability to undo actions multiple times and two, it was made editable type. Lasso tool was made its debut in this version as well.

7. Adobe Photoshop Version 5.5 – 1999

7. Version 5.5 – 1999:

This version was a relief for everyone who was into web designing. It gave users’ an option to ‘Save for web.’ This saved a lot of time of designers.

8. Adobe Photoshop Version 6.0 – 2000

8. Version 6.0 – 2000:

Layer style panels were introduced which made usage of the feature ‘Layers’ even easier. It also gave users an ability to draw Vector shapes and was very much appreciated by users. There were custom shaped palettes and the feature of multi-layer was also introduced. Marquee tool was also separated from crop tool hence making usage of both, easy.

9.  Introduction of Photoshop elements – 2001

9.  Introduction of Photoshop elements – 2001:

Since a lot of tools were being introduced, an average person found usage of Photoshop quite difficult. In order to help such people, Photoshop element feature was introduced for people who wanted to use Photoshop for simpler use.

10. Adobe Photoshop Version 7.0 – 2002

adobe photoshop 7.0 2002

This version had a lot to offer. It had a healing brush, fully vector based text a new file browser. This browser helped designers in browsing through the folders to find graphics they needed, easily. Apart from healing brush a patch tool, spell check, find/replace feature and an option to create customized brushes was available.

11.  Adobe Photoshop CS – 2003

Photoshop CS was the first one to introduce CDS. Also, this release supported scripting.

12.  Adobe Photoshop CS2 – 2005

Photoshop CS2

Red eye removal tool, smudging option and ability to select multiple layers were the main features of this version. Paint bucket tool was changed to gradient tool. Also, ‘Smart Object’ feature was introduced.

13.  Adobe Photoshop CS3 – 2007

13.  Photoshop CS3 – 2007:

The best thing about CS3 was a fast load. Another remarkable feature was graphic optimization for mobile device. This version made cloning easier too.

14.  Adobe Photoshop CS4 – 2008

14.  Photoshop CS4 – 2008:

Zoom and smoother pan made Photoshop even better. Color correction also encountered a few changes in this version. It also had enhanced motion graphics and easy ways for data collection.

15. Adobe Photoshop in 2009

Photoshop even became available for iPhone users and they were able to edit images without any issues. Adobe released a public beta of lightroom 3.0

16. Adobe Photoshop CS5 – 2010

15.  Photoshop in 2010

When Adobe turned 20, Photoshop CS5 was released. It had a lot to offer starting for better edge detection to masking and opacity. Spot healing tool also had a lot of improvements.

17.  Adobe Photoshop CS5.5 – 2011


Adobe Photoshop was released for Android and IOS phones. A lot of other major and minor changes were made in the desktop based version of Photoshop.

18.  Adobe Photoshop CS6 and 2012


With 2012, Adobe continues its tradition of being the best photo editing software. Apart from having some of the best old features, CS6 includes more creative tools to play with your images. Adobe mercury graphics engine is a new addition. The best thing about CS6 is that you can even make movies and extra ordinary designs with the help of re-imagined tools.


Adobe Photoshop is being used for years now and in this duration, a lot of other photo editing softwares were introduced but none was able to replace Photoshop. Even after years, it is still considered to be the number one photo editing software.

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  1. Prashant says:

    Superb Article. Love the video and the infographic 🙂

  2. Britta says:

    Was looking for justification for my boss to upgrade from CS2 to CS6 and this gave me just what I needed. Thanks so much!

  3. Jim says:

    wrong screenshot for 2.0-1991?

  4. Me says:

    I was a UK beta tester for Photoshop 1.0. The program fitted on a single floppy disk. We ran it on a mono Mac SE with a 9″ screen and we were blown away!