20 years of Adobe Photoshop

On Friday I had a chance meeting with John Knoll. He and his brother shipped Adobe Photoshop just about 20 years ago (Adobe, he told me, will be doing an official celebration next month).

Photoshop is one of the most important pieces of software written so far in this industry’s small history.

What is Knoll doing today? He is an award-winning special effects designer for Lucasfilms’ Industrial Light and Magic. He did some of the effects you see on Avatar, among many other movies.

Anyway, thanks to Craig Hosoda, who got me a tour of ILM (he worked there as one of its first computer geeks for several years) and who introduced me to John. It’s my 45th birthday today and this was a real treat I’ve been waiting 20 years for.

Enjoy the interview. In it you’ll learn that Electronic Arts turned down Photoshop, and you’ll hear many other stories about Photoshop in its early days.

20 thoughts on “20 years of Adobe Photoshop

  1. Robert – I saw something over on HolyKaw (from Kawasaki?) where they were recording you recording the interview…was that a 5D Mark II you were using? Just curious. Nice work….great backstory to Photoshop


  2. I’ve long been a fan of Knoll’s work at ILM. Great interview. What a place to work, eh? I want to know what secret projects he was working on, haha….


  3. 16 Megs of RAM! That was unheard of when I had my Mac Plus with a half of a meg of RAM. No actually, it was a 512K Mac that I had PRIOR to the Mac Plus that came out with a blazing entire meg of RAM. And it did blaze…


  4. Scoble, I'm sorry I named you in a lawsuit and all that stuff in the past.”Enjoy the interview. In it you’ll learn that Electronic Arts turned down Photoshop”I see that you really want to give the little guy a chance. CDNPal Ltd. of Delaware, operating in California rented out the best conference room (the conference room with the balconies) at the Marriott in Marina Del Rey on April 23rd for a interest raiser, which is SEC Compliant. It will highlight our flag ship product, namely Content Delivery (black box optimized: http(s), flash video, ect…) at a fraction of the rates of big name competitors. The service is delivered via several gigabit connections spread around the world including the elusive Asian continent which has conditions that even Google can not mitigate. As for the conference, no filming is allowed. I am however willing to grant you exclusive media rights if you show up. You of course would not need a ticket. The normal valet fee is $26, reduced to $12 for guests of the interest raiser. But we can waive even the $12 fee if you want to come.As for Adobe Photoshop I am a valid license holder of the Adobe Creative Suite Premium 3 and Flex 3. I did not upgrade because I did not find a compelling reason to.


  5. wow..It is good to know something about John Knoll who has created a software which is used by millions of users world wide.and It feels great that John has given some inputs for Avtar movie, s it is my fav movie. Video is excellent.Thanx a lot for sharing it with us.


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