29 July 2009

[design] One-Hour Photo – The Early Days Of Adobe Photoshop

2178.In the beginning (the 1980s), there was Display, which was a neat program developed by Thomas Knoll to display (well, yeah) grayscale images on his Mac SE. His brother, John, who just so happened to be working at ILM at the time, encouraged him to make an editor out of it. And thus was begat ImagePro. After polishing it up and adding some plugins, they matured it into the first available version of the titan … Photoshop. And the icon looked like this:

The icon was inspired by these little things, which used to be in shopping center parking lots across the nation:

(Read more about Fotomats here (where I screen-clipped the illustration from) and here) Fotomats were at their peak around 1980, but dwindled as their one-day photo finishing service (a quantum leap for the 1960s-70s) proved unable to compete with one-hour photo finishing, as contrasted with today when any photo finishing services are seen as quaint – where they exist at all.

I find it amusing that the original authors of Photoshop used a Fotomat-style kiosk (which offered one-day service) with the sign 1HR (which Fotomats never did), but the icon gets the point of fast, powerful photo editing across – once you swapped the blue and the yellow between the roof and the building, of course.

The first Photoshop to carry the iconic eye logo an splash were Photoshop 1.0, released in 1990. Not sure when the last Fotomat kiosk closed. Fotomat still exists on the web (though not for much longer), and Photoshop fondly exists, in many versions, on the hard drives of designers everywhere.

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