Computer Graphics

Template:Infobox Software Adobe Photoshop is a graphics editor (with some text and vector graphics capabilities) developed and published by Adobe Systems. It is the market leader for commercial bitmap image manipulation, and probably the most well-known piece 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. It is usually referred to simply as "Photoshop". Photoshop is currently available for Mac OS and Microsoft Windows; versions up to Photoshop 7 can also be used with other operating systems such as Linux using software such as CrossOver Office. Past versions of the program were ported to the SGI IRIX platform, but official support for this port was dropped after version 3.

Inking a cartoon in Photoshop



Simple composite image produced with various tools in Photoshop.


Photoshop CS under Windows 2000.

Although primarily designed to edit images for paper-based printing, 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.


Photoshop also has strong links with other Adobe software for media editing, animation and authoring. Files in Photoshop's native format, .PSD, can be exported to and from Adobe ImageReady, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Premiere, After Effects and Adobe Encore DVD to make professional standard DVDs, provide non-linear editing and special effects services such as backgrounds, textures and so on for television, film and the Web. For example, Photoshop CS broadly supports making menus and buttons for DVDs. For .PSD files exported as a menu or button, it only needs to have layers, nested in layer sets with a cueing format and Adobe Encore DVD reads them as buttons or menus.

Photoshop can deal with a number of different color models:

  • RGB color model
  • Lab color model
  • CMYK color model
  • Grayscale
  • Bitmap
  • Duotone

The most recent version, as of 2006, is version 9. This iteration of the program is marketed as "Photoshop CS2". "CS" reflects its integration with "Adobe's Creative Suite" and a number "2" because it is the second version released since Adobe rebranded their products under the CS umbrella. In an effort to break away from previous versions of the application and to reinforce its belonging with the new line of products, Photoshop even dropped one classic graphic feature from its packaging: the Photoshop eye, which was present in different manifestations from versions 3 to 7. Photoshop CS versions now use feathers as a form of identification.

File:Pscs2 cameraraw3.jpg

Camera RAW 3.x

The latest version 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. A preliminary version of the RAW plugin was also available for Photoshop 7.0.1 as a $99 USD optional purchase.

While Photoshop is the industry standard image editing program for professional raster graphics, its relatively high suggested retail price (US $600, approximately) has led to a number of competing graphics tools being made available at lower prices. To compete in this market, and to counter unusually high rates of piracy of their professional products, Adobe has introduced a Photoshop Elements, a version of Photoshop with many professional features removed, for under $100 US; this is aimed firmly at the general consumer market since the feature cuts make it less desirable for prepress work.

File formats[]

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.

Cultural impact[]

File:Photoshop Edit Example.jpg

An example of deletion manipulation. The original is on the left.

The term photoshopping is a neologism, meaning "editing an image", regardless of the program used (compare with Google used as a verb). Adobe discourages use of the term [1] out of fear that it will undermine the company's trademark; an alternate term which leaves out the Photoshop reference is "photochop". The term photoshop is also used as a noun referring to the altered image. This is especially popular amongst members of the websites Worth1000, Something Awful, B3ta and where photoshopping is an institution. The goal of altering an image, subtly or blatantly, is to make it humorous or clever, often via the use of obscure in-jokes and pop culture references. Another widespread practice is putting the face of a celebrity onto a nude or pornographic image. Photoshop competitions in all these varieties have become a favourite pastime for many professional and amateur users of the software.

The term is sometimes used with a derogatory intent by artists to refer to images that have been retouched instead of originally produced. A common issue amongst users of all skill levels is the ability to avoid in one's work what is referred to as "the Photoshop look" (although such an issue is intrinsic to many graphics programs).

In recent times, Photoshop has been used for altering and drawing vehicles, usually cars, in a process known as 'photochopping', 'digital-modding', 'photoshopping' or 'virtual-tuning'. About twenty websites of this sort have been established in recent years, and, Photochopshop and have evidently become the most popular. The rate of expansion of this 'new' type of art is phenomenal. Although the websites that provide a base for people to 'showoff' their 'chops' are fairly new, 'Photo-manipulated' cars have been in automotive magazines for years.

Even more recent is the so-called "sport" of Photoshop Tennis. A match in this hobby consists of two Photoshop artists passing back and forth (usually via email) a Photoshop image file. Each player will make changes to the file and send it back. After a predetermined number of turns an independent judge will review the edits made and declare a winner. This allows artists to both showcase and hone their Photoshop skills.

In the vein of Photoshop Tennis, artists also engage in collaboration. This hobby consists of two Photoshop artists passing back and forth (usually via email) a Photoshop image file (.psd). Each artist adds elements to the composition, working with the other to create an image. There is not usually an element of competition involved with such an activity.

With the rise of graphics tablets, most notably the wacom, programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter have been used more and more to create original pieces of art. Using the pressure sensitive tablet can greatly improve the effects of the paint brush, eraser, or other tools. Tablets are used worldwide by professional comic book illustrators, architects, studio artists, etc. Even ILM, the special effects company that worked for the Star Wars films, used tablets combined with Photoshop in post-production.


The brothers Thomas Knoll and John Knoll began development on Photoshop in 1987. Version 1 was released by Adobe in 1990. The program was intended from the start as a tool for manipulating images that were digitized by a scanner, which was a rare and expensive device in those days.

Release history[]

Version Platform Codename Release date Significant changes
1.0 Mac OS February 1990
2.0 Mac OS Fast Eddy June 1991 Paths
2.0.1 Mac OS January 1992
2.5 Mac OS Merlin November 1992
Windows Brimstone
2.5.1 Mac OS 1993
3.0 Mac OS Tiger Mountain September 1994
  • Tabbed Palettes
  • Layers
Windows, IRIX November 1994
4.0 Mac OS, Windows Big Electric Cat November 1996
  • Adjustment Layers
4.0.1 Mac OS, Windows August 1997
5.0 Mac OS, Windows Strange Cargo May 1998
  • Editable type (previously, type was rasterized as soon as it was added)
  • Multiple Undo (History Palette)
  • Color Management
5.0.1 Mac OS, Windows 1999
5.5 Mac OS, Windows February 1999
  • Bundled with ImageReady
  • Extract
  • Vector Shapes
6.0 Mac OS, Windows Venus in Furs September 2000
  • Updated User Interface
  • Healing Brush
  • "Liquify" filter
6.0.1 Mac OS, Windows March 2001
  • Memory usage improvements
  • Paintbrush picker usability enhancements
  • Clipping path save/export bug fixes
7.0 Mac OS/Mac OS X, Windows Liquid Sky March 2002
  • Made text fully vector
  • Healing Brush
  • New painting engine
7.0.1 Mac OS/Mac OS X, Windows August 2002 Camera RAW 1.x (optional plugin)
CS (8.0) Mac OS X, Windows Dark Matter October 2003
  • Camera RAW 2.x
  • Shadow/Highlight Command
  • Match Colour command
  • "Lens blur" filter
  • Real-Time Histogram
  • Detection and refusal to print scanned images of various banknotes
  • Macrovision copy protection based on Safecast DRM technology
CS2 (9.0) Mac OS X, Windows Space Monkey April 2005
  • Camera RAW 3.x
  • "Smart Objects"
  • Image Warp
  • Spot healing brush
  • Red-Eye tool
  • Lens Correction filter
  • Smart Sharpen
  • Vanishing Point
  • Better memory management on 64-bit PowerPC G5 Macintosh machines running Mac OS X 10.4
  • High dynamic range imaging (HDRI) support
  • Scripting support for JavaScript and other languages


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, which has a large and vocal following, and the commercial packages Macromedia Fireworks, Corel Photo-Paint, and Paint Shop Pro. 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 replacement for Microsoft Paint), and the commercial Pixel image editor.

In cinema, CinePaint (a fork of GIMP) has gained a significant market share.

With the recent acquisition by Adobe of Macromedia it remains to be seen whether "Macromedia" Fireworks will remain a competing alternative product.

See also[]

  • Photoshopping
  • Photoshop tennis
  • Photoshop contest
  • List of bitmap graphics editors
  • Comparison of bitmap graphics editors
  • Digital image editing
  • Digital Negative Specification

Related terms[]

External links[]

  • For other external links, see Template:Dmoz