Adobe Photoshop turns 26: chart its history from version 1.0 to CC 2015

Artwork by Virginie Morgand

A Matter Of Name - Adobe Photoshop CS

In 2003 Photoshop had a slight name change due to becoming part of Adobe's growing list of creative applications. Adopting the CS (that's Creative Suite) suffix, the eigth major version, which was codenamed Dark Matter, offered a slew of new features.

The 2003 release saw the addition of customisable keyboard shortcuts, along with the ability to now write text directly onto a set path. Other features introduced include support for larger files, new match color tools, a new layer management tool called Groups, shadow and highlighting effects and more.

In an effort to reduce piracy Photoshop CS was the first version of the program to require product registration.

One impressive feature added into Photoshop CS was the ability for the program to automatically detect when an image of a bank note had been opened or scanned in. This feature was introduced to reduce the ease at which fake currency could be created - clever stuff.

Eye Of The Monkey - Adobe Photoshop CS2

Known as Space Monkey during development, 2005's CS2 introduced the third version of the aforementioned RAW plugin. Space Monkey added support for HDR images and saw the introduction of the red-eye tool from Photoshop Elements.

Other tools added to CS2 included the spot healing brush, smart objects, the smart sharpen feature and the vanishing point tool - perfect for editing image perspectives. CS2 also saw the ability to select multiple layers at once - handy.

Enter The Matrix - Adobe Photoshop CS3

Known internally as Red Pill, CS3 landed in 2007. Noticably speedier, version 10.0 saw a slew of new features and saw improved support for Vista and native support for Intel-based Macs.

10.0 saw the quick select tool added, along with special image optimisation tools for creating mobile-friendly files. Changes to the curve, vanishing point, brightness and contrast tools were also introduced, adding to the growing range of image-editing treats on offer.

A Change Of View - Adobe Photoshop CS4

Project Stonehenge, known to you and me as Photoshop CS4, hit shelves just one short year after CS3 in 2007. CS4 featured a number of user interface changes, making the programs design a more simplified and streamlined affair.

Version 11.0 of Photoshop, which added native support for 64-bit versions of Windows Vista, also welcomed in a range of new file management and display options.

CS4 also added improved raw image processing, the addition of the Masks panel, along with changes to the adjustment panel.

Leaping Forward - Adobe Photoshop CS5

Codenamed White Rabbit, version 12 of Photoshop arrived in April 2010, bringing with it such impressive features as Content-Aware fill,the Puppet Warp Tool and 3D tools like Repousse.

Known to the world as CS5, it also introduced 64-bit support for Mac OS X along with a range of new realistic painting tools, GPU-acceleration for HUD controls an improved masking and selection.

Version 12.1 followed in May 2011, as part of Creative Suite 5.5, which introduced new subscription pricing for the applications, as well Camera RAW improvements.

Writings on the wall - Adobe Photoshop CS6

Photoshop CS6, released in May 2012, offered a big revamp in terms of performance, as well as enhanced video editing and 3D.

Improvements to Layers, the Crop tool, stereoscopic options, Camera RAW, the properties panel and vector drawing tools jostled with new blur filters, new Content-Aware tools, and the innovative Colour Lookup adjustment layer.

Suitably for Version 13, the internal codename was Superstition and the user interface received a dark makeover. It would also spell the end for the Creative Suite and the CS moniker, as well as the ability to buy the application without subscription. Photoshop version 13.1.3 was the last to be offered with a perpetual license.

Magic number - Adobe Photoshop CC

Everything changed in June 2013 with the first Creative Cloud release of Photoshop. Henceforth all releases of Photoshop would be CC, allowing Adobe to roll out updates to the software to its Creative Cloud subscribers on a more ad hoc basis.  

Version nomenclature does continue however, as do internal codenames. The inital CC release was version 14 of Photoshop, codenamed Lucky 7. Features included Smart Sharpen, Intelligent Upsampling, Editable Rounded Rectangles and Camera Shake Reduction.

Cloud integration was a big deal, taking advantage of a recent Adobe acquistion to offer Behance sharing, as well as the ability to sync preferences with the Cloud.

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