8 Replies Latest reply on May 6, 2013 10:45 AM by Jeff Schewe

    History behind Photoshop's original filters

    Am05 Level 1

      Hey all,

       

      I'm trying to get a little background info on Photoshop's inspiration, specifically for filters and its history related to photography. Eons ago, when I was a student, I remember reading in my old graphic design manuals a snippet on Photoshop's filters and their origins. From who were the photographer's that influenced that particular style to the techniques that made it possible and how they came into Photoshop.

       

      For some reason, I can't find any info on this on the internet and I've long ago sold my graphic design manual.

       

      Does anyone know a little history behind PS's original filters and the photographer's that experimented with these techniques back in the good ol' days when there were no computers and everything was done manually?

       

      Any links would be helpful.

       

      Thanks.

        • 1. Re: History behind Photoshop's original filters
          Noel Carboni Level 8

          I believe you must be talking about things like "Unsharp Mask", where a darkroom operator would de-focus an image and make a negative transparency, then layer that negative transparency with the original when doing a print, so as to enhance the contrast of edges.

           

          Wikipedia is a good source, e.g.:

           

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unsharp_masking

           

          The original author of Photoshop is Thomas Knoll (who currently still works with Adobe one the Camera Raw plug-in). Perhaps using his name might help you in your searches for the original thinking that went into Photoshop. I'm sure I've seen descriptions of the early work on Photoshop out there.

           

          -Noel

          • 2. Re: History behind Photoshop's original filters
            JJMack Most Valuable Participant

            Noel are you back with us? Your timeout is it over?

            • 3. Re: History behind Photoshop's original filters
              Semaphoric Adobe Community Professional

              In 1988, Gerard Holzmann of Bell Labs published Beyond Photography - the Digital Darkroom (Prentice Hall, ISBN 0-13-074410-7), which describes  several image transformations, with code, that can be found in some of Photoshop's filters.

               

              Aldus had a stand-alone program, Aldus Gallery Effects, which were incorporated into Photoshop[ when Adobe acquired Aldus.

              • 4. Re: History behind Photoshop's original filters
                Am05 Level 1

                Yes, this is useful indeed. I didn't think about looking specifically for filters in Wikipedia. Google searching only brought up tutorials on the filters.

                 

                Thank you!

                • 5. Re: History behind Photoshop's original filters
                  Am05 Level 1

                  YES!! I remember this. Thank you!

                  • 6. Re: History behind Photoshop's original filters
                    Noel Carboni Level 8

                    JJMack wrote:

                     

                    Noel are you back with us? Your timeout is it over?

                     

                    Tentatively.  I've been informed some of the forum problems that frustrated me and caused me to avoid this site may be fixed.  I'm  giving it a try.

                     

                    Certainly some of them still remain.  Whether those that remain constitute a critical mass of frustration and push me away again...  We'll see.

                     

                    -Noel

                    • 7. Re: History behind Photoshop's original filters
                      JJMack Most Valuable Participant

                      You can also try using other browsers. I always have at least two installed.  IE for it so tightly integrated into windows an another. Lately that has been Chrome. I use Chrome all the time.  When I run into a problem with a web page I try IE.  I find often the other browser works on a page that doesn't work in the other.  With this site what I see fail often is trying to post an image after I select the file on my system the insert image button is grayed out. Cancel and a second try works.  The biggest problem I have with the site is the poor spellchecker and its god awful user interface.

                      • 8. Re: History behind Photoshop's original filters
                        Jeff Schewe Level 5

                        Am05 wrote:

                         

                        Hey all,

                         

                        I'm trying to get a little background info on Photoshop's inspiration, specifically for filters and its history related to photography.

                         

                        Well, I wrote up a brief initial history of Photoshop HERE.

                         

                        I can't give you the background on any of the original filters, but I can give a bit if history about why plug-ins were originally developed for Photoshop. John Knoll came up with a bunch of "things" he wanted his brother Thomas to add to Photoshop but there was a matter of Adobe (and Thomas) not thinking they were important to add to the core code. So, instead, the functions like USM and other filters were added as additional filters by way of the plug-in architecture developed for Photoshop.

                         

                        That allowed unique and sometime obscure functions to be added without being written directly into the core code of Photoshop. I'm not sure that the concept of a "plug-in" was unique to Photoshop (pretty sure there were other apps that had plug-ins) but the way plug-ins were developed and turned into a whole 3rd party environment were critical to Photoshop's development and dominance in the industry.

                         

                        Some filters in Photoshop were digital versions of analog functions like USM...some where mathematical functions applied to pixels.Other things like special effects were created because somebody thought it would be "cool".

                         

                        Good luck doing more research...and yes, Thomas still works for Adobe and his brother John is still a special effects supervisor (and Academy Award winner) at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). Nice guys and very talented...