Adobe Creative Suite: The history

The 20-year history of Adobe's graphics software.

It's been 20 years since Adobe 1.0 was released, and graphics professionals everywhere are still using Adobe's products to produce videos, Web sites, images and other creative material. We've taken a look back to see where Adobe Creative Suite has been and where it's going.

1986: The first iteration of Adobe Illustrator, aka "Illustrator 88," is released for the Macintosh.

1987: Thomas Knoll, with help from brothers Glen and John, begins work on a Mac program that forms the basis for Photoshop.

1989: 200 copies of an early version of Photoshop called Image Pro ships with scanners made by Barneyscan (now defunct).

Illustrator 2.0 is released for both Mac and Windows, but the Windows version develops along a different path until Version 7.

Photoshop 1
Adobe Photoshop 1.0 for the Mac

1990: After being turned away by Mac software makers Aldus and Supermac, the Brothers Knoll license Photoshop to Adobe. Adobe Photoshop 1.0 for the Mac is released in February. John Knoll's "effects" for the program are moved out into separate add-ons, referred to as "plug-ins."

1991: Photoshop 2.0 is released, featuring CMYK color support -- crucial to its eventual adoption as a print and photography cornerstone.

Premiere 1.0 for the Mac is released.

1992: Photoshop 2.5 comes out, with some stability fixes, support for 16-bit color and -- most important -- support for Windows 3.1.

Premiere 2.0 is released, with QuickTime support, SMPTE time code and 16-bit audio.

1993: Premiere 3.0 emerges, with enhanced preview capabilities and support for up to 99 audio (and 97 video) tracks. Premiere 1.0 for Windows emerges in September 1993, although its features are minimal compared with the Mac version's.

1994: Photoshop 3.0 adds layers, possibly Photoshop's biggest single innovation apart from plug-ins.

1996: Photoshop 4.0 introduces macros.

Macromedia releases the first version of Flash, originally titled FutureSplash. (Adobe acquires Macromedia, and Flash along with it, in 2005.)

1997: Macromedia releases Dreamweaver 1.0, for the Mac only.

Illustrator Version 7 is released for Mac and Windows, the first parallel release of the program on both platforms.

1998: Photoshop 5.0 premieres with color management, editable type layers and a greatly improved "undo" function.

Dreamweaver 1.2 comes out for both Windows and Mac.

2000: Photoshop 6.0 is released.

2001: Adobe spins off Photoshop Elements, a simplified version of Photoshop aimed at users with relatively undemanding needs. Elements will continue to sell alongside Photoshop for a fraction of its price and eventually become nearly as full-featured.

2002: Macromedia releases Flash MX (Flash 6), the first version of Flash to support video.

2003: Photoshop 8 is now the first edition of Photoshop CS, or Creative Suite -- the beginnings of Adobe making Photoshop an integrated part of its expanding product lineup.

2004: Photoshop CS2 introduces the "Smart Object," which allows a layer to be converted into an object and resized nondestructively.

2005: Adobe acquires Macromedia. Dreamweaver 9 becomes Dreamweaver CS3 and replaces Adobe's GoLive product, and Flash 9 becomes Flash CS3 Professional.

2007: After a three-year wait, Photoshop CS3 appears in two iterations: Standard, for "regular" professionals (e.g., photographers and commercial artists); and Extended, for scientific and medical use. Adobe adds support for many cameras that produce raw picture files, and an expanded selection of tools for producing Web graphics.

2008: Photoshop CS4 adds GPU acceleration.

Dreamweaver CS4 is released.

Premiere Pro CS4 adds AVCHD video, support for Final Cut Pro projects and the ability to directly import unprotected content from DVDs.

2010: Photoshop CS5 is released.

Serdar Yegulalp has been writing about computers and information technology for over 15 years for a variety of publications, including InformationWeek and Windows Magazine.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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