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Macintosh, Windows, and Photoshop

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Get started in Photoshop with this interactive guide covering the interface, the differences between the Windows and Macintosh versions, and setting up.
This chapter is from the book

Adobe Photoshop is a rare software application that entices people to acquire skills beyond an introductory level of knowledge, because it is actually enjoyable to learn and encourages experimentation. As the year 2000 brought us to Photoshop's tenth anniversary, I am still awestruck at the power it possesses as an image editing/creation program. With the inclusion of the ImageReady tools, it is the preeminent image application for Web graphics, regardless of whether you use the PC or Macintosh platform.

Roger P. Shepard, Jr.
Digirati Studios, Shirley, MA

Chapter Objectives

In this Chapter, you will learn about:

  • The Photoshop Interface Page 3

  • Photoshop on the Windows PC and the Macintosh Page 19

  • Setting Up and Getting Started Page 27

When designers launch Adobe Photoshop on their computer desktops, they know that they are about to work with the most powerful and respected photo-manipulation and graphics application currently on the market. The first seven chapters of this book will investigate that application. This chapter focuses upon the Photoshop interface and the differences in its appearance and behavior on the Macintosh and the Windows operating systems—including Windows 2000. Some significant changes to Photoshop appear in versions 5.5 and 6.0, so these are examined. Basic graphics issues such as file type and sizes are discussed here.

The chapter also includes a history of Photoshop, and a sidebar containing a capsule history of computer-human interface issues as they relate to graphics and media on the machine. Every designer should have a sense of where our tools came from. Future developments, predicted or desired, in cyberspace and design are found in Chapter 20.

Lab 1.1 The PhotoShop Interface

Lab Objectives

After this Lab, you will be able to:

  • Explore Photoshop's Interface

  • Explore Photoshop 5.0, 5.5, and 6.0

The Photoshop interface has developed over the years. It was first developed by Thomas and John Knoll from Ann Arbor, Michigan. John needed an image processing program for his computer work in California at George Lucas's special effects company, Industrial Light and Magic, so Thomas developed one for him. After writing various plug-ins for it, John pitched it as a product, finally to Adobe in 1988.

Early in Photoshop's development John Knoll designed an application icon for the program showing a little drive-in photo developing booth with an employee standing ready at the cash register.

Photoshop has several windows that by default are open on your desktop.

Palettes can be moved, hidden, collapsed or expanded, resized, or customized. Each tool has its unique palette.

Let's consider the history of this exciting and versatile graphics program, and then explore its carefully developed interface.

Photoshop is not the only desktop photo retouching tool, only the most successful, versatile, and long-lasting. PhotoMac was on the market shortly after the first color Macintosh appeared in 1987, well before Photoshop. Fractal Design's ColorStudio was a strong competitor to Photoshop 1.0 in 1990. Aldus, the original developer of PageMaker, had a product called PhotoStyler until the company was purchased by Adobe. LivePicture, from MetaCreations, had layers before Photoshop did. In the mid 1990s Macromedia published a product called x-Res. Barneyscan XP, which shipped bundled with Barneyscan scanners, was actually an early version of Photoshop before it came to be distributed by Adobe. Some Windows users prefer to use more task-specific limited graphics applications like Professor Franklin's Instant Photo Effects and LView Pro. Raise a toast to them all ... but spend your time learning Photoshop, for it's here to stay.

Milestones in Photoshop History


Photoshop 1.0: The program first appears for the Macintosh platform only.


Photoshop 2.0: First Windows version. CYMK color made Photoshop useful for the printing industry. The Pen tool added.

Photoshop 2.5: Dodge and Burn tools added, based on traditional darkroom functions in photography.


Photoshop 3.0: Editable layers, perhaps the breakthrough feature that added the greatest functionality to Photoshop.


Photoshop 4.0: Connection to the World Wide Web. Pop-ups on the toolbar added more tools. Changes made to Pen tool behavior. Interface consistency with other Adobe products.


Photoshop 5.0: The History palette added to allow multiple Undo. The History Brush feature added.


Photoshop 5.5: Web graphics functions enhanced. Image Ready 2.0 bundled as an extension.


Photoshop 6.0: Slices, Notes, and other Toolbar changes added. Text manipulation on canvas, not dialog box. Image Ready 3.0 bundled as an extension.

For more historical information and anecdotes, see Jeff Schewe's excellent article "10 Years of Photoshop: The Birth of a Killer Application" in Photo > Electronic Imaging magazine (www.peimag.com), February 2000.

Some GUI and Web History

Some sense of the history of GUI (graphic user interface) design is important for the contemporary Web designer, as the Web as we know it is not a natural phenomenon like the stars in the sky but is the result of years of development, products, experiments, and technologies. It is the coming together of historical developments in computer graphics, interface metaphors, computer science, telecommunications, and business. All this knowledge is helpful to users of a highly refined and developed application like Photoshop. You are encouraged to use this narrative as a guide to your own further research.

The first to display graphics instead of merely text on computers in the 1960s was Ivan Sutherland. These were simple vector graphics, where a graphic object is defined by the mathematical coordinates of its endpoints, or a circle defined by its center and radius. The other way graphics can be defined is by the computer noting the precise location of each pixel (picture element) on the screen's raster or display grid, with information on that pixel's color. Needless to say, this kind of graphic, called bitmapped, is more memory-intensive but proved to be an effective way to display onscreen an image input from a continuous-tone photograph.

The two kinds graphics continued to develop. Vector graphics objects were used for design and illustration programs like MacDraw and CorelDRAW (as well as 3D graphics), while bitmapped programs like MacPaint, Electronic Arts' Studio8, and in 1990, PhotoShop appeared.

Parallel to all this is the development of what became the World Wide Web. Computers were networked in the 1960s in experiments at Xerox's Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) and elsewhere, and Vinton Cerf helped develop the TCP/IP protocol, which meant the network could run over the phone lines. The United States Department of Defense funded projects that could result in a decentralized network among military, government, and universities. On this Internet email was exchanged and text or graphic files (including Compuserve's economical GIF format) could be attached ... but in the 1980s the only images visible were whatever icons came on your email program. Consequently, this excellent public resource was hardly utilized and undeveloped by todays standards.

The first to put information in onscreen windows and link them was Douglas Engelbart, who also invented the mouse. Networked hypermedia was first proposed by the filmmaker/computer scientist Ted Nelson around 1960. Yet it was Tim Berners-Lee at the European research laboratories CERN who first came up with a way to display onscreen "pages" of text with imagery. This prompted college student Marc Andressen and friends to develop a browser called Mosaic to view these documents easily. When Silicon Valley industrialist Jim Clark saw it, he hired Andressen and gang to his new company Netscape. When Bill Gates and Nathan Myrvhold saw what was going on, Microsoft developed the Internet Explorer browser. And when students, scholars, scientists, artists, and businesspeople all over the world saw how their own work could be furthered with online publishing—of text, graphics, and multimedia—it brought us to today's World Wide Web.

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