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In 1987, Thomas Knoll developed a pixel imaging program called Display. It was a simple program to showcase grayscale images on a black-and-white monitor. However, after collaborating with his brother John Knoll, the two began adding features that made it possible to process digital image files. The program eventually caught the attention of industry influencers, and in 1988, Adobe made the decision to license the software, naming it Photoshop, and shipping the first version in 1990.

It is hard to believe, but Adobe Photoshop will indeed be 20 years old tomorrow, 19th feb 2010. To help celebrate this milestone, the online Photoshop community has been sharing stories on Twitter and Facebook. The latter has a fan-page with more than 400,000 members and this has been acting as the hub for tales about just how much the graphics software has impacted upon the personal and working lives of the people who use it. Adding the #PS20 tag to any tweet about the birthday celebrations ensures your thoughts get noticed on Twitter, meanwhile. A new “Celebrate” tab on Facebook directs users to a 20th anniversary logo, which can be personalised with your own image (in Photoshop of course) and used as a replacement for your own personal profile image on any social network site.

Celebrations, imaging contests, and exclusive online ‘tips and tricks’ tutorials, will begin today across the UK and the world. In the United States, the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) will be hosting a special Photoshop 20th Anniversary celebration for over a thousand attendees in San Francisco at the Palace of the Fine Arts Theatre.

A special Adobe TV broadcast will also air tomorrow which will reunite the original “Photoshop team” for the first time in 18 years, to discuss their early work on the software and demonstrate Photoshop 1.0 on a rebuilt Macintosh computer.

"Twenty years ago, Adobe predicted that it would sell 500 copies of Photoshop per month" said Thomas Knoll, co-creator of Photoshop at Adobe. "I guess you could say, we beat those projections! It’s amazing to think that millions of people use this software today. We knew we had a groundbreaking technology on our hands, but we never anticipated how much it would impact the images we see all around us. The ability to seamlessly place someone within an image was just the beginning of Photoshop’s magic."

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