[Infographic] 7 Ways Photoshop Changed the World

February 4, 2015
Matt Forman

Whether it was to conceal a pimple or make your vacation photos look even more gawk-worthy, chances are you’ve dabbled in Photoshop for one reason or another.

In the digital marketing world, we can’t imagine life without it. So on it’s 25th anniversary week, we look back on the industry standard for graphics editing and reflect on how Photoshop has changed the world.

(Click, don’t squint!)

1. Changed the Industry: Photoshop heralded the era of digital photo manipulation. Before the digital tools that Photoshop offered, the industry relied on expensive machinery and expert production staff. Over time Photoshop has lifted many workflow and creative limitations, lending endless possibilities to what professionals can do with the software.

2. Changed Publishing Access: Pre-Photoshop, digital image retouching cost thousands of dollars and required outsourcing. Photoshop helped people achieve the same caliber of graphic design and publishing on their Mac that was previously inaccessible or unaffordable to them.

3. Changed How We Think About Images: “It Must Have Been Photoshopped!” Photoshop has made people skeptical about the authenticity of images, turning the product name into a verb that indicates something doesn’t look real or is possibly too good to be true.

I knew the influence it had on the world when Photoshop is used as a verb. It gives me a little thrill every time I hear that.- Thomas Knoll, Co-Creator

4. Changed How We Advertise: Early advertisers retouched photos by hand to improve the look of products or to create attractive proposals. Photoshop brought more extensive tools to market with greater ease of use, allowing advertisers to create beautiful content for content marketing, email marketing, social media marketing and virtually any other marketing campaign.

5. Changed the Film Industry: Photoshop and the film industry have always gone hand in hand. Co-creator John Knolls was working at Industrial Light and Magic (the company behind Star Wars) when he and his brother Thomas developed the software. When PS 1.0 first shipped, the film industry was an early adopter, using it extensively to create digital composite shots. Today it’s widely used for special effects and “beauty work.”

ILM was the first place I went to that had a computer graphics department. So in a way, George [Lucas] had kind of fostered the creation of Photoshop. – John Knoll, Co-Creator

6. Changed How We Think About the Human Body:

95 percent of the human images we see are retouched. – Jennifer Berger, Executive Director of About-Face

Unfortunately, the extent to which the media uses Photoshop to beautify the human body has led to disillusionment about what society thinks is normal.

7. Changed How We Entertain Ourselves: With the rise of social media, Photoshop is being used to create viral content like memes and as a general source of entertainment. There are even hashtags and websites dedicated to Photoshop fails and disasters. It has become an inescapable part of pop culture.

What are your thoughts/feelings/experience with Photoshop? Leave us a comment below!