Join Lynda.com for an in-depth discussion in this video The rise of digital photography, part of Celebrating Photoshop: A 25th Anniversary Retrospective.
(inspirational music) - The 90s was really the decade of the hybrid image. Shoot film, and then scan it, and then go into the digital darkroom and make the digital prints. - If you were a photographer, the Photoshop workflow, it was still really far off. It was still placing a lot of faith in the technology and where it was going. It was in its infancy. - It's strange that in a program called Photoshop they had to take extra effort to accomodate photographers.
There's, here's an individual image that I need to fix, then there are the other 600 images that I shot on this project, that I somehow have to manage. Photoshop was not set up for that second problem, it was set up for that first problem. - We know that Photoshop was created for pre-press use but my first introduction to Photoshop was as an art student. So when we all suddenly had those tools right in front of us and we could make whatever our imagination could come up with it was so freeing and so exciting. - It's this uber professional tool, yet everyone uses it.
It's rare that you can have the best tool in the world accessible to everyone, and everyone contributing to the overall ground swell of the kind of energy and excitement with it. (inspirational violin music) - In May of 1991 I had been invited to come up to Camden, Maine where Kodak had a digital learning center.
And Lynda Weinman ended up teaching a class on use of photoshop. And after sitting down and Lynda showing some of the rules of how you make selections and how you change colors and, it was just, I felt reborn with photography. And I still feel that excitement today. - I was very fortunate to be the first intern at the Kodak Center for Creative Imaging in Camden, Maine. Kodak was very, very smart. They understood that digital was a complete change.
A Mac FX, that was a $12,000 computer. We used a Kodak DCS 100, which is a Nikon F3 with a tethered cable to a 12 pound Winchester hard drive that could hold like, 156 images. Another $25,000. So to get started back then, you needed like, $50,000, $60,000, $70,000. And the quality was horrific (laughs). - If you wanted to get into digital photography at least in the early days, and to some degree still today it wasn't enough to just be a photographer.
You also had to be kind of a nerd. You had to have your head around the computer side, and the more aptitude you had there, the better. - The early days we had the hesitation for graphic designers to enter this. Now we have the hesitation for photographers to enter into this field. We had to prove it to graphic designers with our early invitationals at Adobe, but the photographers weren't ready to join the club that the graphic designers were in until a really quality camera came along.
- Canon released the EOS D30 in 2000. A three megapixel SLR that cost $3,000 and we'd never seen anything like it. That was cheap for a digital SLR. Meanwhile on the software side, you've got a different, I feel like hardware and software took two different approaches. The hardware guys, to a degree, still believe that what matters is the camera you're shooting with. Meanwhile on the software side, the attitude is, oh, it doesn't matter what camera you're shooting with what matters is the image editing software you're using.
- The camera manufacturers made their own software. Nikon had software, Canon had software, Fuji had software. And guess what, camera manufacturers are very good at making cameras, and they're not good at making software. Thank goodness Thomas Knoll got a Canon camera and went on vacation in Italy and couldn't stand the Canon software. I mean, he was like, really, this is it? I can do better than that. So while his family was on vacation in Italy for two weeks he was actually writing the foundation for Camera Raw.
- For a lot of working photographers there was disconnect because they weren't, you know, it was so big and powerful, they didn't really know what to do with it, and it was so time intensive. And then all of a sudden they kind of tacked on Raw. It was almost like this side thing and it changed everything. Because it gave a starting point in the overall workflow. Even with Photoshop, when you open up an image it's hard to know, where do I begin. - We had the Camera Raw plugin, we had what was called the File Browser at the time which would later become Bridge, and there was a decent workflow.
But it became fairly evident that photographers, they needed a different solution and in many ways it needed to be a subtractive solution. They didn't need 75% of what Photoshop offered. They needed that Camera Raw plugin, they needed a really smooth way to come in, and then they needed some other things mainly served up in a really friendly way. Because, you've gotta understand, people didn't really understand software that well. They were going from film to digital, that was already a huge leap.
- In Photoshop, if you want to do non-destructive editing you have to come up with all these secret handshakes and special ways of working using adjustment layers and smart objects, and smart filters. In Lightroom, all you have to do is drag some sliders, and your changes are automatically written into Lightroom's database, non-destructively. - What's beautiful about the tools now, be it Photoshop, Camera Raw, Lightroom is the ability to interpret and enhance an image in multiple ways. When we're working with film, you had to make the decision of what kind of picture you were going to take when you bought the film.
Now with digital, you can, of course, think about interpreting it while you're shooting, this is black and white, this is color. But, you can come in and you can explore multiple versions of the same image and it's fascinating to see how one image can be changed and interpreted and enhanced and express different things just based on how you process it. - There's a great Marshall McLuhan quote about we, and by we he just means, human beings, we shape a tool and that tools reshapes us.
And I really think that, in this latest version of Camera Raw, they nailed it. The tools that I have there, the ability to pull dynamic range out of highlights and shadows with an ease and sophistication that I could not do before dramatically changes the way that I visualize the world when I'm out walking around. - People say to me, "How do you feel about this Photoshop," or, "The digital world?" I love it. Because it used to be (mumbling), do a Polaroid, check it. But is that Polaroid really going to match the final picture.
Maybe it would, but it wasn't the same instant. Today, if you get a perfect digital image in your camera and you process it correctly, you have the image. And that assurance is certainly very valuable. - And the trick, I think, with Photoshop is this, I mean, I could be wrong, but currently, this is the trick, people don't use Photoshop enough. It sounds crazy. The problems with my students and myself used to be that I used it too much.
But now what happens is because Raw is such an important part of our workflow they finish their image in Raw, but the image needs a little bit of just, finessing. It's that last 10%. And in any great work of art, or any, I don't know, almost anything that's great I think the 10% is so important. And so currently it's to kind of have patience to see the image through that last little step. You're not like, fixing something, you know but it is, if it's a cake, it's just the icing and just getting it just perfect.
No one else will know the difference, maybe, they won't be able to identify the difference, but they'll be able to sense it, or maybe feel it. And I think we know that with all great, I don't know, products, or art, or whatever it is. (music fades)
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