Photoshop for Mac FAQ

Photoshop began life as a program called Display that was made to display grayscale images on a monochrome display. Photoshop has grown to support layers, filters, brushes, text, 3D objects, video, and much others.

In 1987, Thomas Knoll, a PhD student at the University of Michigan, discovered that his new Mac Plus couldn’t display grayscale images on its 1-bit black and white display. Because of this, Thomas began coding a program to do the job.

grayscale image 1-bit undithered image 1-bit dithered image
Grayscale, 1-bit, and dithered images.

Thomas’s brother John, an employee of George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic, soon showed interest in the project and recommended that it be developed into a full image editing program; it was at this time that the program was given a name: Display. Thomas took a six-month break from his studies to develop the program.

Original Photoshop iconsBy 1988, Display had been renamed ImagePro and had enough features that the brothers decided to try to sell it commercially. ImagePro, which by then had been renamed Photoshop, was rejected by every company they came to, aside from Adobe. However a suitable deal was not reached with Adobe, and the brothers struck a temporary deal with scanner company, BarneyScan, to distribute Photoshop under the name BarneyScan XP. The deal was not forever, and when the contract ran out, the brothers returned to Adobe and sold them the wholesale rights in Sept. 1988. The brothers continued to work on the product, and in 1990 Photoshop 1.0 was released.

Version History

Photoshop 1

Photoshop 1 (1990.01) requires a 8 MHz or faster Mac with a color screen and at least 2 MB of RAM. The first release of Photoshop was successful despite some bugs, which were fixed in subsequent updates. Most users ended up using version 1.07. Photoshop was marketed as a tool for the average user, which was reflected in the price ($1,000 compared to competitor Letraset’s ColorStudio, which cost $1,995).

Photoshop 1.x requires Mac System 6.0.3, 2 MB of RAM, a 68000 processor, and a floppy drive.

Photoshop 2

Photoshop 2 (1991.06). Photoshop 2.0 added support for paths, which allow the user to create and manipulate line based drawings.

Photoshop 2.x requires Mac System 6.0.7, 4 MB of RAM, a 68020 processor, 32-bit QuickDraw, and a floppy drive.

Photoshop 2.5

Photoshop 2.5(1992.11) Photoshop 2.5 was the first version to support Microsoft Windows; in November 1993 IRIX and Solaris support was also added. Photoshop 2.5 added palettes and 16-bit support.

Photoshop 3

Layer were introduced in Photoshop 3.0 (1994.09 Mac/1994.11 Windows, Solaris, and IRIX). Layers allow the user to isolate different parts of the image onto different layers and have probably been the most important addition to Photoshop since its release. Also introduced in Photoshop 3.0 were tabbed palettes.

Photoshop 3.x requires Mac System 7.0, 16 MB of RAM, a 68020 processor, 25 MB of available hard drive space, and a floppy drive.

Photoshop 4

Photoshop 4.0 (1996.11) Solaris and IRIX support discontinued. New features introduced in 4.0 were Adjustment layers and macros.

Photoshop 4.x requires Mac System 7.1 (7.1.2 for Power Macintosh),16 MB of RAM, a 68030 processor, 25 MB of available hard drive space, a color monitor with an 8-bit video card, and a CD-ROM drive.

Photoshop 5

Photoshop 5.0 (1998.05) added editable type, the history palette, color management, and the magnetic lasso tool.

Photoshop 5.x requires Mac System 7.5.5, 32 MB of RAM, a G3 processor, and 60 MB of available hard drive space.

Photoshop 5.5

Photoshop 5.5 (1999.02) was the first version of Photoshop to be bundled with ImageReady. It also made the addition of the the Save for Web feature and the extract filter.

Photoshop 6

Photoshop 6.0 (2000.09) updated the interface and added vector shapes, the liquify filter, and the layer styles dialogue box.

Photoshop 6.x requires Mac OS 8.5, 64 MB of RAM (with virtual memory on), a G3 processor, 125 MB of available hard drive space, a color display with 800 x 600 resolution and 8-bit color video, and a CD-ROM drive.

Photoshop 7

Photoshop 7.0 (2002.03) was the first version with Mac OS X support. Photoshop 7.0 made text fully vector, added the healing brush, and updated the painting engine. Photoshop 7.0.1(2002.08) introduced camera RAW 1.x as an optional plugin.

Photoshop 7.x requires Mac OS 9.1 or Mac OS X 10.1.3, 128 MB of RAM, a G3 processor, 320 MB of available hard drive space, a color display with 800 x 600 resolution and 16-bit color video, and a CD-ROM drive.

Photoshop 8/CS

Photoshop 8/CS (2003.11) discontinued support for Mac OS 9. New features in Photoshop 8 are the lens blur filter, Camera RAW 2.x, the Shadow/Highlight command, Smart guides, a real-time histogram, a highly modified slice tool, the match color command, Macrovision copy protection, scripting support for Javascript and other languages, and the ability to detect and block images of banknotes.

Photoshop 8.x/CS requires Mac OS X 10.2.4, 192 MB of RAM, a G3 processor, 320 MB of available hard drive space, a 1024 x 768 monitor resolution with 16-bit video, and a CD-ROM drive.

Photoshop 9/CS2

Photoshop 9.0 and 9.02/CS2 (2005.02) introduced Smart objects, Image warp, the spot healing brush, the red eye tool, the lens correction filter, smart sharpen, smart guides, Camera 3.x, vanishing point, HDRI (high dynamic range imaging) support, extra smudging options like scattering and improved layer selection which added the ability to select multiple layers. Memory management for 64-bit powerPC G5s was the only major improvement in performance over previous versions.

Photoshop 9.x/CS2 requires Mac OS X 10.2.8, 320 MB of RAM, a G3 processor, 750 MB of available hard drive space, a 1024 x 768 monitor resolution with 16-bit video, and a CD-ROM drive.

Photoshop 10/CS3

Photoshop 10/CS3 (2007.04.16) added native support for Intel Macs and improved launch times over previous versions. Photoshop CS3 no longer includes ImageReady, a program that had been bundled with Photoshop since version 5. Improvements in Photoshop CS3 include the Quick Select tool, smart filters, improvements to cloning and healing, Auto Align and Auto Heal, more complete HDRI support, a revised user interface, black and white conversion adjustment, mobile device graphic optimization, Alterations to Curves, Vanishing Point, Channel Mixer, Brightness and Contrast, and the Print dialog.

Photoshop 10.x/CS3, requires Mac OS X 10.4.8, 512 MB of RAM, a G4 processor, 2 GB of available hard drive space, a 1024 x 768 monitor resolution with 16-bit video and 64 MB of VRAM, and a DVD-ROM drive.

The first version of this FAQ was written by Matt Pearce in 1998.

Sources/Further Reading

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