Although I can’t remember the exact month and year that I took my first step that would lead me down the long and winding road of my career, I realized the other day it was about 23 years ago when it all began. Some time at the end of 1993 or towards the middle of 1994, I installed Adobe Photoshop 2.5 on my computer and set about learning how to use it.
The very first software application I learned was Adobe Illustrator. I remember spending a lot of money at the time to purchase a set of training videos on how to use the application.
I was taking classes at The School of Visual Arts in NYC and was contemplating going back to school to get a degree in Graphic Design. This was right on the cusp when personal computers weren’t quite an every day occurrence. There were still a few SVA professors who refused to allow the use of computers in their classroom. Everything had to be done by hand. And then there were a hand full who required it. So I learned how to use Illustrator. The image below is quite possibly the first big design project I produced using Illustrator. Sadly, I can’t find the original files or all the pieces in the series. But the images of the Eames chairs were created in Illustrator and the layout of the poster, I believe, was done in Adobe Pagemaker.
I was actually quite good at Illustrator, which is no easy feat. I was capable of drawing complex illustrations using points and bezier curves. I actually still remember struggling to get those damn curves and points to actually DO what I wanted them to do.
But then one day I stumbled upon Photoshop and never looked back. I sat down at a computer and played around with it a bit, and fell instantly and completely in love with it. That was it. I was hooked.
It was 1994 and I practically went into debt to purchase my first real computer. I bought my first used Macintosh, a Quadra 650, for over $1800. That was a LOT of money back then; made even more so when you realize that it had a hard drive capacity of only about 500 mb. But I needed the big tech feature (at the time) of a “floating point unit” so I could immerse myself in my new-found obsession – Adobe Photoshop 2.5. I also purchased an Epson scanner (the biggest thing you’ve ever seen) and a fancy-schmancy Epson ink jet printer.
For anyone who uses Photoshop, but doesn’t know its history, version 2.5 was the last version before layers. No layers meant that every little change you made became one flattened piece of artwork. The work-around (if you can call it that) was saving each change you made as a new and different version of the file so you could always go back in case you made a mistake. When you were done with an image, you might have dozens and dozens of saved versions of the same file.
Rummaging around on my computer, I was able to find a couple of the pieces I created for some of my design classes at the time where I used Photoshop. One of the better ones is below.