In the middle of 2013, Adobe went through a huge security breach in their systems with huge bits of their software code stolen and posted online. The hack was inevitable as Adobe had been criticized for its pricing practices among its user base for a very long time.
My very first memory of using an Adobe product is a bit vague, but the feeling it gave me, is still very vivid in my mind. I was confused, amazed, inspired, jaw-dropped, all at the same time. Photoshop was the first Adobe product that I used and I didn’t know what to think of it except that now I can manipulate digital memories however I want.
Photoshop was then of course just the beginning of what would lead me into a never ending curiosity of exploring other Adobe products like Premiere Pro and After Effects which then led me into digging deep into the past of two businessmen, John Warnock and Charles Geschke, the guys who found Adobe in the December of 1982.
Initially being a math failure in his ninth grade, Warnock went on to grab a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics followed by a PhD in computer science. Warnock’s genius in mathematics was at full on display in the form of his 1964 master’s thesis where he solved the Jacobson radical row-finite matrices which was originally theorized by a leading algebraist in 1956.
Warnock took his understanding of math and computer science to the next level when he wrote the Warnock Algorithm designed to render a complicated image of a scene. If the image is simple, it’s immediately rendered, but if it’s a complicated piece of pixels, then it’s divided into smaller parts and the rendering process repeats itself.
On the other hand, although he never came up with a unique invention, Charles Geschke, Adobe’s co-founder was on a parallel level to John Warnock with his MS in mathematics and a PhD in computer science. He went on from a teaching job to working at Xerox where he formed and headed an image science laboratory, directing research activities notably in image processing.
This is where the two masterminds crossed paths when Charles hired Warnock at his lab and the two came up with the idea to commercialize InterPress graphics language for controlling printing. But Xerox remained unconvinced and the two along with a third collaborator, Dan Putman left their jobs at Xerox to build Adobe.
The company found in Warnock’s garage, went on to the level where Steve Jobs once negotiated to buy it for five million dollars, but to Warnock and Charles’ credit, they refused and instead sold him 19 percent of the shares for five times more of what the company was evaluated at the time.
Reaching the mid-1980s, the company launched Adobe Illustrator that would change the face of how people would draw in the future to come followed by Photoshop nine years later that would become its flagship product. Two years later down the road, the world was introduced to Premiere Pro and After Effects that would redefine how movies would be made.
Fast forward to the Summer of 1993 and the company finally came up with the PDF format that would allow us to send electronic documents anywhere, view and print them on any machine. In Warnock’s own words “Imagine a digital document viewer equipped with text searching capabilities. You can find all documents that contain a certain word or phrase, then view that word in context within the document. Entire libraries could be archived in electronic form.”
Being incredibly successful with all of its products, it’s quite astonishing that Adobe flash was met with a lot of backlash most notably from Steve Jobs who opted not to support Adobe Flash on iPhones claiming unreliability and security flaws with the software. Jobs even posted an article online expressing his thoughts on Flash and the rise of HTML 5.
Adobe eventually went on to discontinue Flash in the December of 2011 and refocusing all efforts on HTML 5 for mobile devices.
Back in 1994, Adobe bought Aldus Corp., the manufacturer of Free Hand that was a direct competitor to Adobe Illustrator. But Adobe was forced by the Federal Trade Commission to sell the software to Altsys, the company which was then bought by Macromedia, the organization which was then bought by Adobe in 2005. Adobe bounced over and took back control of the only two leading illustration programs in the world.
What’s more mind twisting is that Adobe is now diving into the AI industry collaborating with NVIDIA to speed up its Adobe Sensei AI which is going to deliver some very powerful features like auto lip sync in Adobe Animator CC and face aware editing in Photoshop CC.
I’m an Adobe user and I’ll always be an Adobe user, because I can never really be sure what amazing new mind twisting direction Adobe’s going to be moving in, but whenever I finally see the end results, I’m confused, amazed, inspired, jaw-dropped, all at the same time.
I haven’t used all of the Adobe products, but the products which support the process of filmmaking definitely keep me hooked to be an Adobe user and it just made me think as to what crossed the founders’ minds as to take this garage based company to conquer the creative field in such dominating fashion which turned out to be the inspiration for this video.
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In the hopes of connecting with story lovers all over the world, this is Mr. Zeecon, in the making of a great story.
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