Image Liberation Day: Adobe celebrates Camera Raw’s 10th birthday


posted Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 6:34 PM EST


Remember the days when you were forced to fumble with the often poorly designed software that came with your camera just to see the "raw" images you shot with it? Seems like a long time ago, right?

Actually, it was only ten years ago today that Adobe launched Camera Raw, a plug-in that allows photographers to read and process their camera's proprietary raw image files.

According to Adobe lore, legendary Photoshop developer Thomas Knoll came up with Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) while on vacation in Italy.

"The first time I saw ACR was in 2002, as a Photoshop plug-in," said Bryan O'Neil Hughes, senior product manager for Photoshop. "Thomas (Knoll), frustrated by the software that came with his DSLR, decided to write his own. I want to say that this was on vacation, perhaps to Italy. He wasn't sure of the value, but it became a $99 add-on to Photoshop 7.0. It was the only time that we sold it as a plug-in and it validated that photographers wanted this kind of software."

When it was "born" in 2003, ACR supported the raw image formats of 29 camera models. Today it supports 429 camera models. ACR also included 102 lens profiles when it first launched but now offers 792 profiles, in addition to 1,111 customer created profiles.

“I count 42 official releases over those 10 years or one update every 2.8 months," Photoshop Group Product Manager Tom Hogarty said in a post today on the blog. "However, when you include all of the public RC builds you could easily double that!”

To see an intesting graphic of many of ACR's milestones over the last decade, click here. We also got a kick out of this primitive -- by today's standards -- early video tutorial on the basics of Camera Raw.

Incidentally, today is also the 23rd birthday of Photoshop (see a photo of Photoshop guru Russell Brown celebrating below!) and the 6th birthday of Lightroom, making February 19th an important day in Adobe history.

(Via blog)