A few days ago John Nack posted an interesting story on his Adobe Blog. The title of which being, “Photoshop, as seen through Johnny Cash”. The article compares the development of Photoshop over the last twenty years as being very similar to the story in the Johnny Cash song, One Piece at a Time. In the song Johnny Cash presents himself as a Cadillac assembly line worker who stole individual parts of a Cadillac over a period of twenty years and when he finally assembled it not all the parts fit together seamlessly and the car looked kind of funny but it ran well, like a Cadillac should.
The point of the story being that although Adobe Photoshop is a top class application and arguably performs better than any other competing graphics arts application, it is not very pretty and many think it is badly in need of a graphic user interface overhaul, as well as a judicious pruning of some fairly obviously obsolete functions. A possibility that he also hinted at is that Adobe may opt to produce various versions of Photoshop for different industries and professions, or that the application can be configured more easily and completely to suit the individual user.
What he goes to great pains to explain to his readers though, is that Adobe is not intending to revolutionize the Photoshop experience, but rather to continue down the well trodden evolutionary path of Adobe Photoshop user interface and feature development and not throw out anything that could be of possible use to anyone. Kind of like getting married to a new wife every couple of years to keep up the appearance of vitality, but keeping all the old wives in the house because they are needed to take care of the children. In the process some of the rooms and joint family activities will inevitably end up getting pretty messy.
Oddly enough Photoshop Lightroom is not mentioned even once in this article. I say oddly because not long ago Adobe went to great pains, to make us aware of the fact that Lightroom is indeed a member of the Photoshop Family of applications. What that tells me is that Adobe is planning to go into two (or maybe even three) separate directions with the Photoshop Family.
The old Photoshop (or as I like to call it, Photoshop Classic) will remain pretty much the same as it is now and continue to evolve for many years to come, until the user numbers fall too low to support further development.
The new Photoshop (Lightroom being the first of this group) will be cloned into separate but equal applications for a new generation of graphic arts professionals who are either new to Photoshop or willing to adopt a new way of doing things. My guess (actually my wish) would be a Photoshop Webroom (or maybe Webstudio) will be the next one in this series. I can also imagine a version of Photoshop Lightroom that is designed for photo retouching only with a simple browser interface instead of the current Library system and no Web or Slideshow modules.
I don’t want to go to far into conjecture concerning specific versions here, but I think by now you might understand what I am aiming at. Everything that the “Classic” Photoshop now does can be offered in a number of separate software packages using the Lightroom Graphic User Interface. As long as the “Classic” Photoshop version is still available this should not really upset anyone, and if I am right it would explain why there is so much overlap between the current Photoshop CS and Photoshop Lightroom applications.