When Adobe unveiled the robust video editing capabilities with Photoshop CS6, the response from many was a simple Why? In some regards this is a legitimate question as for most, Photoshop is closely linked with digital photography. Its the tool used to develop and process images captured by cameras into a more useful state. Of course, why can’t the same logic be applied to both video and photographic cameras (especially since these cameras seem to often be on a collision course as well)?

Photoshop and its Video Roots

Its important that you realize that Photoshop and Video have a long history together. Photoshop began (in part) as tool for Industrial Light & Magic (www.ilm.com) the noted special effects company. In 1987, Thomas Knoll began writing an application to edit and display grayscale images on his Macintosh computer. His brother John was a visual effects supervisor at ILM and encouraged his brother to pursue it as a full application for editing.


Originally the application was called ImagePro, but was quickly renamed Photoshop (as the previous name was taken). The software was used to help with visual effects in the film The Abyss (directed by James Cameron). The application was sold to Adobe and first shipped in 1990 as a Macintosh only program.

The program has been used by video and film professionals for years. I first used it professionally working for a television station that designed all of its on-air graphics using Photoshop. I then found myself using its powerful tools to create graphics for use with nonlinear editing systems like Avid, Apple Final Cut Pro, and Adobe Premiere Pro. In fact Adobe estimates that 95% of all video editors used Photoshop in their professional workflow.

Why Edit in Photoshop?

So lets return to the first question. Why edit video in Photoshop when there are so many video editing tools already on the market? The simplest answer I can give is Because you want to. Of course theres lots more reasons like its simplified timeline thats perfect for quick edits or its incredible ability to color correct using the Photoshop tools you know and love.


For many photographers, Photoshop is their home base. Its where they feel most comfortable and like working. Adobe has responded by enhancing the well-loved application adding highly functional, yet easy to use (and even familiar) tools to get the job done.

I had the joy of working with the Adobe team as they developed these features. I can ensure you that the goal is to give you just what you need for basic video editing. It’s essentially there to help millions of photographers and designers get all that the DSLR and other video, off their hard drives and start putting it into action.

If you need to fix a few shots, it’s a great tool. If you need to assemble a short video for the web, it’s a really good tool. It’s got a lot of features, and what really stands out is its clean and simplified interface for assembling video clips together quickly.

We’ll keep looking in-depth at Photoshop and video in the coming weeks.