Jul 20, 2005

Adobe Field Trip-visiting the Photoshop Engineers

At the Northwest corner of Park Avenue and South Almaden Boulevard stand three rather tall buildings-by San Jose, California standards. They are the Adobe Towers, the buildings that PostScript and Photoshop built. On 10 West (10th floor, West Tower), the majority of the Photoshop engineers work and play.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve gone down to San Jose to visit 345 Park Avenue, 10th floor. I was there just a few weeks after the first tower, the West Tower, was opened. They had a few, uh, “issues”. I remember something about the elevators and security badges not working as expected. Not unheard of in a new high-tech office building.

My trips to Adobe Systems, Inc. actually started even before Adobe moved to San Jose. I first visited Adobe in their wooded Mountain View “campus”. A cluster of low buildings in a college-like environment. So, the high rise in San Jose was in stark contrast.

But Adobe’s 3 buildings in the heart of San Jose are a testament to both Adobe’s high-tech roots and San Jose’s strong desire to be the center of Silicon Valley. Adobe’s buildings are really due to the vision of Dr. John E. Warnock and Dr. Charles M. Geschke in developing PostScript, type and a little application called Photoshop-which until just recently had a long run as their single largest revenue source.

It should be noted that not all of the Photoshop engineers work in San Jose. There are engineers spread out all over the place including Seattle, Minneapolis and even some in far away places like Tokyo and Noida, a suburb of New Delhi, India. But the 10 West location is where most of them are, day in and day out, working to make Photoshop the best it can be.

I thought it would be interesting for Photoshop users to see what it’s like to visit the Photoshop engineers. Before a recent class that I taught on the West Coast, I took a couple of days to go down to San Jose and visit Adobe. This was in late June, 2005 and many of the engineers were just starting to work the kinks out of the post Photoshop CS2 ship trama. But they were in good cheer-particularly because Adobe had just reported a record quarter of earnings (even though the anaylists were a bit dissappointed by conservative future estimates).

So, click on this link to Visit Adobe–it’s a new PhotoshopNews feature story.

30 Responses to “Adobe Field Trip-visiting the Photoshop Engineers”

  1. Andrew Rodney Says:

    –>Just down the hall is Julieanne Kost’s office. I snuck up on her and snapped a shot before she realized who I was. Fortunately, Julieanne was happy to see me.

    Notice what a good girl Julieanne is. In the background, she is calibrating her Sony Artisan. Now that’s a color managed gal!

  2. Greg Barnett Says:

    Cool! Great story Jeff, nice to have some faces to go with the names.

  3. Phosphor Says:

    Hey Jeff…what a big treat for all of us.

    It’s this sort of thing that NO other Photoshop sites have access to, and it makes visiting lots of fun.

    Note to the Widows: More stories from you all would be welcome, as well.

    Now…about those ALL CAPS headlines…


  4. Mel Lammers Says:

    Jeff, I really enjoyed the tour. As a “still learning” PS CS2 photographer, it was nice to see the engineers having fun. Meets my view of how work should be. I look forward to the next tour.

  5. pxlfxr Says:

    Absoulutely fascinating. The tour is MUCH appreciated. Thank you Jeff fro taking the time to make all of us users feel like part of the Adobe family.

  6. John Says:

    One could get the idea that african americans need not enter. Just something that I noticed since my first intrest in photography about 1985. this seems true around the industry from the outside looking in

  7. Ken Says:

    I think John’s comment is completely, utterly uncalled for.

    Here’s why.

    My personal reaction as a nonwhite was to notice how the Photoshop team is global in nature. We don’t see a team of young white mall-raised geeks from the suburb. We see whites, men, women, Indians, Asians, Chinese, Russians… Adobe is not a government program where a certain percentage of each minority must be represented by law. This is a private corporation where they can do whatever they want in order to produce the best possible product, and somehow they found that the best people for the job were all kinds of people. I am sorry that there are no African-Americans, but as a minority myself I have to say that I had the opposite reaction as John. After seeing the photos, I had to ask myself, if creating a Photoshop requires such a diverse group of races and genders, would it logically follow that a xenophobic, racist culture would NOT be able to come up with a class act like Photoshop? As a nonwhite, I was very, very encouraged by what I saw.

  8. JohnHHarrington Says:

    John — I guess the Mexicans, Chileans, Eskimos, and Native Americans (like me), and the numerous other “races” should also be offended too? What an a*sinine comment…instead of viewing “from the outside looking in” try looking within for some more revealing analysis that is more likely the root of the problem.

  9. JohnHHarrington Says:

    Oh, and Jeff — the tour *ROCKS*!!

  10. Jeff Schewe Says:

    To assume any bias from the limited representation of the selected shots is completely unfair. Adobe is an extremely egalitarian corporation and very liberal and progressive in its corporate culture.

    I can assure “John” that there are indeed black engineers both on Photoshop and other engineering teams at Adobe.

    The exact mix of who was shot was a direct result of who was there on that particular Friday and the result of my photo edit.

    Adobe is an extremely open and progressive corporation in its hiring practices. Adobe always ranks very high on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” list. For 2004 they ranked 13th overall.

    See: Adobe Named to FORTUNE’s List of “100 Best Companies to Work For”,

    Adobe employs about 3,800 people world wide. It is an extremely diverse group of people, from all racial groups. The only group that seems under-represented seems to be female software engineers. But I seriously doubt it’s as a result of any sort of bias on Adobe’s part but due more to the tendencies of higher education, career paths and the lack of qualified applicants.

  11. Henrik Says:

    Wonderful story, nice pics. Just looks all a bit too wonderful and harmonious, to my mind.

  12. George Says:

    Hi Jeff, as a developer working at a third-word country (Brazil) I can assure you: this is a dream to work in such company. Thank you for the images in this amazing tour.

  13. Leandro Says:

    It looks like United Nations biulding!
    There are people from everywhere!

  14. Karen Says:

    Cool office, cool people, cool company! Great tour Jeff :) Thanks for letting us see the Adobe world. It’s like the Photoshop application: amazing!

  15. KingAdobe Says:

    I wish work there , everything is wonderfull .. programs ,building , name of company and logo …All…

  16. yashkhopade Says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for introducing the Adobe’s office and people. It was great experience reading and watching the snaps.

    In our group (my friends) when we see such a good thing we always use to say “Maja aa gaya”. It’s a hindi words.

    My all the best to such a wonderful company.

  17. Hadi Says:

    Wow…what a report…what pictures…it was a magical trip inside Adobe world…I liked that photo with Airplane, Seetha and Marc in it outside on the patio …excellent report, 10 out of 10!

  18. Kiran Says:

    Hi Jeff,
    this is my first visit to PSN. Actually, i found this site through . This is a great site. Thanks for the Adobe Tour, i really enjoyed it as much as i enjoyed working with Adobe Photoshop. Seeing the staff in their various moods was amazing.

    Thanks for all this Jeff.

  19. arjun Says:

    Wow !
    Wow !!
    Wow !!!

  20. Phani Sharma Says:

    HI Jeff!

    I got this kool Link from my friend,it’s really amazing to see all the Photoshop Engineers who are back bone to this great Product!,as i am working with photoshop how cool & nice it was ….you people looks & works more than that!

    It was a nice collection! of the Great Photoshop Engineers!

    Keep it up!

  21. Neil Snape Says:

    What a blast to see the people behind the dev that has glued me to computers since Ps 2.5!
    Next time try to snap a few tour photos when you’re flying over Adobe.
    Great job Jeff.

  22. Billy Says:

    Hey thanks for the inside story! I have been hooked on photoshop since my first expierience with it. Genius I tell ya!

    I am also in awe of how classy adobe’s marketing and business practices seem to be. I am not sure whether the later compliment is warrented because the preceeding compliment is absoultely deserved.

    Anywho thanks for the tour, I think you folks have got it made!

  23. Raja Pandian Says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Its awesome…we really thank u a lot for sharing the photographs…otherwise we never got a chance to see the place ..gud keep it time surprise us with some more amazing photos..
    once again a very big ttttttthhhhhhaaaaaannnnnkkkkkksss…

  24. ij Says:

    How did you get hose overhead shots?

    Carried a step ladder? A toy blimp? Trained a carrier pigeon?

    Very fun to see, thanks.

  25. mo Says:

    I got a chance to meet Chris Cox – once at Adobe for a machine cussing session and again at his house warming party this December. The man is truly one to look up to. And Jeff, he told me to tell you to stop smoking!


  26. dpinto Says:

    Which Camera and Lense did you use (Make and model numbers)for all these photographs. Maybe you’ve mentioned it somewhere, but i didnt have the patience to read.

  27. Mark McIntyre Says:

    This thank you has been a long time coming.

    I am not exagerating when I say that Adobe Photoshop made my creative career possible. I began with Photoshop 1 and all those great dialogues with Kai Krause on AOL trying to penetrate the fog of channel; continued through the years to 1996 and the convention in Santa Barbara with Russell Brown and animated gifs; to a career in 2000 as a photo retoucher/artisan for ad agencies, and just a month ago when I had my first gallery show of digital art, which I call “Pixographs,” that were created in Photoshop and would not have been possible otherwise.

    Who would have thought that one could create abstract art from photographs?

    Combined with digital cameras, printers and papers, Photoshop has opened an enormous frontier in the visual arts…one which has been barely explored.

    Photoshop is and will continue to revolutionize the creative world. In time, it will be regarded as the equivalent to the invention of the printing press.

    I thank you all for this enormous gift to the world and I hope you have some sense of your valuable work, thankless though it may be.

    Very best,
    Mark McIntyre

  28. zunigaudi Says:

    what a marvellus place!!!
    Giulia Z.

  29. Sam Azab Says:

    I started the latest version of photoshop which I had as always; waited for all the files that were required to load and start the software as always, but this time something clicked. I noticed the names of the people on the startup screen, the thing is I’ve always seen it, but I have never bothered to think for a second who these people were, what they looked like or what were their involvments with Adobe.. until today.

    I’m a 27 year old (b. 1979) Egyptian male who has had the opportunity to become what I like to think of myself as an expert and professional in the IT networking industry, being a self-made freelancer. Having experienced the flavors of the IT world in the Middle-East, I’m sure those who’ve been here as well, know that piracy is pretty much the normal thing here.

    I have to admit that on occasions I have had my share of pirated material due to whatever reasons, but I have to confess one thing and this is the main reason why I’m writing this and after going through the tour (which I confess was blown away by the expressions caught on camera) it came to my attention the hard work and effort it took for these people where it all started with the Knoll family and ended up with the products and services we have today. I realized that I am part of this network, not just a consumer, but as an amateur user I have created very simple pieces but considered personal to me using these products, and I created these pieces using software obtained illegally without purchase.

    What I want to say in short. Is that the tour you have posted Jeff had really changed my perspective towards this issue. I want to thank you for changing me and shutting down that part of me. Be proud of the message you’ve sent out even if it was for one insignificant pirate.

  30. Sanjeev Says:

    Hey Nice stuff !!
    I was thinking of getting there by any means to just see the Home of Photoshop.Now thats fulfilled!

    Seetha need some dieting truly.

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