Dr. John Warnock
Image courtesy: Adobe

Adobe has announced that its co-founder, Dr. John Warnock, passed away last Saturday, August 19th.

Adobe PostScript

Dr. Warnock co-founded Adobe in 1982 with Dr. Charles Geschke who he met while working at Xerox. The first product that they developed was the computer language Adobe Postscript which was released in 1984. Following a meeting with Steve Jobs, Adobe adapted Postscript to be the language for driving laser printers. As a result, in 1985 the Apple LaserWriter became the first printer to run on PostScript. This development revolutionized the world of desktop publishing and made it possible to produce high-quality printed output quickly and easily.

Adobe Illustrator

In 1986, Dr. Warnock invented the vector graphics editor and design program Adobe Illustrator. Illustrator was developed from Adobe’s in-house font development software and Postscript. Like Postscript, Illustrator was also developed for Apple Macintosh computers. Within a few years, Illustrator had become the market leading program for digital logo and graphic design.

Adobe PDF

In 1991, Dr. Warnock initiated the Camelot Project. The aim of the project was to “effectively capture documents from any application, send electronic versions of these documents anywhere, and view and print these documents on any machines”.  This led to the creation of PDF (Portable Document File) format in 1992. The PDF format made it much easier to share files between computers.

Other achievements

Image courtesy: Adobe

Dr. Warnock was the CEO of Adobe until his retirement in 2000. Adobe co-founder Dr. Geschke shared the role until he passed in 2017. Dr. Warnock also led Adobe as the company developed Acrobat, Photoshop and Premiere Pro and grew the Creative Cloud software suite. In recognition of his contribution to the digital and video world, Dr. Warnock received numerous awards. One of the most was the prestigious National Medal of Technology and Innovation, which was awarded to Dr. Warnock by President Barack Obama.

Remembering Dr. John Warnock

The impact Dr. Warnock had on the video and print industry cannot be underestimated. The word revolution is often overused. However, the creation of PostScript launched the era of desktop publishing and truly revolutionized the print industry.  The development of the PDF format also made it easy to exchange documents. It’s something we all take for granted now, but it certainly wasn’t always the case. Under the leadership of Dr. Warnock, together with Dr. Geschke, Adobe’s Creative Cloud Suite of programs has led the way with advances in the digital video, image and print world. Although the company’s subscription model isn’t universally popular, the way that Adobe has shaped the future is undeniable.

Pete Tomkies is a freelance cinematographer and camera operator from Manchester, UK. He also produces and directs short films as Duck66 Films. Pete's latest short Once Bitten... won 15 awards and was selected for 105 film festivals around the world.