A long time ago, that now seems to be only yesterday or maybe the day before, in the fall of 1993 there was this new trend in photography called digital. Eddie Tapp and I along with graphic designer Linda Adams-Wellin were hard at work on a project for Scientific Atlanta. We had received a commission in October to create an calendar that illustrated the services and products the company provided. The calendar was conceived by Linda as twenty four by nine and a half inch poster that employees would push pin to the side of their cubicles.
Scientific Atlanta, now part of Cisco Systems, made cable television set top boxes,developed the infrastructure for what is now video-on-demand and became the world’s number one supplier of “earth stations” that allowed HBO, The Movie Channel and Showtime to flourish on cable systems. Scientific Atlanta provided the earth satellite gear that Ted Turner used to turn an Atlanta local UHF TV operation, Channel 17, into WTBS the world’s first “superstation.” Our mission was to represent as many of these in a single cohesive photographic illustration.
Eddie did most of the compositing of the background image in Photoshop version 2.0 on our Quadra 700 Macintosh computer sporting a whopping 72 megabytes of ram and a 25 megahertz 68040 processor and two monitors. A twenty one inch for Photoshop’s document view and a fifteen inch screen for the palettes and tools. The machine was really fast for its time. This project was a huge technical challenge. The hard drive was not quite half a gig–400mb. The file was so big we had to use a plug in to edit the image in sections. Photoshop just couldn’t open the whole thing at once. Photoshop 2 didn’t have layers. Each time a change was made we saved a copy of the montage. It didn’t take long to fill up the hard drive. We wound up borrowing a one gigabyte portable hard drive which cost $1,500.00 at the time. There was also only one undo.
Like all projects the timeline slipped for various reasons. Client changes caused delays. The huge amount of time it took to do anything in Photoshop was another. By the time everything was worked out the project was well into January 1994. S.A. still wanted a calendar that would span a full year. Linda’s solution was brilliant. We delivered the calendar to the printer twenty years ago this February. That’s why the Scientific Atlanta calendar’s 1994 began in March and ended the end of February 1995.