Photoshop vs Illustrator: The Lowdown on Which Program Will Make You A Better Artist

photoshopvsillustratorCurious as to what people are talking about when they talk about Illustrator and/or Photoshop? I know I thought they were the same thing, or at least not very different, for the longest time. Want to know why you should choose one over the other? Let’s weigh the options, Photoshop vs. Illustrator and get a grip on what makes these two very popular programs distinct from one another.

What’s Photoshop?

Photoshop is a pixel based digital image editor that’s a part of Adobe’s Creative Suite. You can create, edit, and enhance images of any kind with this program. The tool selection available makes it possible to change virtually anything about a picture. You can blur a background, whiten teeth, create collages, change colors, crop, add people, add text… the list goes on. If you are a photographer and need to touch up a photo, or crop out that bird-bomb, Photoshop is going to be your right-hand man. Want to learn more about what Photoshop is really capable of? Great. Take this online course on Photoshop CS6.

What’s Illustrator?

Illustrator is also a digital image editor and like Photoshop, is also a part of Adobe’s Creative Suite.  However, Illustrator is known primarily for being a vector drawing program over an image editing program. Vector graphics are images that are composed of mathematically-defined geometric shapes, lines, paths, objects and fills. Images created in Photoshop are comprised of pixels. When you resize an image that’s made of pixels it will lose quality. The way vector graphics are created allows them to be infinitely expanded without losing any quality. They are the first choice for web designers that need to create a logo or image that can be blown up for banners, websites or other large prints. This online course will help you master the fundamentals of Illustrator.

What makes one better than the other?

Let’s not say better, so much as equals – but in different ways. Illustrator obviously has advantages if you are looking to create a graphic. It won’t be as easy to let your creative juices flow in Photoshop for this purpose. If you are a graphic artist, you’re going to want to use Illustrator as it’s designed to be a tool for you. You sketch and then bring the sketch to life in the graphic imaging program. That’s the fun part! You can use Photoshop for some of these things too, but use Illustrator first. If you’re a photographer or want to play around with those photos from last weekends bar crawl, you’re going to want to use Photoshop. Photoshop is an incredible program that really redefines what is possible for an artist to accomplish. Plus, it’s really easy to learn as there are 30982 tutorials online. As for Illustrator, you can now create brochures, annual reports and even books!

Things not to do in Photoshop: make logos, use the type tool for print projects

Things not to do in Illustrator: animation, use the filters like you would in Photoshop, create websites (you can do this in Illustrator, but Photoshop is preferred for UI designs and other graphical elements of your website). Short on time? This Quick Start Illustrator tutorial is a perfect fit.