Photoshop versus Illustrator

For those new to Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, I always hear the common question... what's the difference between the two?

Here are a few basic differences:

Adobe Photoshop:
  • Photoshop is excellent for manipulating photographic images. You can add borders, apply filters, fix any sort of blemishes in a photo, cut out images from the photographs, change the color of a photograph, and do an array of other things to your existing photographs.
  • Photoshop brings in the digital files as a fixed image meaning it brings in the images as pixels in a bitmap form.
  • You can manipulate each colored pixel within the bitmap form.
  • Overall: Photoshop is good for changing existing images in bitmap form.

Adobe Illustrator:
  • Illustrator generates "vector images". Photoshop can make vector images, but once you rasterize them, they become a bitmap image. Compared to Photoshop, many would call Illustrator a "true vector application," meaning you can do more advanced complex vector graphics than you can do on Photoshop.
  • I'm about to use Wikipedia as a source because it defines the term "vector graphics" better than I can. According to Wikipedia, a vector graphic is: the use of geometrical primitives such as points, lines, curves, and shapes or polygons, which are all based on mathematical equations, to represent images in computer graphics." Basically just imagine a very detailed drawing. It is composed of gradients, curves, lines, and shapes. That would be something Illustrator could create. You can manipulate shapes in Illustrator, changing their curves and lines with anchor points.
  • Overall: Illustrator is good for creating new graphics and artwork with vector graphics. The images can be used on line, in print, and even on your cell phone.

Personally I prefer Photoshop, only because I like to shoot photos and I can't really draw. It really depends on what you're working on though. But what's the greatest thing about Adobe products? They were created to all work together.

The image below was made using a combination of photoshop and illustrator. I created it to hopefully use as my Crime In The News blog banner. It was a simple graphic created from scratch. I used Illustrator to create the pencil and photoshop to create the background and crime scene tape. Click on the graphic below to go to my blog (where I have yet to put the graphic up! haha):

*Thanks to for the above two icons for Photoshop and Illustrator.


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