Photoshop and Illustrator are two popular graphic design software by Adobe. Beginners are often found confused as why to use Illustrator if Photoshop is around helping designers achieve almost any design goal. This confusion is understandable since many of the tools in both software look similar at a glance but a deeper look reveals they are different in their functionalities.
Photoshop is basically created to edit camera clicked images that come in JPEG or PNG formats that are actually raster/bitmap files; these files are made up of pixels. Pixels are individual colored squares and it is these tiny blocks that actually create a display on your computer screen. So, when you work inside Photoshop you are dealing with a series of these pixels. On trying to scale up or down an image these pixels may cause to lose the quality.
Illustrator, on the other hand, is designed to work with vector graphics. Vector files are made up of lines and curves not pixels. A line in a vector graphic is made up of two dots connected by a computer algorithm. On scaling up or down, a vector graphic does not lose quality and gives the same result when put on a business card or on a billboard.
When to use Photoshop
With the help of Photoshop, you can edit and retouch pictures and can create:
- Web Pages
- Banner Ads
- Video Graphics
- Digital Paintings and
- Product Mock ups
Photoshop creations look good at screen media like computer, mobile phones and tablets.
When to use Illustrator
Illustrator is best if you want to create:
- Objects, shapes and Icons
Illustrator created graphics give best results in print media like on paper, T Shirts, and Billboards.
Functionality differences of basic tools available in both Illustrator and Photoshop
There are some common tools in both Illustrator and Photoshop but have different functionalities in each environment. Here is a brief overview.
In Photoshop you need to have a separate layer for each design element while in Illustrator you can choose to have more than one design elements on a single layer.
In Photoshop you can have only one canvas for each document while working in Illustrator you can have several art boards within one document and this gives you the capability for multipage documents.
With the help of clipping mask, you can turn an image fit into any shape. For example, you can choose to fit a landscape image into a star or heart shape. While creating a clipping mask inside Illustrator the mask is on top of the image that you want to clip whereas in Photoshop it is opposite – the mask goes behind or is in bottom of the image that you want to clip.
Illustrator allows you to work in both the art boards as well as surrounding workspace, while in Photoshop you cannot work outside the designated canvas space.