Differences Between Photoshop and Illustrator

Categories: Design News

Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator share many of the creative capabilities of the other. Photoshop is a bitmap image manipulation and processing program that is perfect for creating, outputting or modifying digital images of a photographic nature. Illustrator is a vector based drawing program that generates individual vector objects (Bezier curves) that retain their characteristics and are not part of a bitmap. Although the creative programs Photoshop and Illustrator are manufactured by Adobe, there are quite some differences.

United Colors by Alessandro Pautasso


“United Colors” by Alessandro Pautasso

Website: www.nosurprises.it


The biggest difference between Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator is of course the resolution. The major issue with resolution is that it is like a human hair – you can always cut it off but you can’t add on to it. This is where vectors come in. Be in web or print, the true test of an image’s integrity is its output. Adobe Illustrator takes some key elements of Adobe Photoshop to the next level and beyond.


Adobe Photoshop is a very popular program used by digital image-makers, graphic designers and photographers around the world. It can be used to take any existing image and give it a professional and polished look. Almost anything you can imagine doing to a picture is possible using Adobe Photoshop.


Adobe Illustrator is a vector based drawing program different from Photoshop that can be used in print, online, video and even on your cell phone. The drawing and vector art tools of Photoshop are not that sophisticated as compared to those in the Illustrator. However Photoshop will work well if your drawing skills are small. You will want to make every image perfect once you learn how to use Photoshop. However, there's no reason why you can’t work with both to create brand new images or enhance the existing ones. As both these programs have some basic shared components you will already have a working knowledge of using the other by mastering one of them.


Illustrator is a geometry calculator, whereas Photoshop is a fresh canvas. A lot of graphic designers use a combination of both to ensure the highest image integrity during output. You can prepare artwork for every medium simultaneously, since the same image used to print business cards can be blown up for a billboard with no loss in quality.


Photoshop/Bitmap Files


Dream City by Paul Hollingworth


“Dream City” by Paul Hollingworth

Website: www.behance.net/chezrump


Photoshop creates bitmapped graphics that consist of tiny dots of colours that are measured by the number of dots per unit - usually called dpi or dots per inch. The eye fills in the spaces between the dots, allowing the colour to appear solid. The bitmap graphics are much larger in file size than vector graphics, and will change quality if you enlarge or reduce them. Photoshop can do anything from fixing red-eye to cropping scanned images. Many effects can be added to a picture very easily, ranging from grey scale to water marks.


A bitmapped image converted to vector can end up larger in file size than the original. But this depends on the image and quality settings chosen in conversion. A bitmap image converted to vector may only look good in smaller sizes. Photoshop is majorly used for image files, but it depends on what you are designing. It is better to use Illustrator for designing logos where the design can be zoomed out infinitely without losing quality. Graphic artworks in Photoshop are built up by pixels and are limited when you need a larger image. The dpi must stay at the right value, which is 72 for web, 300 for printing.


Illustrator/Vector Files


Spring by Brian & Adhemas


“Spring” by Brian & Adhemas

Website: www.adhemas.com


Vector images consist of lines and curves that contain mathematical objects, which consume less storage space and can be downloaded faster. They produce sharper pixels and are lightweight in file size. In this manner, when resizing Illustrator or vector graphics, the sharpness of the line is consistent compared to raster files. Bitmap or raster files look normal when viewed at a lower percentage, but the pixels become apparent when it is zoomed in or enlarged.


Adobe Illustrator also allows conversion of vector images to a bitmap, while allowing you to import bitmapped images, but you cannot edit them in the program. These images can’t be used for web graphics unless the images are incorporated into special technologies such as Macromedia Flash. These files are great for creating buttons for a website, headers and footers for fliers, logos and business cards.


Raster graphics are described by pixels and are nothing more than a big matrix filled with colors. They look bad when zoomed at high levels. Tools used to produce them include Photoshop, Paint and Gimp. Their extensions are jpg, tif, Photoshop eps, png, psd and xcf. Vector graphics are described by mathematical elements and other properties. They look sharp regardless of the zoom level. Tools used to produce them include Illustrator, Inkscape, CorelDraw, Flash and Xara Xtreme. The major extensions are ai, eps, svg and pdf.

As both programs take over some of each other functions, it can become confusing. Illustrator offers colorizing, brushes, painting and can even import and manipulate bitmapped images, but all these images remain vector objects and not bitmaps. Photoshop can create "vector objects" like typography and shapes. However they become part of the "bitmap" once the file is finished.


Vector Art meets Photo Manipulation


More and more creative professionals and design enthusiasts work with both programs, as the unique capabilities of Photoshop and Illustrator complement each other perfectly.


Work + Play by Alex Beltechi


“Work + Play” by Alex Beltechi

Website: www.flickr.com/alexbeltechi


What A Shame The Poor Groom's Bride Is Dead by Tommy Lee


“What A Shame The Poor Groom's Bride Is Dead” by Tommy Lee

Website: www.shadow489.deviantart.com


Michael Phelps by Alberto Seveso


“Michael Phelps” by Alberto Seveso

Website: www.burdu976.com


Idiocity by Cristiano Siqueira


“Idiocity” by Cristiano Siqueira

Website: www.crisvector.com


Children of the Idiom by Joao Oliveira


“Children of the Idiom” by Joao Oliveira

Website: http://www.onrepeat.net

Related tags: Adhemas, Adobe, Ai, Bezier Curves, Bitmap, Creative, Crisvector, Dpi, Eps, Flash, Graphic Design, Graphics, Illustrator, Image, Jpeg, Jpg, Michael Phelps, Output, Pdf, Photo Manipulation, Photography, Photoshop, Print, Program, Resolution, Size, Software, Svg, Technology, Tif, Vector, Vector Art, Web

Bookmark and Share


1 haroon says...
Only Vector Graphic design

Posted at 10:23 a.m. on May 11, 2010

2 brama says...

Posted at 9:24 p.m. on May 28, 2010

3 Tamer Nassar says...
very very good

Posted at 9:59 a.m. on May 23, 2011

Comments are closed.

Comments have been close for this post.