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When to use Illustrator vs Photoshop

Photoshop was launched in 1988, Today it has become the one and only program for many designers. It was originally created as a tool for photographers to edit and manage their photos, and for many people, this remains its primary use. However, due to the vast array of tools available, Photoshop is now so much more than this. Whilst, Illustrator started its life a little earlier than Photoshop in 1987 and was primarily created for the typesetting and logo areas of graphic design. Illustrator is now seen as a tool for both graphic designers and digital artists to create many different types of digital products.

Here the question arises. Which one is better for us? Obviously, the answer will depend on the specific situation, but here I'll lay out a broad overview.

It’s not better, it’s different, Photoshop is best at pixel graphics. I know, it can do vectors too and even 3D but, in most cases, Photoshop is used for pixel graphics. Illustrator on the other hand is built for vector graphics. You have way more options to work with vector graphics in Illustrator but, it’s way worse than Photoshop when you’re working with pixel-based stuff. Nobody wants to edit Photos with Illustrator and at the same time, nobody wants to do vector graphics in Photoshop.

It’s like comparing apples and oranges. It’s just something different, there’s no better or worse.



Graphic designers use Illustrator to create vector graphics. Vector images and graphics are made of points, lines, shapes, and curves based on mathematical formulas rather than a set amount of pixels and therefore can be scaled up or down while maintaining image quality. So, vector artwork can fit different sizes larger or smaller without losing any detail. Vector art can appear on everything from boundless banners to wallet-sized business cards, and everything in between. This makes Illustrator a fascinating application for graphics that are going to be printed on signs or banners.

When to use illustrator?

Whenever you need to create images and design elements from scratch, to work on any vector-based projects, to have smooth edges, working on a print project, need more flexibility, to create a logo,to be innovative with some text,to work on any other vector-based project, Your work will have to be shown at different display sizes, to create scalable images that never lose their quality if scaled up or down, to create brochures, magazine layouts, digital publications, digital designs, annual reports and much more, then illustrator is a go-to solution.



In Photoshop, editors crop photos, adjust photo composition, correct lighting, and make any subject imaginable, look it's absolute best. It’s also where skilled artists can create collages and photo composites, layer images together, and craft original images out of different photo files. Photoshop images are raster graphics. Unlike vector images, they are pixel-based. Raster images tend to have more detailed colors and shading than vector images, and they tend to handle detailed textures and precise edits better than vector graphics.

When to use photoshop?

You need to edit images and raw photos,to modify or make image adjustments,to work on pixel-based images or raster-based graphics, Your project not containing fixed sizes, You need complete control of your projects,to edit your graphic pixel by pixel, don’t want to work with text, don’t want smooth edges,to edit photos that will be displayed in Magazines, digital publications, digital designs, books, Websites, and so on so forth can be done using photoshop.

Is it better to learn photoshop or illustrator?

It depends on your future career or what you ultimately want to do with them

UI Designer

Learn 50% Illustrator, 80% Photoshop
You will need to use Vector Icons and logos made in illustrator to be imported or used in Photoshop documents so when you need to edit that icon/logo, you need to work in illustrator

Print Designer, Brand Identity Designer

Learn 80% Illustrator, 30% Photoshop
Print design or identity is mostly done in Illustrator, so you need to concentrate on Illustrator but in the end you might need to use a Photoshop Logo or brand identity Mockup to show it to a Client so you must know to use Photoshop

Web Designer

Learn 50% Illustrator & 80% Photoshop
You will need to use Vector Icons and logos made in illustrator to be imported or used in Photoshop documents so when you need to edit that icon/logo, you need to work in illustrator

Photographer/Photo Retouching

Learn Photoshop only
Photos are edited or retouched in Photoshop only.














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