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Article: Adobe Photoshop Vs. Adobe Illustrator: Pros & Cons

Adobe Photoshop Vs. Adobe Illustrator: Pros & Cons

When talking about design and graphic software, the name Adobe will not be far from familiar. If you are a designer, you are bound to work with either Illustrator or Photoshop. The two products are probably on the higher tier of popularity. It goes to the fact that both offer different image processes and editing tools (raster and vector). 

Adobe Photoshop works with raster or bitmap images. Meanwhile, Adobe Illustrator mostly supports vector graphics. Both come with fundamental to advanced tools that focus on different file formats. So, the two options offer a more specific usage. That means you cannot simply put Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator in the same category. 

However, it does not mean that both programs cannot be used interchangeably. There are times that people use Photoshop to create designs from scratch or use Adobe Illustrator to make edits on a photo. So, which one to pick? Other than considering the raster or vector graphic type, you can read these details that make the two Adobe software apart.  


About Adobe Photoshop

Let's start with the most popular and known program, Adobe Photoshop. The first thing that you know about this program is probably the photo editing tools and functions it has. However, the clearer definition should be the raster graphic editor and design program. In other words, it is a program to edit photos with a raster file format. 

It makes a clear difference that Photoshop is pretty significant about the ranges. To give you a bigger background, the program was not made by Adobe. The person behind its birth was Thomas and John Knoll, who created Photoshop in 1987. After its success and ability in processing raster photos, Adobe purchased the right in 1995. 

However, the Adobe Photoshop journey is not easy. Before it was bought, the editing program only worked for Microsoft Windows up to 1993. The functions are also very fundamental since it gives users abilities to edit and modify raster photos. During that time, the functions are limited to editing already made or created graphics and images. 


The Pros of Photoshop 

When talking about pros and cons, users should pinpoint the function and graphic type. In this case, the program works the best with a raster image. Thus, it is the best option to edit for regular or raw photos. Your addition and edit will not alter the file size. Except you import more raster images in the workspace. 

It makes the user work with the fixed size most of the time. Adobe Photoshop is also a mature and well-seasoned program. So, you got plenty of image editing tools, and you got complete control of your project. In other words, you can edit and make raster changes in a very detailed move. It also gives you a range of special effects to enhance raster images. 


The Cons of Photoshop 

However, the program is pretty restricted in many cases. It is especially true since the raster graphic style makes your work lose quality if being scaled up or down. The graphic will rely on pixel numbers. When scaled up, the pixels won't add up. Instead, it will make every pixel look bigger and create pixelation. That is why Adobe Photoshop is not good for vector logo design or drawing. 


About Adobe Illustrator 

Compared to Adobe Photoshop, which was bought by the creator, Adobe Illustrator as part of the company from the beginning. The company developed the design and editor program mainly to embrace the vector graphic market. In other words, it gives more advanced editing tools for vector-based graphics and usages compared to raster. 

Since it only uses vector graphic type, the program has a wider function for making designs from scratch. The main purpose and use envelope generating or create cartoons, graphics, logos, and fonts. It makes Adobe Illustrator loved by graphic designers. Before it was now hugely accepted on many platforms, it was created for Apple Macintosh in 1985.  

However, with the growing need for programs and the rising popularity of graphic designer work, Adobe Illustrator has better availability. The current version gives tons of vector graphic functions to help create a work from every bottom or scratch. So, designers do not need raster pictures like what Adobe Photoshop did in its early version.  


The Pros of Illustrator 

Since the program is mainly focused on vector images, most of the function resolves on that editing. Thus, Adobe Illustrator will be the best for creating a graphic design that never loses quality in every display size. It also indicates that Illustrator offers better printouts or output compared to Adobe Photoshop. 

In many cases, the vector program offers the opposite of Photoshop. It includes the non-resolution-dependent aspect. It allows designers to make any kind of work and does not have to worry about pixelation. That is also the same reason why Adobe Illustrator works the best for drawing, vector logo making, graphical illustrations, and vector artworks. 


The Cons of Illustrator 

However, Adobe Illustrator does have its downsides. Since it is only compatible with vector graphic types, the program is hardly capable of processing raster RAW images. It is also hard to work with already created images since the primary function is to create a new one. Along with it, the program also has limited filters and image editing tools compared to Adobe Photoshop. 


The Difference Between Photoshop and Illustrator 

1. Graphic Type  

So, the first thing that makes the two programs set apart is the graphic type. As said in the previous points, Illustrator works with vectors, but Photoshop works with raster graphics. The two graphic types set the functions, tools, and editing availability of the two Adobe programs differently. You can consider them to have the opposite usage. 

The raster graphic by Adobe Photoshop depends on the pixels to create images. That is why Photoshop files and graphic results are very resolution-dependent. To make it clearer, raster or bitmap graphics highly depend on the different individual pixels in it. The more pixels, the better the details are. However, it also makes the file size comparably bigger and heavier. 

The pixels are hardly visible from afar. However, you will make a pixelated or destroy the resolution once you scale it up or down. While it does have a very strong pixel and is resolution-dependent, Adobe Photoshop editing tools can make better alterations. It is most able for already made graphics, such as photographs and pictures. 

On the other hand, vector graphics are the non-resolution-dependent type. Vector software such as Adobe Illustrator will use mathematical constructs to create graphics. The construction was made by connecting two dots with computer algorithms. Thus, vector images are hardly affected when scaled up and down. Not only that, but the size of the file will also be less big than the raster. 

That is why vector graphics are pretty popular for creating logos, print, or anything that needs a clean and unaffected graphic model. It is also a very good option if you are working with printed or flexible scales. And Adobe Illustrator does the best in this sector since the graphic won't lose quality no matter what. 


2. Pricing 

The pricing is pretty different. In this case, Adobe Photoshop is cheaper or less demanding than Illustrator. In the current system, Adobe uses a subscriber plan that you need to pay using an annual plan for every month. And the amount to pay for both programs is completely different. 

The Photoshop price is about $10 per month. The package will include Lightroom and lightroom classic. However, Adobe Illustrator is priced at around $21 per month. The pricier program includes Adobe fonts, spark, portfolio, 100Gb cloud storage, and compatibility for desktop and iPad. 

3. Primary Purpose And Functions 

The biggest difference between Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator is also mentioned in the purpose and functions. You can also consider it as a different usage. Again, the functions also relate to the graphic type. Such as, the Photoshop raster image editor will work better for images and raw photos. 

It is also a good option if you work with pixel-based images with raster graphics. Some other functions for Adobe Photoshop resolve the fundamental modification and image adjustment. The Photoshop project mostly has no fixed sizes since a bigger raster image will create a bigger size. However, the raster editor can give you complete control of the project. 

In other words, you can make adjustments, edit, and work. Adobe Photoshop also supports many text functions and add-ons. Thus, you can make a lot of graphic edits. In this case of raster image editing, the biggest purpose is to take photos for digital publications, magazines, websites, or books. Not something that can be scaled up or down like a vector image. 

The opposite function goes to Adobe Illustrator. The vector image editor is the best option if you are going to make a design element from the very start. You will create vector designs from scratch and images. In many cases, the result can give you smoother edges, scalable work, and flexible graphics. That is why you can use Illustrators for print projects. 

The best pinpoint of Illustrator usage is to create logos, make creative text models, work with other vector images, or work with printed projects. Adobe Illustrator makes your vector work can be scaled up and down without losing its quality. Thus, if you are going to make a logo, digital publication, brochure, or some related vector, use Adobe Illustrator.  


4. Quality And Resolutions 

As said many times that since both programs support different graphic styles, the quality and resolutions are not the same. The raster graphic quality and resolutions are pretty good when not scaled up and down. It has a fixed resolution that makes it look worse or pixelated when forced to scale up. 

In other words, the quality of raster images is very limited. However, raster image editing in Photoshop varies. Rather than creating a new edit, Adobe Photoshop users can make pixel-by-pixel alterations to make a unique change in pictures or images. That would make the Adobe Photoshop project mostly relate to clear print such as magazines or photos. 

The vector graphic style quality and resolutions are better in many cases. However, Adobe Illustrator editing is pretty limited since its main purpose is to encourage users to create new objects. It means that the Illustrator graphic quality and resolution of vector image do not allow advanced photo or image alteration like Adobe Photoshop do. 

However, vectors are non-resolution-dependent. It means your graphic design won't lose any quality, no matter the scale. Your Illustrator vectors project can look perfect for a smaller scale picture or the bigger one. The best example is a logo design for cards and billboards. Adobe Illustrator vector images do not need two different designs. Just one will work fine.  


5. File Formats Compatibility

With different graphic styles, both programs have dissimilar file format compatibility. It does not mean that they cannot interchange. But, when you force the Adobe program to work with the not similar file, the program will either reject or change the format. As an example, the vector image will be turned into a raster in Photoshop. 

The change itself tends to lower the quality. That is why you should consider the file format of the two programs. If you are working with Adobe Photoshop, the standard file format it can work with is JPEG, PNG, or TIFF. The typical raster or bitmap file extensions are JPG and PNG, which Photoshop can work the best. The raster result of the program will go with PSD, JPG, or PNG format.  

But if you are working with vector images, the typical file extensions are SVG, EPS, and AI. Yes, you can find some vectors under the PNG file. But, it is most likely just a raster disguised as a vector. In this case, the AI and SVG files from Adobe Illustrator are both the file and the final product. However, you can also save the Illustrator project to JPG or PNG. 


The Key Takeaways

The biggest point that you should highlight is the difference in file formats. Since Adobe Photoshop works with raster images, the result and editing tools will most likely focus on photo or image alternation. However, Adobe Illustrator handles vector images as the main format. Thus, the software works better for creating a digitally made graphic design. 

In other words, those two options serve different focuses and functions. The not the same graphic software process makes it have different tools and formats. Adobe Photoshop will use raster file extensions such as JPG and PNG. It also supports better RAW images. Meanwhile, Adobe Illustrator mostly uses Scalable Vector graphics or SVF as the file format.

The two vector or raster image and file format show specific uses and design works. Each of them emphasizes different usage, which gives the best capabilities on each software. And about the price, the company gives different tags for the two. And Photoshop does have a lower rate than Illustrator. But, it does not indicate lower specifications or qualities. 


Which One to Pick? 

Three considerations might help you choose the best out of the two. The first consideration is the project and work you are doing. If you are a photographer and designer that mostly takes care of raster JPEG, PNG, and RAW images, the best pick is Adobe Photoshop. It works the best with pixels since it focuses on working with bitmap or raster images. 

But if you are going to work with a more graphic design from scratch or not based on a vector picture, try to use Adobe Illustrator. You will get the more advanced use of vector images and tools in the software. It works wonderfully with its SVG, and you can make amazing design graphics such as pamphlets or billboards on bigger scales. 

The second consideration is the frequency. There are times when designers have to work with both raster and vector images. In this case, you can start the career by choosing one that you are sure will use more frequently. In other words, analyze your situation accordingly before buying both. You can pick one and try to cope with it until you buy the other software. 

And lastly is the price. The company makes the two programs quite expensive. Getting both vector Illustrator and raster Photoshop is pretty harsh for the wallet. In this case, you can take advantage of the free trial. You can use both together in the same month. So you can explore Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop.

However, you can also use one product for free for one month and take the other product for a different month. So, you got a long time to explore and learn about rasters or vector software. There is also another solution for you who are short of money to get both options. You can use one and get the full advantage of it before using another one when needed. 


Final Words

So, which one do you want to use? Photoshop and Illustrator have different functions, file extensions, prices, and graphic styles. That is why the primary usage is not the same. If you are going to work with a raster image, use Photoshop. But for vector images, use Illustrator. Whatever the pick is, choose the one that works with your project.  

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