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» AnimationNation   » General Discussion   » Photoshop vs Illustrator - if you had to choose one...

   
Author Topic: Photoshop vs Illustrator - if you had to choose one...
Charles
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Which would it be?

Let's pretend that software rationing had gone into effect, and artists could only choose one of these programs to to work with. Which would it be for you, Photoshop or Illustrator?

Both have their strengths and advantages, but if you absolutely had to pick one, you had to commit to one or the other, which would you choose?

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tstevens
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Photoshop - hands down.

Illustrator will always be king for resolution independent graphics like logos or massive advertising pieces. However, Photoshop gives you the ability to do photo editing, painting, drawing and vectorized shapes all in one package. You also have to remember that photoshop type is almost as good as Illustrator when it comes to manipulation. If you know what size your final product needs to be published or viewed at then photoshop is very easy to plan around. It is also much more user friendly when it come to designing for the web. In the newest versions you also have the ability to import and texture 3D models (though I have yet to talk to people who are doing it).

One of the things I have always hated about Illustrator is having to work around files that were saved in different versions. Newer psd files almost always open up in older versions of Photoshop. I frequently find myself having to open ai files in Photoshop because of the version problem with Illustrator.

That being said, Illustrator is at its core a drawing program based on resoluation independence whereas Photoshop is a photo manipulation tool that also excels at "painting". Though they cross over in the middle, they really have two separate uses.

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Graphiteman
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Photoshop is definately the more intuitive of the two. I am newer to illustrator (cs3). As it was my first experience with AI, I couldn't understand the big deal of this new "Live Paint" function. It allows you to paint areas of a vector drawing. Now at my new job using an older version (cs) one has to draw the seperate areas of colors on seperate layers (i.e. seperate objects) which is goofy. So the newer one can understand those seperate areas as objects but you have a menu comand to use the live paint function. But never having used it before I thought shouldn't an art program just know to fill in seperate areas of a single drawing to begin with?
The mesh gradient function is cool for acheiving gradients in vector graphics, and no, it does not have to be photorealisitic. It is cool too that newer versions can save symbols that copy persectly into Flash.
But definately PS is the most intuitive. At my new job we do the conceptual stuuf in PS and the final stuff in AI for the reason of scalabilty and printing but sometimes I just wish we could do the art huge in PS to accomdate scalabilty and printing. It would be easier.

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Graphiteman
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But never having used it before I thought shouldn't an art program just know to fill in seperate areas of a single drawing to begin with?
I forgot to add I thought this considering Flash is vector and now an Adobe product and it's no big deal to fill areas....although there are not the effects one can apply as in AI which may play into some technical reason.

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toonedbob
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Illustrator - No contest.

Vector rules! Can import Illustrator animation into flash, quick and simple. Also can bitmap objects in illustrator and add all the same filters that are in photoshop. Live Trace can take bitmaps and vectorize them. Since I'm animating an doing print, Illustrator suits all my needs.

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mojodesign
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What an interesting question...

...but it's really like choosing between your children...still, let's not kid ourselves, there's always a favorite [Wink] .

If I had to absolutely pick JUST one...hmmm...Illustrator, I think. I do most of my art in Illustrator these days.

You know what's funny,...my wife (and graphic designer extraordinaire) gave a talk at a well known college's open house not too long ago. She shared the stage with a teacher at the school who also addressed the incoming students. He spoke about the creative process and gave insight into what the students could expect at the school. He showed slides of his work in Photoshop. He was a really talented artist/painter and was raving about Photoshop...but then he said something that I will never forget. When asked about the difference between Photoshop and Illustrator, he said the most ignorant thing. He mentioned some technicalities (vector vs. raster), but then ended with "Illustrator should not be named Illustrator because you don't do any real art in the program...you don't illustrate. It can be where art eventually ends up and is laid up and prepped for use on a variety of medias...but it was not an art program where you CREATE art like Photoshop." I was completely taken back by the comment! How could anyone in the digital arts field actually say that?!...and a teacher of all people. I felt like standing up and demanding that he go to a dozen websites that showed examples proving otherwise...including my own site where the last few pieces were created almost completely in Illustrator. It's too bad he felt that way. It means he really doesn't know what Illustrator is capable of and therefor is missing out on a very powerful tool. If it wasn't for the fact that he mentioned he was in disagreement with the rest of the staff at the school regarding the subject, I would be really concerned with what the students were learning at the college.

-Jose S.

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E. Allen
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What a powerful question.

Photoshop.

And why? Because of its Organizer functions, Actions are robust, scripting is tight. . .its too much. I believe, overall, Photoshop was designed from the top down to be more robust, because it's like a legacy program--actually, having worked with both--and once again, I must reiterate I love both---but must go with Photoshop since I can apply unique image manipulations--sometimes just by using the Actions rollout--and I just can't get away with some of those methods when I'm in Illustrator.

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tstevens
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Interesting to hear the responses. Though I think it is like I said: though they cross over in the middle, they really have two separate uses. If I wanted to work with Flash like Bob I would work in Illustrator. If I want to make quick sketches and paint them I use Photoshop.

I suppose you have to look at what you really want to do and use the tool you feel most comfortable doing it with. I know I've made plenty of stuff in Photoshop that would have been easier to do in Illustrator, but I use Photoshop because I know it better.

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SNAKEBITE
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Photoshop, because PS has paths and that gives
you very similar results as illustrator and it allows you to upscale those paths like vector images..The only sucky part
of PS is its text capabilities. but essentially PS is the best of both worlds.

but I like the fact I can use both.

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CavePainter
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Photoshop. Hands down. At least for the way that I personally work, illustrator is like drawing with a small tech pen.... and photoshop is like working with a paintbrush.... one prefers knowing what he wants before he starts, and the other one likes to explore and see what happens. One has a (generally) fixed line thickness and consistency, and the other is like the wide open possibilities of a filbert brush. But I consider myself more of a painter than an illustrator, so that would make sense. I can't imagine just cranking up the headphones and opening up illustrator and go crazy and loose and get really emotionally involved.... starting to experiment...... really fast and loose. I can do that with drawing, I can do that with Photoshop or Painter, but I cant do that with illustrator. It just seems too dry to me. Like in the "old days" doing an illustration with a rapidograph tech pen and a bunch of straightedges. Nothing could be less loose and fresh. Usually, when Im in a creative mood I start with a photograph in photoshop and start altering and messing around and scanning in stuff.. who knows... I dunno. Some things start with a stain from a coffee spill or a found object. I almost never know what Im trying to do when I start.... and I almost always end up with something completely different that what I started with.... but thats the fun of taking a road you've never been on..... But then thats just me and the way I have fun. When I go exploring with a motorcycle, I'll mount a compass on the handlebar of the enduro and fill the tank and blast off down a dirt road and who the hell knows where I go... just head in the generally opposite direction to come back at the end of the day. If I was an illustrator kinda guy, I'd take a triptick I got from AAA and have the route all mapped out for me before I even start.
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toonedbob
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Not trying to sway you towards Illustrator, Cave Painter, but for the record illustrator has the capacity for pressure sensitive thick and thin brushes. I sketch and experiment in it as much as I do Photoshop.
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Plai
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Illustrator. The vast canvas, speed and ability to quickly visualize design ideas is very appealing to me.

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Paburrows
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Illustrator

I love the look of it pure and simple. Its easy to use once you get the hang of it. Its easyer to resized things without loosing clarity. Photoshop is good for Photos and scanning, but when I am not working with that I prefer Illustrator.

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Metsys
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Ooo. Tough one. I was going to simply say Photoshop because I'm getting a lot of illustration (painting) work right now, and the comic we are working will be fully painted as well. But if this question was asked last year I would have said Illustrator because I was working as a graphic designer, and I really would need Illustrator over Photoshop to design logos and work with type.

I will say though that it's easier to make something look like it was done using Illustrator with Photoshop instead of the other way around. If we actually lived in a post apocalyptic nightmare where software rationing took place, I'd stick with Photoshop. Although if there really was software rationing it would most likely be because of hard drive rationing, in which case I'd pick Illustrator so I can make smaller files and communicate more information.

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CavePainter
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Interesting, Bob... that's good to know because I would like to use lineweight sensitivity in combination with a Cintiq pen. I'll be the first one to admit I dont know much about illustrator.. but do you find it fun to experiment with? Somehow, for me, it just never felt fun to work with.......
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roger
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I am afraid i cannot answer that one, i need both the same and i mix them a lot (i create in Ai very complex vector masks that i use as selections in Ps for painting) I need illustrator to create the curves for nurbs modeling in maya and PS to do the texturing. In fact i see Photoshop Illustrator and Indesign as one package, we sometimes refer to it as the holy trinity of desktop publishing.

But as i had to move to that desert island where i could only take one it would be Ps as i could do practically everthing in it, but it would not always be the most optimal workflow.
After all you can now even animate in PS (time line) and export vectors (paths) to Ai and Flash.

(I hope i never have to choose just one, that would seriosly give me the heebie jeebies)

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toonedbob
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Hey CavePainter. Also for the record I do use Photoshop and enjoy it. You can experiment with brushes and make caligraphy brushes that reapond to cintiq or wacom pressures. I sketch like croqwill or pen brush style sketching or for inking scanned images.

If I want to do wash or loose sketch and color studies then Photoshop is my tool of choice...

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tstevens
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Is anybody still working with the real thing: real quills, real pens, real pencils - real paper???

I had a guy come in the other day as a potential prospect for doing 3D and he saw the old Oxberry disc and looked at it half amazed that I actually flip paper to animate.

I love the technology as much as the next guy, but I am starting to notice that there are a lot of artists out there who can't sit down and make a decent quick sketch to explain thier thoughts. I am tending to find that a lot of people (rightly or wrongly) jump straight into the final. It use to be sort of standard to do a bunch of thumbnail ideas before you went ahead with layouts, boards, or illustrations. Now it seems like most of the younger kids skip the preliminary steps and dive head first into Photoshop or Illustrator. I've even noticed that a lot of people are starting to jettison boarding and layout when they work in Flash.

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toonedbob
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I've done the real thing and I'm finding I'm enjoying drawing straight into the computer, immensly. I still do some thumbs traditonally, when the computer isn't convenient.

For my own stuff, I board and do layout, although the show I'm on skips boarding and goes straight to layout, since the assets are already setup.

Most folks I know can work on both mediums, as they are skilled and just see them as different tools.

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SNAKEBITE
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Ive noticed the people who stand out digitally still have strong traditional chops.

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mojodesign
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I feel that jumping straight into photoshop or Illustrator without a clear idea of the final product in my head first, is a complete waste of my time.

For my illustration work I either sketch my thumbs and roughs in Sketchbook pro or on paper first. Even when my sketches start off in Sketchbook pro, I end up printing it out and refining on paper....before rescanning and doing my final coloring in Photoshop or Illustrator. The reason I do this is because I have found that I am a lot looser when I work digitally...my work actually looks different when I sketch in Sketchbook pro vs. on paper...but in a good way. There's more variety in my shapes...probably because I have less control sketching on my tablet and so I tend to be able to let go and experiment a little better. Then I print out my sketch and do the refining on paper, where I have ultimate control.

...but even for my logo work, ESPECIALLY for my logo work, I sketch it out in Sketchbook pro first before moving to Illustrator. I'll see if I can post an example of the process of how my logo work moves through the different software packages, from SB to Illustrator and onto PS.

-Jose S.

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mojodesign
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Here's an example of how I push an idea through my process for creating logos. Unfortunately though, I couldn't find my really rough thumbnails that I first scribbled. I do have the sketch though that I moved onto after deciding what thumbnail idea would be best to explore.

My initial Sketch:

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Character revision (client wanted to use a fox instead of an ant)

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Illustrator Vector Work

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Adding some flare and dimension in Photoshop

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Now technically I could have used Illustrator to give it that same flare and dimension I gave it in Photoshop, but I'm a lot more proficient in Photoshop when it comes to that type of stuff. Every software has its' strengths. If we could only have one software I'd be in big trouble. I'd still choose Illustrator, but I know I'd be knocking on Snakebite's door everyday to get a little hit off of his Photoshop [help] .

-Jose S.

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GaryClair
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Illustrator for Graphic designs
Photoshop for Art.

But if you have to pick one, photoshop.. because almost everything you do in illustrator can be faked in Illustrator.

In fact, I challenge the pro-Illustrator fans to give an example of something that can be done in illustrator that can't be done or faked in photoshop.

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GaryClair
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Sorry.. pre-coffee

I meant: "-- because almost everything you do in illustrator can be done/faked in PHOTOSHOP.

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toonedbob
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Hey Gary how easy is it to take a 3d extruded image and have 24 frame 360 degree turn with map art in place in Photoshop. And how well does Photoshop tween patterned brushes on curved paths?
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CavePainter
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Actually tweening sample artwork is fairly straightforward with Photoshop's very powerful distortion tools (its definitely not as fast as illustrator, like the way you guys used it on Fosters, but it can be done just as well.) I sometimes use that for animating opening and closing doors that have painted texture on them or distorting flags with texture that need to be dumped in Flash later. The 360 extruded logo thing? I dunno.
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SNAKEBITE
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Illustrator is great for fine tuning paths and turning text into tweakable paths as well. You can do alot of that in PS too, but not as extensive as Illustrator. You can turn some text into paths in PS, but again, Illustrator is much more extensive.

the new editions of PS allow one to do a lot of Illustrator path tricks. but at the end of the day, its not vector so if you're using a program like Flash it can be limiting. Although, using PS painted BGs with Flash is a nice touch.

Sooner or later all three programs will merge I imagine. they are pretty seemless right now, but I tell you what, i've been working with Adobe since 1993 and I'm still just scratching the surface.

With all the plug ins, ones options just goes for days. Again, good thing I don't have to choose one. all of them together, with After effects is way powerful. one can compete with the big boys no doubt.

Like mojo, I go back and forth using the programs as I need. With illustrators "live trace" option you can do much in PS import it into Illustrator and turn into Vector pretty instantly with very little tweaking. The two programs together are waaay powerful!

and mojo, you can take hit off my PS anyday. you got my email

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EustaceScrubb
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If I had to choose from just those two? well ...

(even though my fave drawing/animating app is TVPaint [bow] ...)

ummm..... [bawling]

Photoshop.

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ColorInAble
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you'd have to tell me what I'd be doing before I choose.

Anything DTP (desk top publishing) over a page, I think I would choose Illustrator.

Doing a web site, Photoshop...

Doing Flash, well, you better tell me what the project involves before I choose...

3D animation, Photoshop,
3D modeling Illustrator!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
3D model texturing Photoshop,

And Drawing a comic, well, Freehand...

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SNAKEBITE
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The newest edition of PS lets you import 3D models. you can move the camera position and texture map. very powerful. wish I had it during The Red Star production.

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Karen K
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Photoshop [Smile]

Can't paint the way I had to paint on our last production in Illustrator, though I love love love inking in Illustrator, I use it 10-20% of the time and Photoshop the rest. But then, it goes with whatever the job at hand is really [Smile]

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