People today are bombarded with seemingly endless images. These include edited and manipulated photos, flat graphics, infographics, banners and logos, as well as multipage layouts and desktop publishing. To generate each of these types of graphics, certain tools or apps are more appropriate than others. In many instances, multiple apps should be used to develop the best output.

Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator
(Pixabay / StockSnap)

The Adobe CreativeSuite is a very powerful set of graphics applications which was designed to help in creating different types of graphics. The Suite includes Illustrator, InDesign, and Photoshop. Photoshop is the most popular app in the suite, and many people feel that mastering this app will be a one-stop shop for the rest of their designing career. Unfortunately, working exclusively with only one app limits the skills and creativity of the graphics developer or designer. Illustrator is also an incredibly valuable tool in the design world. Knowing when to use each of the apps, and when to transfer files from one to the other, will open up a world of advantages to designers.

Vector and Raster Graphics

Vector Graphics

Vector graphics can be described in terms of mathematical formulas to show a curve, line, or any shape. These graphics can be enlarged or reduced without compromising the quality of the image.

Most logos and banners have solid colors, or they may have gradients, and are created with vector files. The vector refers to the way the files are stored and rendered. Mostly, vector files are in the form of commands to create a curve or a line going from one part of the image to another. Illustrator works best with vector files.

Raster Graphics

On the other hand, raster images appear on the screen bit by bit, so significant increases or decreases in size can change the image’s quality. Raster graphics refers to the way the file is rendered on the screen, with the use of a bitmap image. Besides bitmaps and TIFF files, JPEGs are also raster image files. Strictly speaking, text on the computer is also a type of raster graphic.

Raster files are manipulated best via Photoshop. Photoshop can edit and change these image files with a variety of tools. The colors can be processed in terms of levels and curves, hue, saturation, chroma, lightness, contrast, and brightness. The images can be resized, rotated, and cropped. Additionally, the use of layers gives the user a lot of latitude in manipulating certain areas, sections, and color traits.

Tasks and Types of Output

Although Illustrator and Photoshop can be used for different types of graphics, it is usually better to evaluate which app to use based on its fitness for the task. Illustrator is the best choice for creating logos, banners, or graphics with a lot of solid colors. For photo editing and manipulation, or if there are a lot of raster graphics, Photoshop is the app to use. Depending on the complexity of your final image, you may need to merge your designs between Photoshop and Illustrator. Your best bet is to become proficient in both apps, so you have as many tools at your disposal as possible.