I've watched a few YouTube videos where some designers build their outlines in Illustrator of an image, then they take it to Photoshop to do colouring. Why do they do that?

I'm a relatively early in my learning journey with Illustrator (no knowledge of Photoshop) so interested in understanding the motivation to consider this move. They can colour everything in Illustrator so makes me wonder what is missing in Illustrator that is present in Photoshop.

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    Any example videos? – Joonas Feb 10 at 10:44
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    Hi. Welcome to GDSE. Can you please edit your question and provide a link showing one of the videos you are asking about. There could be various reasons depending on what the artist is trying to achieve. It's hard to answer without seeing anything. – Billy Kerr Feb 10 at 12:39

You need to know the tools. This is applicable to any job, profession, or craft.

You can not generalize the process, but I will give you an example.

Allow me to use a comparison, a watercolor painting of a street.

You have a blank canvas, and probably you start drawing some thin lines with a pencil, dividing the space, studying the perspective, the composition. On a computer you have the additional advantage to move the lines, scaling them, to rotate them.

This could be the usage of a vector-based program, giving the overall structure of the project.

Then you leave the pencil alone and take the brush, giving layers of color. This is what Ps does, it is probably in this case, used to paint, not draw.

The important words are draw and paint.

Some other person can use a 3D program, probably to have overall shapes, solids, not drawings, and then use Krita to paint over it.

Or some other person can take a raster image, a photo, and put it as a reference to make a cartoonish drawing on Illustrator.

Or take one painting and adding texts on Corel Draw, or taking Filter-Forge or a similar program or plug in to add texture, or put 2D paintings on a 3D program again...

The point is, there are many tools that do different things, some others do similar things, you need to know what each does and use them to your advantage.

Let me explain a bit more about the difference between a vector-based program and a raster one.

A vector-based one gives you a formula, a set of instructions on how to draw a shape.

"Draw a circle of 7 cm on the top corner. Put a Red fill and some orange on the lines"

You can start modifying these shapes to some degree. "Scale them on the X-axis".

But at some point, the instructions are too many and you can not use a vector anymore.

Each brush to give shadow would be a new set of instructions, gradients would need to be defined, where a raster program are simply "mixed".


A lot of tools are only available in Photoshop, but not in Illustrator.

While there are some similarities between PS and AI, at their core they are very different, and used for different purposes, which indeed, sometimes need to be mixed, which could be confusing if you're just starting out.

Brushes, for instance, a lot of brush types exist in Photoshop which do not exist in Illustrator. So for more elaborate colouring, yes, you sometimes need to do that in Photoshop.


Why do chefs fry something on a stove top then put it in the oven to finish cooking?

Each tool has it's use. Sometimes it's not possible to get to a desired outcome (completed artwork) without altering tools which will better suit that desired outcome.

Illustrator is great at precision placement of paths, and better than Photoshop in this respect.

Photoshop is great and freeform coloring, and better than Illustrator in this respect.

Each tool has it's use. There's no "rule" stating one must stick to a single tool. The only important thing is that the final file is in a format which is suitable for the destined output.

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