While I can think of several tasks that are easy in Photoshop but difficult or impossible in Illustrator, I have a hard time thinking of things I can do in Illustrator that I can't do (almost) just as easily in Photoshop.

Setting aside trivial tasks like saving vector files in a particular format, what are some examples of tasks that are very difficult to perform in Photoshop but are very easy to perform in Illustrator?

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    I would say if you can not find any differences that's just because you never use Illustrator – joojaa Jul 8 '14 at 6:34
  • @joojaa It's not that I don't use it. I just don't use it often enough to know its more advanced features. I guess I'd like some motivation to learn it better. – user13497 Jul 8 '14 at 6:36
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    You don't need any advanced features to appreciate illustrator just a different way of thinking. – joojaa Jul 8 '14 at 7:20
  • Agree with @joojaa here: Illustrator is a very different way of thinking. I for instance, can never get a decent grasp on photoshop; I am an Illustrator-girl. It is a shorter mental leap for me, from paper and ink to Illustrator. It basically is...illustration. – benteh Jul 8 '14 at 9:26
  • I find everything typographic nerve-wrecking in PS. But I guess I don't use PS enough so that might be a matter of habit. Yeah I'm a Illustrator guy. – KSPR Oct 14 '14 at 9:15

Most art will remain vector. Some things like multiple nested clipping paths are painful to do. See example 1 for just one thing that would be hard to do in Photoshop, not to mention how would you edit this in PS?

Blend Lines

Example 1: This is trivial to do and edit in illustrator but not so easy in PS.

The biggest problem is that you need to come up with a completely different way of thinking when using Illustrator. So if you just think in terms of how you do things in Photoshop then stay in Photoshop. Being able to think differently helps you as a designer though.

OTOH you can use Photoshop to simulate diffusion of heat :)

Anyway is a very quick list of things that I find useful:

  • Multiple resolution of raster images
  • Multiple fills on strokes
  • Strokes:
    • Multiple strokes on path
    • Nonuniform curves (brushes)
    • Pattern curves
    • Hard miters
    • resolution independent strokes
    • Blob strokes
    • Arrowheads
  • Path editing
    • Rounding corners
    • Path simplification
    • Path blending
    • Expand:
      • Compound paths
      • Strokes and fills
    • Edit vector art with painting tools
    • Boolean operations on paths
    • Shape builder
    • In general nearly all tools work on vector data
  • Typography
    • Tabs
    • Text on path
    • Multiple colors and effects per character
    • Multiple transforms per character
    • Text frames much like InDesign. Linked frames etc
    • expand text to vectors
  • More options of merging slicing paths
  • Auto-trace with colored results, finding center of lines etc
  • gradient meshes
  • Modify vector data with live effects
  • vector patterns
  • Editing
    • Live align and snapping
    • Custom guides
    • Select by classifiers
    • Global color
    • Spot colors
  • Colored shape libraries.
  • Artboards (Photoshop has added this)
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