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I know it is an old silly question this whole thing about Illustrator vs Photoshop, but since I never found answers for my questions that, at least for me, reasons enough to stay with Photoshop, I decided to post my thoughts somewhere. These are the arguments in favor of Illustrator and my answers to them:

  • It's vector based. Photoshop has shapes and paths.
  • You can resize freely. if you use Photoshop shapes, you can do the same;
  • It's good for printing. Since you can create the file whatever size you need and even use CMYK, it's not an excuse.
  • Illustrator has artboards. Just like Photoshop (in the latest versions).
  • You see pixels when you zoom in Photoshop. I love it, since the pixels won't be there when you save a PDF file with Ps, I feel I have more control over things while I'm capable of adjust pixel by pixel.

Now, my arguments in favor of Photoshop:

  • Much better pen tool and shapes control.
  • Awesome layers organization (what I hate in Illustrator).
  • Lighter program. Illustrator runs very laggy in my PC (and it has good specs).
  • I never plan 100% of my arts before I start them. Because of this, I always have to keep both programs open to edit pics in Photoshop and send them Ai.
  • Awesome "Save for web" and "extract assets" functions.
  • Better (really better) clipping mask.

What I mean is, people say Illustrator is way better for logo designing, but since I'll probably need the logo to be used in a website, since I can design the logo with shapes and since Photoshop can do it all™, why is Illustrator better than Ps in any way? And why should I use Ai?

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    Why a hammer when my screwdriver will pound in a nail??? I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's basically a rant. : graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/42275/… : graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/96/… : graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/7726/… It's also basically a duplicate of all those. – Scott Feb 22 '17 at 5:24
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    In addition, only those who do not know Illustrator ask this question, seeking some rationale as to why they don't need to learn it. – Scott Feb 22 '17 at 5:31
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    So what logo files do you supply clients with? The absolute bane of my life is working with clients who don't have a vector version of their logo because people think that Photoshop is an acceptable tool to design logos. It isn't. – Cai Feb 22 '17 at 8:05
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    Here Here @Cai -- The only thing worse than a client without a vector version of their logo ... is dealing with that client's "designer" who doesn't understand what an actual vector file is. – Scott Feb 22 '17 at 8:09
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    Oh @igor .. you're so certain of things you are incorrect about.. ... again.. the only reason people ask this question is because they do not know or understand Illustrator. You really need to do some reading, and possibly experimenting. ----> How to Create Vector Graphics in Photoshop – Scott Feb 22 '17 at 11:57
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I almost daily deal with clients who don't have vector versions of their logo because people think that Photoshop is an acceptable tool to design logos; it isn't. I'm including in that, logos that are exported as PFD or EPS from Photoshop.

They may be file formats that are capable of holding vectors but the files exported from Photoshop don't contain complete and proper vectors; they are at best (and not always) vector paths containing raster fills (and any styles, effects etc. will always be raster). What you think is a vector file is at best partially vector. See How to create vector graphics In Photoshop?

Logos should be delivered in a number of formats, especially and essentially a true vector format. See Logo Pack - What should I include?

Let me respond to your points one by one...

These are the arguments in favor of Illustrator and my answers to them:

  • It's vector based. Photoshop has shapes and paths.

At the risk of repeating myself; Photoshop shapes and paths are vector containers for raster fills—they simply don't compare. The only part of Photoshop that is vector is the path data, absolutely nothing that you see is a vector (except maybe live type). So any color; fill or stroke or effect or anything else attached to a shape layer in Photoshop is still a raster image.

Again, see How to create vector graphics In Photoshop?

  • You can resize freely. if you use Photoshop shapes, you can do the same;

Yes... Inside Photoshop. As soon as you're outside Photoshop you can't; so useless (or at least significant extra work) to anyone who isn't the person creating the logo.

  • It's good for printing. Since you can create the file whatever size you need and even use CMYK, it's not an excuse.

Sure, you can use Photoshop for printing. Photoshop isn't vector though so there are a lot of issues to keep in mind; you need to worry about resolution and colors at all stages—you can't quickly resize your A6 flyer to an A0 poster and if you're printer comes back and asks you for a file 3x the resolution you started at, you're probably in trouble.

Working with spot colors (which is essential for a lot of commercial print work) in Photoshop is also significantly harder. You can't just use a spot color, you need to work in multichannel and create channels for you spots.

See Can't apply a Pantone color in Photoshop and linked Q&As.

  • Illustrator has artboards. Just like Photoshop (in the latest versions).

Cool. I still use CS6 so don't have artboards in Photoshop. But I don't see what the argument is here; I doubt artboards in Photoshop would/will change my choice of program at all.

  • You see pixels when you zoom in Photoshop. I love it, since the pixels won't be there when you save a PDF file with Ps, I feel I have more control over things while I'm capable of adjust pixel by pixel.

If you're working for a digital output, great. Otherwise that makes no sense. There are no pixels in printing so you're giving yourself an unrealistic sense of control where there is none; it is actually the opposite, you're applying an unneeded limitation on yourself.

That "control" is also limited to a single output size (or multiples in scale thereof).

Now, my arguments in favor of Photoshop:

  • Much better pen tool and shapes control.

This couldn't be further from the truth. Other than the Pen tool and Shape tools you don't have much more to work with in Photoshop; Illustrator has a myriad of tools and effects that create, distort and work with vectors. Being unfamiliar with or unaware of a tools capabilities does not mean they are inferior; there is a steeper learning curve with Illustrator, but it is vastly superior to Photoshop with its vector capabilities.

  • Awesome layers organization (what I hate in Illustrator).

Photoshop and Illustrator layers panels are not comparable; Illustrator show layers and objects, giving you a lot more control. I can't stand Photoshop's layer organization; but that's mostly because I work with Illustrator and rarely use Photoshop and humans like what they are used to.

  • Lighter program. Illustrator runs very laggy in my PC (and it has good specs).

True. I rarely have trouble Illustrator, even on my laptop; but that's besides the point. MS Paint is probably less laggy than Photoshop, that doesn't mean it's better suited to logo design.

  • I never plan 100% of my arts before I start them. Because of this, I always have to keep both programs open to edit pics in Photoshop and send them Ai.

Great, that's what you should be doing.

  • Awesome "Save for web" and "extract assets" functions.

Illustrator has the same (or comparable, not sure about newer versions) "Save for Web" and "Extract Assets" functions. Photoshop has generally been seen as better for digital assets, although that has changed a lot in recent years. That's mostly a matter of personal preference though, so no arguments there.

  • Better (really better) clipping mask.

Clipping masks in Photoshop and Illustrator do fundamentally different things. Clipping Masks in Photoshop are more equivalent to Opacity Masks in Illustrator, and Clipping Masks in Illustrator are equivalent to Vector Masks in Photoshop.

In Illustrator you can use any number of shapes in any configuration, all with distinct appearances and attributes as a single opacity mask, whereas you're limited to a single layer in Photoshop; which—in my opinion—makes them vastly superior.


TL;DR — Use each tool for what it was designed for. Illustrator is a vector program; use it to create vectors. Photoshop is an image editor; use it to create and manipulate raster images. You can do some vector-ish stuff in Photoshop and you can do some image manipulation stuff in Illustrator; but you're just limiting yourself to what can be done and setting yourself up for trouble in the long run.

Apologies for the long answer and apologies if this comes across as anything other than sincere; this is something that I deal with every day and it is truly frustrating.

  • Illustrator has same save for web and assets tools... – joojaa Feb 22 '17 at 14:26
  • @joojaa true (made that clearer now), just said that PS is often thought of as better for digital assets; but that's mostly personal preference.. and not IMO much of an argument either way – Cai Feb 22 '17 at 14:33
  • -> "you see pixels in Photoshop" -> Illustrator has Pixel Preview :) (And outline mode... and Overprint preview. Photoshop has neither of those) – Scott Feb 22 '17 at 18:06
  • Just the perfect answer. Thank you, @Cai. You've explained to me everything I needed to know. Thank you again, I'll stay with Illustrator and learn how to work with it. And again, thank you. I love to see educated and smart people that understand what is an argumentation :) You're awesome. – Igor Feb 22 '17 at 21:16
  • Your awesome answer makes me think why are people still intolerant with certain kinds of questions. What you've explained is much embracing than the others questions that I found around, what means that my question wasn't useless. This is a place for people to ask and have their questions solved. It's not a duplicate of a lot of other questions, it's a variation of them. – Igor Feb 22 '17 at 21:22
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Photoshop can make paths yes. But all things are not equal.

Photoshop has a singular master pixel size. Illustrator does not. So in Photoshop it is impossible to have two raster objects at different resolutions in the same document. In illustrator this is perfectly valid. This bleeds to everything you do in that Photoshop fills and does everything on pixels and bounds them by vector masks, this has some serious consequences on your end result. It also leads to a very pixel centric worldview, but there are no pixels in illustrator.*

In general there are lots of things you can not do in photo shop that are trivial to do in illustrator. Things that are elementary and necessary for a lot of things. See this post for a partial list.

Layers, illustrators layers expand to show all objects. In fact it is not a layers window at all but a objects window. Its just as good as photo shops layers panel if not better just as long as you understand that it has 2 functions at once whereas Photoshop has only one. If you want it to behave line Photoshop then hide non layers and always use the dot next to the objects name.

Illustrator has had less focus on itself for a long while and is much older. Closer to EOL. So you must be more aware that it has more accumulated design creep in it. So you must be more aware of what tools you use and what you will not use. This combined with the fact that you are moving to much more diverse level of abstraction makes it hard to migrate. You think you can do it all in Photoshop but that's just because your worldview is limited.

* Never ever enable pixel snapping option in illustrator. Nothing good comes out of it. Its implemented in a way that causes you harm. If you need to snap to pixels make a half pixel grid instead! That is superior in every way

PS: If adobe ever coverged the tools we would end up with all using InDesign for everything. Since both illustrator and photosop are a subset of page layout.

  • About never using pixel snapping: I design mockups for user interfaces, thus I need pixels to be aligned. It has its small downsides and quirks, but in the end of the day it gets the job done. Why would you say "never" to that function? – Henrik Ekblom Feb 22 '17 at 7:49
  • @HenrikEkblom Because its misimplemented, it causes many of the tools it does not work the way you expected. The effect is sticky it is on even when you think it is not. In addition you get MUCH better snapping if you just turn a gridnap on that is 0.5 pixels or any other pixel count for that matter, you can decide to snap on the center of the pixel or on the edge of the pixel. Something that you need in many geometric decicions. If you ever felt that something is broken or wrong in illustrator its because you enabled this function. You get more control and equal snapping with not using it. – joojaa Feb 22 '17 at 8:04
  • I feel like you're all trying to open my mind to a "non-pixel-mind". Thank you for the friendly and right to the point answer, different from the other rude people around this thread. You answered my questions :) I'll check your link and read more. Thank you again, @joojaa – Igor Feb 22 '17 at 9:45
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What you are experiencing isn't the feeling that Photoshop is better than Illustrator. You are just finding it difficult to learn a new thing. You just came here to find ammunition to prove to yourself that you don't need Illustrator. Here's why I think this:

  • The need for balance

If you’ve achieved some level of professional success, the idea that your skills could be lacking won’t compute. You need to believe that if you succeeded in mastering Photoshop, Illustrator should be trivial. It's not.

  • If it ain’t broke, why fix it?

According to reinforcement theory, we tend to continue behaviors (skills) that brought positive rewards such as raises and promotions. If your professionalism has rewarded you, you’ll tend to resist information suggesting that your judgment and your toolbox could be systematically improved. Illustrator can't improve your already perfect skillset. Yes it can!

  • Lack of effective information gathering tools

Even if people know that they need to add skills to their toolkit, they’re hamstrung by lack of information-gathering skills. Take a step back, start at the beginning. Realize Illustrator requires a different way of thinking to Photoshop.

  • Taking on outsized expectations

Attempting to learn an important competency in one fell swoop can bring you back to square one very quickly. You yourself have skipped all the basic information and immediately jumped into Youtube vids of skilled professionals. Again, take a step back, start at the beginning.

  • Try, try and try again

Mistakes are inevitable in skill development and since most of us focus first on what’s going wrong, we get frustrated by the experience. Perseverance does not come easily to action-oriented, results-driven professionals. Since you are skilled at Photoshop, you'll quickly start thinking that something is easier in Photoshop while that's not always the case. You're just more skilled at it.

  • New skills require new scripts

New skills require a new language for professionals. Old ways of thinking won’t work with a new tool or skill. Sure, both are design programs and use design language (to some degree). But at the core they are very different programs. As long as you can't see that, you'll never be able accept that there is no better, just different.


TL;DR

There is no better tool. They are very different, right to the very core. People who have taken the time to learn both programs will all confirm this. So my suggestion to you is: put in the 10.000 hours to learn Illustrator and you'll see that there's no better.

PS: I especially didn't refute any of your arguments, because I think they are besides the point. That's just you looking for ammunition.

  • Look, since you didn't refute any of my arguments, just like you said, my answer is pretty simple: I'm not looking for ammunition, I'm looking for answers. For example: when I find some difficulty in Ai, it is impossible not to think "well, this doesn't happens on ps", which leads me to the next thoughts: "but I need to stay here cause I'm making some for printing and Ai deal better with printed contents", which leads to "why Ai deals better with printed contents?", which leads to my quesitons above. So nope, I'm not looking for ammunition. I just want to know :) – Igor Feb 22 '17 at 9:39
  • @Igor The thing is your comparing 2 things that you have a wastly different skill level in. It is true that for you now its easier to use photoshop but that does not mean photoshop is easier. So say doing X is 1 minute a then your photoshop job takes 10.000 hours + 1 minute of work, but since youve made the investement it takes 1 minute. But same taske for illustrator takes 30 seconds but you havent spent 10.000 hours so from your point of view thats 10 000 hours of work – joojaa Feb 22 '17 at 10:00

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