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Between vector and raster editors, which should I learn to use to create infographics based on photos?

The photos all bear a black background, allowing me to lay information in the space without the animal.

Sample:

sample img

Context:

I'm a nature/macro photographer, often I feel sharing a good photo is just like bragging- "hey look at what I did." But I would like for my photos to be of some more use to viewers and the animals they picture.

I am interested in adding information about the pictured animal and forming posters instead of just images.

The info could be:

  • Conservation status
  • Morphology
  • Distribution
  • Biology etc.
2

I will differ a bit.

Depends on your overall design.

Infographic is a pretty board concept, it could include for example dozens of photos representing a taxonomic chain for example, but in your description looks like you only want to add some text on each poster of each animal.

1. If you only need a couple of images in your poster, I would use Illustrator. This will allow you to add the text easily and add some additional elements, some icons, vector based borders, extend your black background, etc.

Illustrator can handle well several raster images, especially if you link them, not embed them. Take a look at this link to keep your illustrator file small https://forums.adobe.com/thread/679995

2. I would only use Photoshop to make adjustments to your images, but as commented, Photoshop has several ways to work with the images maintaining some "scalability" so you have the flexibility to print a large poster or a smaller one.

3. If your infographic does include several images, for example, more than 10 I agree that the best option is InDesign. All the photos in InDesign are linked externally by default.

InDesign can be an interesting option if you want to produce a "series" a collection because you can have a "Master design" and you apply this design to consecutive pages, like a catalog. You can have all the collection as several pages and print just one, or the entire collection.

  • @Rafael- I am merely an amateur, so its just species-specific at the moment. I have a catalogue of 12-20 images for this species. However not all of them are poster-material. So I would only 'convert' some to posters. Initially my idea was to convert single images to posters. But I'm now considering thumbnails. 2. Most adjustments are already made in lightroom, I know there are exposure problems, but I'm not going to fix that in post. – Chai Jun 26 '17 at 19:54
  • I must add that my knowledge with PS or AI is practically null. I do not even know what the export format would be and how I would print it. etc. – Chai Jun 26 '17 at 19:56
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Do your photo editing work in Photoshop, the raster image editor.

Pure vector work is best done in Illustrator.

Note that Illustrator objects can be placed into Photoshop documents as "smart objects" (retaining editability) and vice versa.

For layout work incorporating both vector images and photographs (or other raster images), use InDesign. It has some native vector tools, but for anything very fancy you will want to drop into Illustrator and then place the resulting .ai file into your InDesign document.

In Photoshop you deal with a "canvas"; in Illustrator you have "artboards" and in InDesign you have "pages" or you can have "spreads" with more than one page.

All three tools have their place in a professional workflow. From the information in your question, I think you should start by learning InDesign and then dive into Photoshop or Illustrator if/when you hit something you need to do that you can't do in InDesign. (And I would guess you know a bit of Photoshop already.)

1

I would avoid Illustrator for anything that includes photos. Illustrator tends to get slow when loaded with too much raster assets (photos) since AI is generally built for vector artwork.

Between the two, Photoshop might be your first choice here since you seem to use a lot of photos. Be aware PSD files tend to grow in size rapidly when using many photos in print resolution, so working with a 1-2gb PSD is not ideal, in which case you should be looking at a mix between InDesign and Photoshop.

What this means is process the photos in PS and design the poster and layout the text info in ID, which works better with fonts and allows more control over formatting and overall templating, etc.

  • 1
    Avoid Illustrator for anything!!!??? Lucian, Has your account been hacked? XoS – Rafael Jun 26 '17 at 19:13
  • 'For anything including photos...' Not hacked. But yeah really, if photos are involved i will not use AI, like, never. Its slow. Isn't it? – Lucian Jun 26 '17 at 19:15
  • @Lucian - thanks for your answer. I don't answer what you mean by 'process' my images. They are fully processed after lightroom. All I need to do now is add information etc – Chai Jun 26 '17 at 19:47
  • We have not seen your poster design and the description is limited, so we can only assume what you're doing, but additional processing might be needed, for instance to make sure the background of the photos blends perfectly into the poster background. A different shade of black between photos and poster could mean photo corners can be visible on the final poster. This is processing. – Lucian Jun 26 '17 at 20:02
  • I have never experienced issues with AI slowing - This is a perfect use for it - I fond anything vaguely vectory a complete pain in photoshop. – Digital Lightcraft Jun 27 '17 at 14:06
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Given your background I would really encourage you to use a raster image editing software for now such as Adobe Photoshop, Affinity Photo, or Gimp. In your exact case I'd say Adobe Photoshop.

By using Photoshop you can open the photo as a Smart Object from Lightroom into Photoshop, so any edits you make in LR later will immediately be updated.

The other reason I say to use raster in general is because if your background is Photography you'll likely find much more usefulness in the immediate by learning software that can allow you to do more advanced photo manipulation work. Say after you do a few of these you want to do a composite with a few animals on a single graphic; photoshop is where you could do that.

Vector software like Illustrator will make some of the infographic stuff a tad easier but not considerably. Learn to use Text and Shapes in Photoshop for now and I think you'll be fine for a good while. Then if you ever want to move onto more complex illustrations you could but in the meantime you'll be learning software that can help your photography.

1

I would thoroughly recommend creating your infographic posters in Illustrator (vector). Its perfectly suited to the purpose.

Place your photo in an appropriately sized Document in CMYK or RGB (depends if you are going for print or web display)

lock that layer, create a new layer and start adding shapes, lines, boxes text etc etc. You can then directly export that to either an RGB image file (.JPG, .PNG etc) for web / digital display or a printable CMYK format (eg .PDF) for print use.

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