Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign are the “Big Three” of the Adobe Creative Suite, utilized extensively by artists, illustrators, photographers, and film/video artists. And while there is some overlap in functions, they are not interchangeable and have their own distinct uses and functions. Using the right software application for the right job will mean better, cleaner work and fewer problems in layout, resizing and design flexibility.
Photoshop is the best-known of the three programs and is used primarily for editing and manipulating images. Based on the raster/Bitmap application, it directly deals with image pixels, which can be edited individually.
Along with manipulating photos and pre-rendered images, Photoshop has many filters, special effects, and tools to get the desired look. However, resizing is a challenge in Photoshop, as the pixels spread out and reduce image quality.
Illustrator is used primarily for drawing and creating images. Based on a vector technique, images are mathematically drawn by the computer using points and lines. (3D and realistic brushes have been added to recent versions.) Illustrator is generally used for creating logos, vector paintings, card designs, cartoons, and so on. Additionally, resizing works better in this application, as there is no loss in image quality. It also creates a comparatively smaller file size, utilizing less space on a computer’s hard drive. Multi-page designs can be done in Illustrator; however, it is less time-efficient than other programs.
InDesign is a desktop publishing and typesetting application, which can be used to create posters, brochures, magazines, ebooks, and the like. This program is best for writing copy – long passages of text in a print project. It also lets the user break up the text into columns, maximizing use of available print space. It has a helpful word-wrap function, and a master page system allows for design elements that appear on every page of a project. It is the best tool for creating complex layouts for print projects. However, it does possess limited illustration abilities and few image-manipulation tools.
Designed to work together, Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign offer powerful tools for maximizing project and design efficiency. Make the most of the Adobe Creative Suite by determining a project’s needs and applying the correct tools for the best designs possible.