A Brief Overview of Photoshop, Illustrator, and Indesign

A large population of the world is pretty familiar with Adobe’s Photoshop software. Many people however, have never heard of Adobe’s Illustrator or Adobe’s InDesign programs. Even if you’ve heard of them, you may not be familiar with what these programs do, or who might use them. This article will give you a general overview of Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. I’ll cover what these programs are used for, and what makes each program unique. I’ll also cover how they work together to create some amazing works of art.

Adobe Photoshop

So What Exactly Is Photoshop?

Photoshop is a program used to create and manipulate pixel based graphics. A pixel is the smallest element of an image that can be individually processed in a video display system. To put it simply; pixels are units of measurement that appear as dots or squares on a screen. Each pixel is used to make up the images that we see on our computer monitors, mobile phones, televisions etc. The images from digital cameras are the most common pixel based images. The most important attribute of pixel based art is that it cannot be resized without creating distortion. Enlarging a pixel based image will cause it to look blurry and soft. If you continue to enlarge a pixel based image, you’ll eventually be able to see each pixel that was used to create the image.

What Is Photoshop Used For?

There are a variety of uses for Photoshop. The most common use is editing digital photography. Many professional photographers rely on Photoshop to make both basic and complex edits to their photography. Photoshop can accomplish tasks as small as sharpening a photograph, and as large as adding an entire scene to the background of a city landscape. The possibilities for editing and manipulating photos are endless.

Photoshop’s uses go far beyond photo editing. Many graphic designers use Photoshop to create website layouts, business cards, wedding invitations, marketing materials, and art for digital books and publications. These are only a few uses for Photoshop in the graphic design industry. The true power of Photoshop comes from the ability to not only edit existing photos, but to also create art. Anyone can open Photoshop, start with a blank canvas, and end with a masterpiece.


One last example of a common use for Photoshop is digital painting and drawing. Many talented artists prefer using Photoshop for their painting and drawing. With the use of a digital drawing tablet, artists can unleash the full potential of Photoshop’s brushes and drawing tools.

Adobe Illustrator

Photoshop Sounds Great, But I’d Like To Know About Illustrator

Illustrator is a program used to create vector based art. A vector is a quantity that has magnitude and direction and that is commonly represented by a directed line segment whose length represents the magnitude and whose orientation in space represents the direction. I know that definition sounded extremely complicated, but the basic idea is that vector graphics use mathematical calculations to create art. Don’t worry, I didn’t really understand it at first either, but I promise it’ll make more sense once you keep reading. In vector art, the computer uses a system of math to make sure artwork stays sharp and clear no matter how large you scale it. The technique used to create artwork is very similar to the way you would create artwork in Photoshop. Although vector art is created using a mathematical algorithm, the user doesn’t need to know or really understand that algorithm. The computer takes care of all the hard work and does all the math for you. If you have a digital drawing tablet, you can draw your artwork just as you would on a piece of paper. The important concept to remember is: vector art can be scaled infinitely and maintain clarity, but pixel based artwork cannot.

What Is Illustrator Used For?

Illustrator is used for making art that needs to be produced at a variety of sizes. Logos and branding are to most common uses for Illustrator, because they need to be scaled up and down to fit the size of the product. Logos can appear on objects as small as business cards and as large as billboards on the highway. Vector art isn’t just limited to logos though. Most large scale printed media contains vector artwork. This could include: posters, banners, clothing designs, window decals, and flyers.



>Like Photoshop, Illustrator has several uses. Many artist and designers use Illustrator to create resumés, mobile application layouts, ebooks, brochures. comic books, magazines, etc. The possibilities are only limited to your imaginations and creativity. The uses for Illustrator can be very similar to those of Photoshop, the distinction comes from Photoshop being a pixel based program and Illustrator being a vector based program.


Why Does Photoshop And Illustrator Make A Great Team?

Each program can create some amazing things, and when you combine the power of Photoshop and Illustrator you get incredible works of art. The primary reason to combine Photoshop and Illustrator is to give your vector artwork a new level of dimension. There are some special effects such as glows, drop shadows, and 3D included in Illustrator, but they’re very primitive compared to the tools available in Photoshop. Ideally, you would create the basic artwork in Illustrator; then import that artwork into Photoshop to enhance it. You may want to add true 3D to a character you created in Illustrator, or you may want to give some food you created a more realistic look. Photoshop provides a way to truly refine your vector artwork.

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Adobe InDesign

If We Have Photoshop and Illustrator, Why Should I Care About InDesign?

InDesign is a program used for page layout and design. There are some artwork editing and creation tools available within InDesign, however editing and creation of artwork is really better left for Photoshop and Illustrator. InDesign excels in combining all your artwork to create a fantastic looking page layout. You see layouts created in InDesign on a daily bases. Newspapers, books, magazines, flyers, newsletters, digital publications, and even greeting cards are all created using InDesign. At this point, you’re probably thinking, “Can’t I just create all those things in Photoshop or Illustrator?”. The answer is: yes, you absolutely can create all those things using Photoshop and Illustrator. The benefit of using InDesign is that this program was designed for layout, and it does a much better and more professional job of creating layouts. The toolset included with InDesign is significantly more powerful and robust in terms of layout and publication design. Using Photoshop and Illustrator for layout creation is like trying to cook a chicken in a microwave. It can be done, but it’s a lot harder and more time consuming. It’s best to use the appropriate tool to get the job done.

Is There Anything Else I Should Know?

This was only a brief overview of Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. There are so many things to learn and explore. Each program has a robust toolset allowing artists and designers to create the imagery we all see on a daily basis. Photoshop has excellent photography and effects editing tools. Illustrator is perfect for creating logos and other line based art. InDesign uses comprehensive layout tools to convey messages that last a lifetime. These three programs work together to propel our creative future.