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Illustrator vs Photoshop with Comparison Chart

Updated Mar 15, 2019

Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator – two popular programs, continue to the hot favorite of digital artists. In case you are a professional or aspiring photo-editor/ artist, or preparing yourself for a job interview, then this article is for you. Here, we will be throwing light on what is Adobe Photoshop, what is Illustrator, features of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, benefits of Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop, the difference between Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop, etc. By the time you reach the last paragraph, you will be in a better position to decide between these two programs – do let us know which suits your need and fancy to a larger extent!

Adobe illustrator vs photoshop

Basis of Differentiation



Primary Use

Illustrator’s primary usage pertains to creating, manipulating compositing, etc. of  vector illustrations.

Photoshop is mainly used for the manipulation, correction, and compositing of images.

Path of pen tool

The path used by Illustrator with the help of its pen is for creation.

The path used by Photosho with the help of its pen is for selection.

Necessity of layer facilities

The layer base feature of illustrator is not very useful for artists.

The layer base feature present in Adobe is extremely important and necessary for the program to work well.

Most useful for

Illustrator is most useful for the purpose of logo designing, icon design, typographic art, illustrations, vector graphics, digital painting, etc. It is also used for single page layouts, web designing and more.

Photoshop is most adored for the purpose of photo retouching, image color correction, editing and compositing of pictures, creation of key art wherein posters, game covers, book covers and other designs focus on a single piece of art. The other application areas of Adobe are matte painting, web designing, etc.

Precision vs. neutral tone

Illustrator attains a level of precision that may appear less natural. However, it is very useful for elements that need to be perfect.

In Photoshop, designer can attain fluid/ natural looking results. The outputs can reach the levels of mimicking real world media/ brushes. As Adobe creates products that are in the form of digital analogs for painting/drawing on paper, the overall look of the output is applicable to daily life in better ways.

Raster vs. Vector

Illustrator, which is also referred to as a vector editor, uses mathematical equations for creating different shapes and forms. In this program, the formulas make it easy for image/ graphic files to get blown up, moved, warped, shrunk, etc. with no considerations. In other words, resizing takes place mechanically via this program.

Photoshop is also referred to as a raster-editor. The program virtually transmits colored pixels which are difficult to modify otherwise. However, the original images are likely to get distorted in the process.

UI/UX Design for the web

A vast range of templates allow designers to get started easily. Illustrator presents different drawing tools that are useful for the creation of unique graphics/ artwork, etc. using Adobe illustrator.

Photoshop does offer a few drawing/vector art tools. However, these tools are not as advanced or useful as presented by Adobe illustrator.

Current trend

Adobe illustrator graphics are being increasingly used online, in print, in videos and cell phones.

Adobe allows for seamless Photoshop editing on mobile devices. Users can combine the elements belonging to different images, mix layers and use the looks on iPhones, iPads or Android devices — they are all compatible with this program.

What is Adobe Photoshop?

Adobe Photoshop serves to be a very useful program for making changes to graphics and images that have already been created. It is possible to create bitmap or raster graphics through Adobe, the most popular software by Photoshop. In some cases, the graphics may end up looking a bit jagged as raster images comprise of individual colored squares called pixels. Photoshop pertains to the scaling down or scaling up of pixels, therefore, it is very easy to lose the picture quality when artists are working with Adobe.

1.Adobe Photo is extremely useful for web graphics, designs and photo editing as these projects do not require size alterations of files.

2.Very popular for editing pictures, Adobe provides unique filters, special tools, and a vast range of effects.

3.It offers full control over editing projects as artists can edit their graphics as per each pixel.

What is Adobe Illustrator?

Adobe Illustrator refers to a popular vector-based software that contains advanced tools for pros and amateur users alike. An important difference between Adobe and illustrator is that the latter utilizes mathematical constructs for the sake of creating vector graphics.

  • In Photoshop Illustrator, every line comprises of two dots that are connected via a computer algorithm rather than a simple line of pixels.
  • Illustrator is very useful for creating logos or items that have to be displayed or printed at different sizes.
  • Vector graphics never lose their high-quality despite being scaled down or up. They provide better print outputs as they are not resolution dependent.
  • Illustrator cannot be used with ease for the purpose of modifying pre-created images as it contains limited filters/ image editing tools.

Key difference between Photoshop and Illustrator

The key differences between Photoshop and Illustrator are enumerated below:

1.When zoomed, the graphics are sharp and crisp in case of Photoshop Illustrator, this is not possible with Adobe Photoshop that creates blurry and messy pictures when they are magnified. 900 and 300 percent zoom is possible with Illustrator and Photoshop respectively.

2. Photoshop presents a singular canvas while the use of multiple artboards is possible with Illustrator.

3. Illustrator works with the help of vectors that create points for perfectly smooth lines. Adobe goes about its work with the help of pixels.


The differences between Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator are best understood by trying out both the programs when you are taking care of your assignments. With Photoshop having its base in pixels and Illustrator using vectors, you will find them useful in different spheres of wok. In case you have any further inputs with regards to the difference between Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop, then do get back to us, we shall wait to hear from you!