PDA

View Full Version : Why Photoshop & not Illustrator?



akaddk
05-28-2011, 11:13 PM
Whilst browsing the site I've noticed a pretty heavy leaning towards Photoshop as the map-maker of choice. Now, I'll point out here that my knowledge of either program is limited to an introductory short course... that I failed, so I'll probably need it explained with diagrams, pictures and a lollipop reward at the end, but to my understanding, Illustrator seems like the obvious choice for map-making ahead of Photoshop. I could see doing some fine-tuning with filters once a map is made, but the vector paradigm seems to lend itself naturally towards map-making whereas Photoshop seems more about making pictures prettier rather than making anything from scratch.

Rythal
05-28-2011, 11:25 PM
In modern, professional cartography, yes, vector is the obvious and more precise way to go (see google maps). When it comes to fantasy cartography, however, the randomization, fractalness, and general ease of making fancy stuff makes raster (photoshop) type mediums much easier to work with.

Midgardsormr
05-29-2011, 02:20 AM
Also, Photoshop has a much higher market penetration than Illustrator. It's far easier to find tutorials and resources for PS, which serves to further increase its influence over the market. In short, people use Photoshop (or the Gimp) because other people use Photoshop.

I certainly would like to see more Illustrator content show up here, and if I had the time & energy I might do something about that myself. Alas, I haven't had the leisure for mapping in quite some time, and I don't really see that changing for a while.

Ascension
05-29-2011, 02:37 AM
If I could ever figure out Illustrator then I'd use it more. As it is, though, it's sort of like Algebra or Sanskrit to me because of the way my brain works. I just have no control over it and start making boxes all over the place and nothing seems to go into the boxes. So for stupid people like me, raster is easier to wrap my pea-brain around since I can just draw a line and it goes where I put it.

Hai-Etlik
05-29-2011, 03:14 AM
There are a few of us who work almost entirely in vector graphics. Though I use Inkscape, QuantumGIS, and various bits of custom written software in Ruby and Java rather than Adobe Illustrator.

tilt
05-29-2011, 04:15 AM
I agree with the above, photoshop has a bigger audience, its easier to just paint, than to use vectors for many and when it comes to fantasy maps, photoshop makes it easy to make parchment, aging, scratching and all over doing prettifying stuff to the map :) ... I tend to use photoshop myself as it was the program I learned first and is most comfortable using - however my ongoing city project "Breakwater" (see signature) I am making in Illustrator and then I'll finish it off in photoshop later on. :)
But use what makes you comfortable at first - then you can always expand with more programs later on :)

Ramah
05-29-2011, 12:51 PM
If I could ever figure out Illustrator then I'd use it more. As it is, though, it's sort of like Algebra or Sanskrit to me because of the way my brain works. I just have no control over it and start making boxes all over the place and nothing seems to go into the boxes. So for stupid people like me, raster is easier to wrap my pea-brain around since I can just draw a line and it goes where I put it.

What he said. :)

akaddk
05-29-2011, 01:02 PM
If I could ever figure out Illustrator then I'd use it more. As it is, though, it's sort of like Algebra or Sanskrit to me because of the way my brain works. I just have no control over it and start making boxes all over the place and nothing seems to go into the boxes. So for stupid people like me, raster is easier to wrap my pea-brain around since I can just draw a line and it goes where I put it.

I completely hear you on that. Although, I have the same with Photoshop. I find them both to be so incredibly non-intuitive that it frustrates the hell out of me. I'm a very (very) logical thinking person. One thing follows after another and there's a straight and very straightforward line between the two. And neither program works like that. They both have their own internal and totally alien sets of logic that defy any application of intuitive reasoning. It's gotten to the point where I don't believe you can learn either program without significant resources devoted towards doing so, ie. teachers, tutorials, etc. Trial and error get me nowhere.

tilt
05-29-2011, 01:37 PM
The problem with both programs is that you have to know several things in order to really use the programs, so learning them is a bit like learning to jugle by throwing 8 balls in the air and having to catch all of them, if you miss some - you have a hard time getting the others. :)
Try reading adobe's own teaching book "Classroom in a Book", it takes the how-to step by step and don't skip steps either, its a very good beginners guide for Photoshop or go to youtube and look for photoshop tutorials for beginners :)

Ascension
05-29-2011, 02:35 PM
I bought some books but they didn't do step by step back then, they skipped over things and got me lost. I followed along with every on-line tutorial that I ever found for about 2 to 3 weeks and I was up to speed with PS...this was back in 2001. At that point I was capable enough to start my own trials and errors and I haven't read another tut since (except the ones here at The Guild). I'm sure there is much more that it can do but most of those things I don't need. As to vector, there were not very many tuts back then, there are now but I don't really need vector for what I do. If I wanted to be a real pro's pro then I'd get into it or if I wanted a commercial art job at some big firm working for peanuts while the art director takes all of the credit.

The best advice I can give for learning raster is to just generate a clouds field or some random photo and run filters on it to see what they do. Then run filter combos and play with blend modes. Then learn masking and then get yourself a drawing tablet. If you're more architect than artist then vector is the way to go but I can't help ya there.

7thDirection
06-08-2011, 04:21 PM
Out of the two Adobe programs, I prefer Illustrator because that is the software we used to make maps in my college cartography class (we also used Freehand, but I never quite got the hang of it). I could see how Photoshop would be better at making textures and depth on a map, though I would still make the initial linework and text in Illustrator.

*)
..*) .*)
(. (.` 7thDirection

.

Larb
06-09-2011, 04:08 PM
My new job has forced me to learn illustrator pretty quick and it is something of a pain sometimes especially as I prefer raster mediums. However, one of my favourite features of illustrator is the Live Trace function which I've found is very very useful for making vector images of maps an line drawings I have first made in SAI or Photoshop. It's a very easy function to use too and great if for some reason you need a vector based map but find it frustrating to use illustrator in depth.

AlanShutko
06-11-2011, 10:26 AM
I like using Illustrator, although I'm only a very beginning mapper here. Graphic styles and symbols make it quick and easy to throw together things once you get some stuff together.

When I was playing in a Temple of Elemental Evil game, I did the mapping real-time on illustrator (and shared the screen to an iPad so others could see the map). It's not the most pretty map, but I think it turned out well for being real-time.

One thing I forgot to mention: I found the Illustrator Essential Training by Morty Golding on lynda.com to be extremely helpful in understanding how Illustrator works. It has a very idiosyncratic interface, but it has a pretty strong internal logic. Once I understood that logic (where tools tend to be, the common key modifiers things use, the Appearance panel, etc) Illustrator began to make a lot more sense to me and became easier to use. Today, I often get frustrated at work doing something in Visio or another Microsoft program, because it would be so much easier to do in Illustrator (once you know how).

Lynda.com is pricy but I think it's worth it. It has good training on many creative apps and the videos worked much better for me than the books did.

Gamerprinter
06-11-2011, 05:57 PM
While I don't use Illustrator, rather I use Xara Xtreme Pro 4 (Xara Designer 7 is its most current iteration), it is also a vector drawing application rather than an image editor like Photoshop/GIMP. However, as anyone can attest looking at my maps, many assume I am using an image editor. It seems fairly common in Illustrator maps to look like Illustrator maps, but it really doesn't have to. It depends if you use photo textures as image fills, or apply painterly techniques in vector drawing. I use Xara to create all my maps, and I am a pro fantasy cartographer.

Relying on vector apps give me speed in creation, low resource usage from complex images, exportable to any pixel dimension (in image editors once you set the pixel dimension of your map, you are pretty much limited to that dimension only. Pixel dimension means nothing in vector until you export the image). I can create a map then save it twice, once for VT use say 800 to 2000 pixels wide, or print ready 300 dpi for a 24 x 36 print (thus 7200 x 10800 pixels) from the same original file.

I sometimes use Photoshop to tweak a texture for an image fill, and rarely for tweaking a final map, I almost exclusively use vector apps in the creation of my maps. Note my most common style involves hand-drawn pen lines that are scanned and imported to Xara, with vector based beveled shapes, texture fills and drop shadows placed beneath the hand-work for a hybrid hand-drawn and vector digital style.

GP

Greggory
06-26-2011, 08:12 AM
Another big advantage of using Illustrator is for Lightwave users. The vector graphics easily import into this 3D application for conversion into 3D space. While it is possible to place pixel images into Lightwave for tracing there, items drawn in Illustrator can be easily resized and edited there while maintaining smaller file sizes. Also lines imported from Illustrator can be directly used as part of the working 3D drawing.

Terraformer_Author
07-27-2011, 12:39 PM
Why not use GIMP? It's free - and comparable in qaulity to at least Photoshop 7? It's always been a mystery to me why people think that Photoshop is the "end all - be all" of editors.

tilt
07-27-2011, 02:15 PM
Why not use GIMP? It's free - and comparable in qaulity to at least Photoshop 7? It's always been a mystery to me why people think that Photoshop is the "end all - be all" of editors.

I believe it much depends on what you use the program for. If you just edit your holiday photos for printing on your homeprinter (or at the photo-store), or make stuff like maps and the like, I'm sure GIMP is just as good as Photoshop - and personally I still miss the brush-pipe-function that GIMP has, thinking photoshop brushes really are missing the ability to have colored brushes. That being said - if you use the program for professional work, then you will probably be sorry not to have the CMYK color option when you work with GIMP - that is definitly a major reason for using photoshop (in addition to the partners you might work with might use adobe also and send you files for that.)
But if GIMP can do the work - I see no reason to spend the money on Photoshop. I sure would like to save the to many dollars I pay every 1,5 years for the program, especially since adobe charge double in Denmark than they do in the US (for the same program). :(

RobA
07-29-2011, 10:19 AM
I believe it much depends on what you use the program for. If you just edit your holiday photos for printing on your homeprinter (or at the photo-store), or make stuff like maps and the like, I'm sure GIMP is just as good as Photoshop - and personally I still miss the brush-pipe-function that GIMP has, thinking photoshop brushes really are missing the ability to have colored brushes. That being said - if you use the program for professional work, then you will probably be sorry not to have the CMYK color option when you work with GIMP - that is definitly a major reason for using photoshop (in addition to the partners you might work with might use adobe also and send you files for that.)
But if GIMP can do the work - I see no reason to spend the money on Photoshop. I sure would like to save the to many dollars I pay every 1,5 years for the program, especially since adobe charge double in Denmark than they do in the US (for the same program). :(

I'd also rather see people use Gimp rather than:
- Pirating PS cause they can't afford it (which I think >50% of people using PS are doing)
or
- Using a student version of PS outside of what the student licensing allows (cause they can't afford the non-student version)

Just my 2 cents.

-Rob A.

jfrazierjr
07-29-2011, 11:34 AM
I'd also rather see people use Gimp rather than:
- Pirating PS cause they can't afford it (which I think >50% of people using PS are doing)
or
- Using a student version of PS outside of what the student licensing allows (cause they can't afford the non-student version)

Just my 2 cents.

-Rob A.

Agreed... there is no excuse for pirating PS when GIMP is free and can do most of what PS can do and a few things it CAN'T.

cantab
07-29-2011, 12:16 PM
Why not use GIMP? It's free - and comparable in qaulity to at least Photoshop 7? It's always been a mystery to me why people think that Photoshop is the "end all - be all" of editors.People equate price with quality. "The more expensive one will be better", "If they're giving it away it must be not good enough for them to sell", "How can something free be as good as something you pay for" - these are the attitudes people have. Attitude's born from physical products with real manufacturing costs, but not applicable to software where all the expenditure is in R&D and the actual cost of producing a copy is negligible. Hence, people choose to pirate Photoshop.

Plus GIMP has a reputation as being hard to use. It was a bit counter-intuitive back in the day, but the software's moved on since and adopted a more conventional UI.

Photoshop is superior for professional print work, that I will grant, but the features that give it that aren't relevant to making graphics for computer display, or even for home and office printing.

AlanShutko
07-29-2011, 10:11 PM
The interesting thing with Adobe products is that they have both features that are most useful to a professional (e.g. CMYK) but also features that are really useful to rank amateurs (e.g graphic styles, context-aware fill). I recommend that everyone start with a free tool and see how you like it. Then look at the feature set of a commercial tool, whether it be Adobe, Xara, or Sai and decide if those features would help you out.

The documents that I put together for my campaign could certainly be put together with Inkscape. However, Illustrator has some features that make it easier for me to put together. I wouldn't want to spend the money on Illustrator until I'd evaluated Inkscape and decided that the feature differences really would save me time and make it worth it.

Gamerprinter
07-30-2011, 04:51 AM
In my mind its similar to a question of why use a pen, when you can paint with a brush. Vector apps like Xara, Illustrator, Inkscape work like using a pen - hard lines, defined shapes based on lines. Painting is a completely different animal. You need to perform tricks to get a brush to draw a hardline. A painting is nothing like a hand drawing - they are two very different styles. So the argument of whether to use a vector application versus an image editor has nothing to do with the qualities or tools in each program. In general the two create very different things - different styles. Some of us like to draw. Some of us like to paint (some like to do both.) I think of vector like drawing, and think image editor like painting. Truth is, I hate to paint, but I like the results of a good painting. So I accomplish both with the drawing tool, as it works best for me.

Really that's what your choice of software is all about - what works best for you. There is no one universal program to best create a map with - it is only dependant on what works best in your hands. Software is just a tool. We, the cartographers, are the artists - choose the artist's tool that works best for you.

GP

PS: lots of software other than Adobe has CMYK functions built in - Xara does and it costs a fraction of what any Adobe program does. Don't let yourself be confused in thinking Adobe is for pros and others are not. I'm a pro and I hardly ever use Adobe products, in fact I create finished work in Xara, work in or export to CMYK (if needed) with final work ready for commercial printing or whatever the end-step is supposed to be. Saying Adobe is for professional work has little weight at all.