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eViLe_eAgLe
07-22-2011, 10:36 PM
I was thinking of maybe saving up for it after I get my tablet.. But, I wanna know what exactly can it do? And what things its better at then Photoshop.

vman3force
07-22-2011, 11:43 PM
Basically, where Photoshop is primarily a raster based program (with the exception of the pen tool) Illustrator is a vector based program. This means every shape you make is composed of mathematical algorithms that determine its outline using curves. What this means is that the artwork is scaleable - it doesent ever lose resolution no matter how large or small you make it. It also means that individual elements, or shapes, are saved seperately so that you can always go back and manipulate them.

Illustrator is generally used to do more graphic work, such as making slick advertisement designs and web graphics. However it is very adaptable to need and can be used in conjunction with photoshop. If you wanted to, you could probably use it to design elements for your maps (symbols, compass roses, etc) and them import them to your maps on photoshop. Before I lost my harddrive last week (:x) I was working on my first all-Illustrator map. Its good if you want a really sleek map for conveying information, or you want flat visual effects.

What Illustrator doesent do as well as photoshop is image manipulation. PS has much more in the way of tools for working with preexisting images, and the paintbrush tools tend to feel more organic as well. It is by far the more painterly program. But, like I said, you can import files from one to the other so they compliment each other nicely.

Midgardsormr
07-22-2011, 11:54 PM
I suggest you download Inkscape and give that a try. It's not as robust as Illustrator, but the essential tools pretty much work the same.

My Wheel of Time map was created entirely in Illustrator, and HandsomeRob's atlas-style maps are primarily Illustrator, with a Fractal Terrains base. Ravells' Stormlit Cloister is Inkscape.

eViLe_eAgLe
07-23-2011, 12:14 AM
I plan to be a graphic designer when im older (Im only 14 and haven't taken any photoshop courses yet.) So this might be worth investing in if I want to create sleek design's and all that junk.

tilt
07-23-2011, 02:53 AM
Adobe programs are a bit expensive - I don't know where you live, but they are half price in the US in respect to what I pay in Denmark - so that would be the place to live. Try out GIMP and Inkscape first - they are both free. :)

Very short Photoshop is for handling images and painting - Illustrator is for drawing/Illustrating :) ... however over the years they have gotten nearer to one another, and you can of course import files back and forth. Especially in the newer photoshops you can add Illustrator items as smart objects so they don't pixelate when you scale them up (or down and back up).
Try visiting Adobes homepage and take a look at their product descriptions and check out the videos of the programs - you'll get a lot from those - also check out YouTube for beginners tutorials - they will also show you what the programs can do.

good luck :)

jfrazierjr
07-23-2011, 02:08 PM
As others have suggested, I would HIGHLY encourage you to stick with free software/low cost software for now and save your money for a car, or heck even investing it for possible future software needs when you get out of school... Things change for many people during the course of their high school life and you may end up not wanting (or not being able to) afford a living as a graphics designer.. With that said.... since that's the direction you want to go for now, buying a tablet as soon as you can afford one will help FAR more than any software will IMHO. Especially since almost all graphics/illestrative design will be able to support tablets...

Now... once big thing to think about is if you end up going to college or toward the end of high school, Adobe offers HUGE discounts for students and that would be the time to spend the money if you decide to keep going that direction.

vman3force
07-23-2011, 02:41 PM
This advice is all really good. I got my software first through my mom for free (she works in IT at a college and gets free software) and then through my school at a large discount. Full retail, Illustrator is quite pricey and I'd never be able to afford it myself.

eViLe_eAgLe
07-24-2011, 01:40 AM
Ill keep this and mind. I should be getting my Wacom Bamboo pen Tablet by working for my girlfriend's parent's (they aren't rich but are those people who don't have to worry about bills or money.)

Wordman
07-26-2011, 04:28 PM
One thing that Illustrator has that Inkscape (or other vector editors) doesn't is the gradient mesh tool (http://www.blog.spoongraphics.co.uk/articles/20-tutorials-to-help-master-illustrators-gradient-mesh). This is sort of hard to wrap your brain around, but can be used to do things that seem impossible with vector software (http://browse.deviantart.com/digitalart/vector/?qh=&section=&q=mesh) (and more (http://vectorboom.com/load/articles/inspiration/masters_of_gradient_mesh/9-1-0-16)).

You might also be interested in some other threads on this forum about Illustrator:

A portal to vector art (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?15095-Web-chantier-Vector-image-portal)
Mercator projection template (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?14805-Mecator-Map-Vector-Template)
Photoshop vs. Illustrator (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?14838-Why-Photoshop-amp-not-Illustrator)
Vector mapping (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?13983-vector-mapping)
More Illustrator vs. Photoshop (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?13178-Adobe-Photoshop-or-Illustrator-which-is-better-for-Mapping)
Reliable Highlighted Text in Illustrator (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?12700-Reliable-Highlighted-Text-in-Illustrator)
Relief shadows on Illustrator (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?12181-Relief-shadows-on-Illustrator)
Variable Typemasking in Illustrator (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?11236-Variable-Typemasking-in-Illustrator)
A type of task vector editors are way better at (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?12806-How-to-easily-make-parallel-walls-and-divide-space-(Photoshop-mostly))
Vector vs. Raster - when to use which? (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?4120-Vector-vs.-Raster-when-to-use-which)
Inkscape strategies: coastline, outlines, and borders (http://www.cartographersguild.com/showthread.php?1471-Inkscape-strategies-coastline-outlines-and-borders)

ravells
07-27-2011, 02:12 PM
Serif Drawplus has a gradient mesh tool!

RobA
07-29-2011, 11:21 AM
Serif Drawplus has a gradient mesh tool!

And it looks like Inkscape may soon, too...
http://tavmjong.free.fr/SVG/MESH/Mesh_Inkscape.html

-Rob A>

ravells
07-29-2011, 11:52 AM
All that said, I think that the gradient mesh tool is one of the hardest to master well.

Hai-Etlik
07-31-2011, 02:41 AM
And it looks like Inkscape may soon, too...
http://tavmjong.free.fr/SVG/MESH/Mesh_Inkscape.html


I rather doubt it will be soon. The Inkscape team generally don't include features that would cause an Inkscape file to render differently in another SVG renderer, which means we have to wait until this shows up in the SVG standard. At the moment it looks like it will be on the order of 2 years before that could happen with SVG 2.0.

RobA
08-01-2011, 10:23 PM
I rather doubt it will be soon. The Inkscape team generally don't include features that would cause an Inkscape file to render differently in another SVG renderer, which means we have to wait until this shows up in the SVG standard. At the moment it looks like it will be on the order of 2 years before that could happen with SVG 2.0.

2 years is soon for Inkscape (haha). Seriously though, it looks like the usual infighting is starting "why not diffusion curves"... blah blah. Every time I hear stuff like this in standards development it reminds me of...
37478

(from http://xkcd.com/927/ )
-Rob A>


-Rob A>

RobA
08-02-2011, 12:28 PM
I rather doubt it will be soon. The Inkscape team generally don't include features that would cause an Inkscape file to render differently in another SVG renderer, which means we have to wait until this shows up in the SVG standard. At the moment it looks like it will be on the order of 2 years before that could happen with SVG 2.0.

Well, the latest post on the inkscape dev list was:


At last weeks SVG Working Group meeting it was resolved that meshes be
accepted as part of SVG 2.0. It was decided that meshes should be
treated as geometric primitives if defined outside a <defs> section and
as a paint server if defined inside.
...


So my previous comment might have been too pessimistic.

-Rob A>

moriturimax
01-30-2012, 05:36 PM
Just as a mention, Adobe now allows monthly subscriptions for their software, either pay by the month, or for a yearly commitment with a smaller monthly subscription. You can do either the whole suite or each program. It might still be outside your budget but I thought I would mention it.

In the Adobe store when you get the product page for the app or suite, click buy options for the subscription rate, I don't recall off top of my head where it is exactly but its there.

Cheers!

Zard
02-04-2012, 05:27 PM
I use Illustrator much more than photoshop. As a layout tool it is vastly superior in my opinion. I mostly use Photoshop for image editing and then place those images into Illustrator or InDesign. I personally don't like doing any painting type effects in Photoshop. I majored in painting in university and hate the Photoshop painting experience. For digital painting I am more inclined to use Corel Painter with a Wacom tablet as it is more analogous to painting with a real brush. Right now if I want a hand drawn look I often trace or scan a hand drawn piece and drop it into Illustrator.