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
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.
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.
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.
I Prefer Vector
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.
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.)
Originally Posted by Terraformer_Author
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:
Originally Posted by tilt
- Pirating PS cause they can't afford it (which I think >50% of people using PS are doing)
- 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.
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.
Originally Posted by RobA
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.
Originally Posted by Terraformer_Author
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.