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Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign: A beginners guide to choosing the right Adobe graphic software

The Adobe Creative Suite offers an array of industry-leading software products for graphic design, web design, professional photography, video editing, and much more.  For any aspiring designer looking at the Adobe software choices, there is a lot of overlap between the graphic design products (and for good reason!).

If you are confused as to which product is right for you when you decide to tackle that new, creative project, it is helpful to know the key differences between the three major graphic design programs in the Creative Suite: Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.

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The Adobe CS Tool Palette Cheat Sheet

They say that an artist is only as good as his tools. As the premier graphic design platform, Adobe Creative Suite (CS) offers virtually limitless possibilities to create and manipulate content. From photography to letterhead, if you have the vision Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign give you the means to make it happen. The difference between fumbling around Adobe CS and getting the job done is knowing your tools, and the Tools Palette is where you should start. Like a painter’s mixing palette, the Tools Palette contains necessities to mold your work. Also, like a painter, if you don’t know what mixes well together, your palette can be more destructive than empowering. The following serves as a handy breakdown of Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign’s Tools Palettes. For more on how to put these tools to use, check out our courses for Adobe Creative Suite. Universal Tools While Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign serve different purposes, they share over a dozen common tools. These tools serve anything from basic needs to advanced functions, so if you have any questions about how to use these tools for your projects, please contact us. Brush Tool (PS, IL, ID) It is: A painting tool. What it does: Adds strokes of various color and size depending on your selections. If you don’t like the color of your strokes, the Color Replacement Tool can rectify that. To create custom colors, the Mixer Brush Tool will combine color sources from anything you throw into the mix. Pencil Tool (PS, IL, ID) It is: A drawing tool. What it does: With the pencil in hand, you can draw shapes, using any degree of thickness. There are various other variables to play with, such as opacity. The Smooth functions like the pencil, but smoothing objects reduces sharpness, to give a blurred effect. If you want to completely blur something out, use the Erase Tool from this group. Line Segment Tool (PS, IL, ID) It is: A simple way to make simple objects. What it does: Creates a single line following a click-and-drag function. The Arc and Spiral Tools follow the same rules, but create different line styles. Text Tool (PS, ID, IL) It is: A tool that creates text boxes What it does: Adds a new layer to a document where you can type text. The Text Tool panel has font adjustment including font styles, sizes, letter-spacing adjustments, etc. Pen Tool (PS, ID, IL) It is: A tool including the Pen, Freeform Pen, Add Anchor Point, Delete Anchor Point and Convert Point tools. What it does: Creates paths and manipulates anchor points for paths. The Pen Tool creates a path by connecting two or more points. The Freeform Pen Tool allows you to freely draw in a document, and anchor points are created for you; these anchors can be moved once created. The Add and Delete anchor point tools are self explanatory, and the Convert Point tool changes points from flat or straight lines to rounded shapes or curves. What that means: Creating paths with the pen tools is a great way to make custom shapes and text paths, create selections from a path amongst many other functions. Direction Selection Tool (PS, ID, IL) It is: A tool including the Path Selection and Direct Selection Tools. What it does: The Path Selection Tool moves entire existing paths; the Direct Selection Tool moves individual anchor points and direction lines of a path. What that means: You can select a single or multiple points of a path to manipulate a path before adding effects (fill, text, etc) to the path. Free Transform...

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