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

Choosing which Adobe Creative Suite graphic software is right for my project 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. Adobe Photoshop: Photoshop is the industry leader in raster image graphics creation and manipulation software.  A raster is a grid of pixels, so any raster image is going to be composed of pixel information.  Each pixel can hold color, brightness, contrast, and other information.  When you get a large amount of pixels together in a document, it creates a recognizable image that the human eye can process. Adobe Photoshop is one of the best software tools for editing your raster images.  If you take a photo with a digital camera or camera phone, you can use Photoshop to make professional edits such as changes to brightness, color information, and much more. However, Photoshop can be much more than an image editing tool.  It can also create new designs from scratch.  You can combine images or selections of images from several sources and use advanced layer techniques to create a new image that is greater than the sum of its parts.  The blending and combination of many small images, plus the control of all the pixel information makes Photoshop an incredibly powerful graphic design tool. Adobe Illustrator: Illustrator is a vector graphics application, which is a completely different method to generate an image than a raster.  Instead of using pixels like a raster graphic, vector graphics use paths and points to create objects based on mathematical proportions.  For this reason, vector images can be scaled to any proportions without losing quality. Graphic designers mainly use Illustrator for corporate identity projects like logos and brochures, but the design possibilities are endless.  Vector images will have less detail than a raster graphic because there is not the high resolution of pixels in the document.  However, the advantage of “scalability” and ease of use with these types of images makes Illustrator the “go-to” for these projects. Adobe InDesign: Once you have designed your graphics in either Photoshop or Illustrator, you may be ready to layout your images into one final design.  Whether for print or web, Adobe InDesign is an essential tool for digital layout. InDesign is built to replace the manual design layout process.  Popular features of the program include text styling and threading, master page options, and smart guides.  In addition, there is a wide array of long document features to help you keep that long document organized. When you are finished, InDesign can output the design into the proper media and includes some handy features to mark-up your design for the web or prepare a file for commercial printing. Similarities All three of these Adobe products have some cross-over between them. While Photoshop is intended for raster graphics first, there are some vector tools built into the program.  In addition, Illustrator is primarily to create vector graphics, but it definitely allows you to place raster images into the designs and can handle the translation of the two types of images.  Last, while InDesign is not thought of as an editing tool, there are some basic editing features...

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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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