Should You Learn Photoshop or Illustrator First?

If you’re just getting started with Adobe, the choice between Photoshop and Illustrator can make you a little confused. Is one better for certain jobs than the other? Should you focus on learning one application first? In the beginning, it might be hard to tell them apart and figure out how and when you should use each one.

In general, designers use both Photoshop and Illustrator to complete different tasks, since each application functions differently. Photoshop specializes in creating raster graphics with pixels, while Illustrator makes vector graphics.

Because Adobe software is generally hard to learn, you may consider starting with template based graphic design software to get started quickly. We recommend for this because it’s the leader in the industry for template based graphic design software, it’s commercially usable, and we personally use it ourselves!

Photoshop and Illustrator are two of the most common programs used to create designs for print and the web. When deciding which one to learn first, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. Both are made by the same company, but they are used in very different ways. Below you’ll find a quick summary of each as well as what they are typically used for so you can decide which application will be most beneficial to you.

Is Photoshop or Illustrator Better to Learn First?

You’ll probably hear some designers recommend one program over the other, saying that Illustrator is best for this, and Photoshop is best for that. With so many opinions out there, it can be confusing to know where to start.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both Photoshop and Illustrator. However, that doesn’t mean that one is better than the other. In fact, most designers are known to switch between the two depending on the project or element they are currently working on.

Photoshop and Illustrator are used for different things, so they don’t need to be learned separately. Plus, you can actually learn both at the same time since the tools are almost the same.

However, before you can use them, you need to know what to do with them. When it comes to deciding which program to use, it all depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.

What is the Difference Between Photoshop and Illustrator?

The main difference between Photoshop and Illustrator is how each application makes graphics. Photoshop makes raster graphics with pixels, while Illustrator makes vector graphics with lines.

Both Photoshop and Illustrator have some of the same capabilities. However, rather than relying on a single program to do everything, it is always preferable to tailor each application to a specific task.

What is Photoshop Best For?

Generally speaking, Adobe Photoshop is the best tool to use if you’re beginning with an existing picture or image. Because it is raster-based, Photoshop generates pictures from individual pixels. Raster graphics are those in which the picture is formed by arranging pixels side by side.

Photoshop is used for picture editing and modification, graphics with minimal gradient, and interface creation. This includes tasks like:

  • Web design
  • Digital Art
  • Photo editing and enhancements
  • 3D painting and animation

Photographers love photoshop because it gives them so many editing possibilities. Graphic designers also enjoy the program because it allows them to build designs based on images without the need for scale and it has a wide range of tools to choose from.

What is Illustrator Best For?

As a vector-based tool, Adobe Illustrator is best used to create logos and images.

The term “vector” refers to a picture that can be scaled up or down without losing quality. Illustrator uses mathematical algorithms to make vector graphics. This means that when the application shows a line, it draws it from scratch every time using the equation it has stored in its memory.

This is why the program is used often for logo creation since a logo often needs to be resized without affecting the integrity of the design. This is also why Illustrator is the go-to program for creating images. This includes tasks like:

  • Logo design
  • Digital Art
  • Freehand drawing
  • Infographics
  • Custom fonts and typography

Illustrator is perfect for when you want to create a design or image from scratch or want to work on any vector-based projects.

Final Thoughts

In order to choose the appropriate program for your next project, you need to know the differences between Photoshop and Illustrator. While some individuals prefer to use one program over the other, it’s best to master both Photoshop and Illustrator at the same time.

Remember, both programs are great, just different, and most digital artists need to know both to succeed. With template based graphic design tools like, you can start by making your own design from pre-made templates, then move your creation into Illustrator or Photoshop to see what you can do with it there, too. This will help you understand the fundamental differences between the two and make it clear which program should be used for what.