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Hello - rank beginner here.

I have done a couple of designs with the assistance of a mate who has a reasonable knowledge of Photoshop - ie: I conceived the designs, and he worked on creating them using Photoshop. I would give feedback and suggestions for modification until we arrived at the final design. Believe it or not, the final designs worked out pretty damned well. Beginner's luck, perhaps, but I think where a design imagination exists, the potential is there to come up with some good stuff. Obviously, learning to use the appropriate design software is vital. Which brings me to my query...

What is the basic difference betweem Photoshop and Illustrator? My Photoshop friend says that you can do anything you can conceive of in Photoshop - does this equate with the views of you guys who are experienced Tshirt designers?

I should clarify what I'm planning to do in the way of designs.

1. I want to use photos to create simple two or three colour screenprinting graphics, with the photo as the initial model, but then manipulated and modified to create the final design. For example, I might start with a picture of a person sitting crosslegged with hands upturned, and would then seek to manipulate the photo to have them holding, say, a lemon in one hand (don't ask!). Can I do this with Photoshop or Illustrator?

2. And what about creating from scratch colourful abstract geometric designs in the style of, say, Miro (but simpler)? Can this be done with either of the software products mentioned?

3. Or starting with a photo of a tree, and changing it to look like a hand-drawn stylised tree in two or three colours, with a jagged, brush-stroke-like black outline?

4. What about creating original cartoon-like figures from photos?

Maybe there is a better (or simpler) package than either Photoshop or Illustrator for these types of tasks?

Any experience-informed advice gratefully accepted.

Cheers
 

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To be honest with you, I've used vector software (Corel Draw) for all of my t-shirt artwork. Now because you're saying you will be doing 3 color or less designs this is perfect for vector art.

With raster software (photoshop) you are manipulating pixels, so you have many limitations. The only reason I ever use photoshop is...well to manipulate photos.

With vector software you are manipulating shapes based on curves which are mathematical calculations that redraw on the fly. It's almost like two dimensional sculpting. Artwork is much easier to manipulate this way, especially for t-shirt artwork. Another great thing about vector is you can scale it as small or as large as you want and you won't lose resolution because it is not pixel based (think of taking a photo and making it really large...it gets pixelated).

Now don't get me wrong, photoshop has it's place. If you're doing cmyk or simulated process printing (4+ colors) then photoshop will give you more freedom because usually images with that many colors are raster images.

From what you say you need...geometric artwork, handdrawn look artwork, and cartoon line artwork, I would say go vector all the way, you will have much better results.

One last point...everyone raves about Adobe because they are the industry standard. But for someone starting out I would strongly recommend picking up CorelDraw for your vector art, it is much more intuitive and user friendly than Illustrator. I have been using both for years and you can get things done much faster with Corel. It doesn't do all the fancy filters as well as Illustrator, but you don't really need any of the for shirts.

Sorry for the rant, hope this helps some.
 

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Rodney said:
Will Illustrator or Corel work for photographs though (like his 1. paragraph?)
You could with Corel, not sure about Illustrator. Corel X3 has a lot of imaging tools built in so you can edit photos without going to an external application. It doesn't have all the tools that photoshop does, but it usually gets the job done.

You can even mask images in Corel draw by manipulating the curve points, which gives you a very clean edge.

Sometimes I'll use photoshop and corel together to get the desired effect. In that case the image (most likely a photo) would begin in photoshop, then I'll manipulate contrast or whatever, then bring it into corel to vectorize it.

Vector programs have come a long way recently adding more rasterlike tools to their arsenal like I explained above with corel draw. It's always a case by case basis, so it's good to have both a raster and vector program.
 

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I have CorelDraw 12, is x3 like the upgrade to that software? Sort of like Corel's version of "CS2"?

Edit:
Doh...I think I just answered my own question. X3. X is the roman numeral for 10 + 3. Cute.
 

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Yes Rodney, you've figured it out. LOL
Also from what I've heard and read, the X3 has greatly improved the trace function as well as several other things. It's the best bitmap to vector trace I've used.

Identityburn is correct, but seems to be leaving out one important thing that should really help you choose the CorelDraw X3 suite, and that is that when you buy CorelDraw X3 you are also getting Corel Photo Paint which effectively does anything you would want to do in Photoshop and you get it all for a lot less money.
 

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Rodney said:
With the autotrace, is it best to have a tablet to trace a bitmap, or is it something you can do a decent job of with just a mouse?
All you do is import the bitmap/jpg/whatever into corel draw. Then right click on it, then select "trace bitmap" they'll be a flyout menu, you can either do quicktrace or select an option below.

You'll be able to fine tune the tracing options in a separate window. It'll have a before and after preview as well.
 

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All you do is import the bitmap/jpg/whatever into corel draw. Then right click on it, then select "trace bitmap" they'll be a flyout menu, you can either do quicktrace or select an option below.
HOLY FREAKIN CRAP...that's amazing. I almost didn't notice anything happened it was so smooth.

Thanks for the tip :)
 

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identityburn said:
All you do is import the bitmap/jpg/whatever into corel draw. Then right click on it, then select "trace bitmap" they'll be a flyout menu, you can either do quicktrace or select an option below.

You'll be able to fine tune the tracing options in a separate window. It'll have a before and after preview as well.
THANK YOU so much for this tip! I just started using Crel Draw X3 at work - I hadn't used it since like version 7 and I haven't done much with it but this will be an absolute terrific time-saver for me at work & at home once I buy the program for home. I've been using Macromedia products - versions about 2 back that I haven't upgraded yet and this is just the nudge I needed to put Corel Draw higher on my priority list of what to buy first.

I do not rave about PhotoShop or Illustrator - both are very user UN-friendly IMO - that , cost & mostly making Net graphics at work at that time was why I bought Macromedia instead of Corel back then.

Corel Draw & Photo Paint are MUCH easier to use than Adobe ... now & then! They are much more user-friendly & make it easier to just open & work with very little learning curve.

Enjoy! I am enjoying them at work again!
 

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THANK YOU so much for this tip! I just started using Crel Draw X3 at work
The autotrace feature works great with the CP sized images (3000 x 3000 pixels). I just coverted like 6 of my cafepress designs to vector graphics in minutes.

That alone was worth the price of the upgrade for me. i had been paying artworksource.com to convert my bitmap graphics to vectors until now :)
 

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Rodney said:
The autotrace feature works great with the CP sized images (3000 x 3000 pixels). I just coverted like 6 of my cafepress designs to vector graphics in minutes.

That alone was worth the price of the upgrade for me. i had been paying artworksource.com to convert my bitmap graphics to vectors until now :)
LOL .... that was my second thought ... I cannot afford to get it this month or next month (I'm saving for San Francisco plane tickets & a hotel room in October!) ... but no more fighting with the trace features ...that will be well worth the price of the full program to me - I generally do not do any tracing any more unless I am forced into it kicking & screaming ... it was always such a horrendous pain for me and very time consuming for results not being what I needed ... this sounds awesome! I'm magic wand impaired too LOL :) Fireworks does a great job on my vector dragonflies but the paintings are less than spectacular unless I create them at large sizes and I haven't figured out how to paint seascapes & landscapes in vectors LOL
 

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Rodney said:
The autotrace feature works great with the CP sized images (3000 x 3000 pixels). I just coverted like 6 of my cafepress designs to vector graphics in minutes.

That alone was worth the price of the upgrade for me. i had been paying artworksource.com to convert my bitmap graphics to vectors until now :)

Livetrace in Illustrator is a much more intelligent bit of software :D

But I'm sure you can put up with milk because you've never had cream ;)

Go Adobe!
 

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WhatsYourBurn said:
Have you even used the auto trace in x3 Monkeylantern?
To be fair, no, I haven't got to try the new PowerTrace function in x3...it may be superb.
 
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