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Photoshop question

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by 21, Jun 20, 2008.

  1. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Need some guidance here. My step-niece (high school age) is an insanely gifted artist, studying this summer at a major art school. She wants Photoshop for some projects she's working on, I told her I would buy it for her.

    I'm looking at all the downloads, I can see there are a hundred versions of this, I have no clue what she really needs (and neither does she). I assume the basic program for a pc, although I see one that runs about a grand and one that's around $100.

    Help? Thanks.
  2. Dickens Cider

    Dickens Cider New Member

    Assuming she has a decent computer, either CS2 or CS3 will be fine for her. But if she's actually an artist, you may want to just spring for the whole Adobe suite, which includes Illustrator.
  3. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Is there a basic explanation of the difference between the cs3 and the Illustrator version? I am clueless. Thanks for your input, she's a real artist, I just hadn't considered spending a thousand dollars on this.
  4. a_rosenthal

    a_rosenthal Guest

    Illustrator is another app, a drawing application. The Adobe suite also comes with InDesign. There are cheaper alternatives, though.


    This is a free photo-editing program. Perhaps worth a shot, at least initially, before dropping a grand on a bunch of Adobe products.
  5. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    I should have bought her a Prada handbag and been done with it.
  6. BTExpress

    BTExpress Well-Known Member

    If you know a teacher, get the full photoshop version from them.

    Educators get the software at incredible discounts.
  7. Jay Sherman

    Jay Sherman Member

  8. Dickens Cider

    Dickens Cider New Member

    That is excellent advice. It also applies if you know any college students. Most university stores offer it at a substantial markdown, as well.
  9. 2muchcoffeeman

    2muchcoffeeman Active Member

    There is no polite way to put this: The Gimp is not nearly as full-featured as Photoshop and the interface is execrable. I'm an open-source proponent, but I cannot recommend The Gimp for art-school projects at all. It's not ready for prime-time and as a former participant in USENET flame wars with the dev team, I can honestly say the developers don't care if it's as usable as Photoshop, because they've made it clear for the past decade they like interface the (butt-ugly) way it is and if the rest of us don't like it, tough shit.

    «steps down off soapbox»

    21 ... Photoshop is a raster graphics editor or bitmap editor, while Illustrator is a vector graphics editor. To hijack from the latter Wikipedia link, "Vector editors are better for graphic design, page layout, typography, logos, sharp-edged artistic illustrations (e.g. cartoons, clip art, complex geometric patterns), technical illustrations, diagramming and flowcharting. Bitmap editors are more suitable for retouching, photo processing, photorealistic illustrations, collage, and hand drawn illustrations using a pen tablet."

    If you can afford it, consider getting her the basic Adobe Creative Suite — Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign, which of course is page design software. The suite would be cheaper then buying both Photoshop and Illustrator in separate boxes.

    And the last couple of posters are correct about the educational discounts.
  10. The Big Ragu

    The Big Ragu Moderator Staff Member

    21, 2much hit the key points. Photoshop and Illustrator have similar functionality in some ways, but they are very different in other ways in what they can do and what they get used for.

    Photoshop is a program used to manipulate bitmap images. It is very powerful. A bitmap is typically a photo -- it is a series of pixels that are measured in dots per inch (DPI). Bitmaps have a built-in limiting factor. You are limited by the resolution of the image you are dealing with. On the web, images are typically resized for 72-dpi, which is screen resolution. A small, 72-dpi photo will look fine on a computer screen, but in the publications I print that resolution is too low. It will look blury and grainy and unprofessional in most cases if we run a photo at that resolution. Typically we want photos that are 300-dpi, which is what we print at. Those photos have more pixel coverage and are generally larger. Photoshop gives us the ability to manipulate those photos, and at the least, even if we don't do any photo editing, it allows us to convert the file to teh right resolution (while sacrificing size, if it started out as a low-res photo), convert the photo to CMYK, which is the four-color process we print at, and it allows us to resize the photo. I can't describe all the funcationality of photoshop -- there is so much you can do with it. But it is a powerful program that can do a ton.

    Illustrator is a more valuable program for most artists -- depending on what kind of artist she is. It works with vectors, which 2much pointed out, and vectors, unlike pixelated bitmaps, are a series of lines. The images are scalable -- you can make them bigger or smaller without sacrificing quality. Most illustrator files are illustrations, not surprisingly, often done freehand, scanned and traced and turned into a vector-based image. It is used to create logos, illustrations, cartoons and can even be used for simple layouts. In fact, the layout program that comes with Adobe's creative suite (which includes both illustrator and photoshop, among other programs) is IndDesign, and InDesign is like a multipage version of Illustrator with more bells and whistles and things more specific to page layout.

    The beauty of the suite is that it integrates so well. You can bring files from one program to another to work on them and preserve their character.

    I wish I could describe it better, but it is hard to understand unless you use these programs a lot. I am not a graphic designer. I have all the technical skills, but I don't have the innate talent to do quality magazine and glossy publication layout. I actually do a lot of design myself, nowadays, but I leave the most creative stuff to my designers.

    What kind of art does your relative do? It would help me recommend what you should be looking to buy?
  11. a_rosenthal

    a_rosenthal Guest

    Gimp isn't great if she has a lot of detailed work to be done. But depending on her age, you don't want to waste a grand while she decides that art isn't her thing. Certainly worth a shot for a month before deciding to drop that kind of cash... Take it from guy whose sister went through a photography phase...
  12. Cadet

    Cadet Guest


    Educational discounts for students and teachers, K-12 to college, when you fax a copy of the school ID. I picked up CS2 for about $400. Stand-alone Photoshop would be cheaper.
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