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When is Photoshop an inappropriate tool?


Question

When, if ever, is Photoshop the wrong tool for the job?

There are several tools that slightly overlap with Photoshop in functionality. Adobe makes several ones themselves. Thing is Photoshop is extremely versatile, but even so it has its limits. When exactly is Photoshop the wrong tool? What is the reason for this?

If one needs examples consider example,

  • posters,
  • documents like a CV,
  • video editing,
  • business cards,
  • etc.

In reverse when is Photoshop the right tool? And possibly why should anybody care?

2015/04/07
1
8
4/7/2015 5:38:00 AM

Accepted Answer

Photoshop is a tool just like any. It's not necessarily right or wrong - it just is. There might be better tools or worse tools.

You need to ask:

Can I achieve the necessary result using Photoshop? Will the file be in the correct format and below size restrictions for any other parties involved?

If No to either one, then it's an inappropriate tool. However, it needs to be stressed this has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not its the best tool. That wasn't the question. This is only a statement of when it is not the correct tool.

Some examples:

CV / Résumé

Could work, but too often do you need to send your résumé as a .doc to upload for an automatic reader. A work-around (which is a good idea anyways) is to have two résumés. One specifically for upload purposes in plain text and one that can be styled however you want. If you want to make that "styled" one in Photoshop - fine. In Word - fine. In MS Paint - fine. etc...

Posters

It can be done depending on how you're printing and what you're putting on it. You and/or any sort of file transfer that needs to occur could run into memory issues if it gets very large. Again Photoshop might fail to meet size requirements though you could probably do an entire design in it easy enough. If you're just printing something on a plotter in a university lab it should do just fine though.

Logos

While its certainly not the best tool it can absolutely be done, saved into any format you need, and scaled relatively easily especially if you start with something at a decent resolution. Again, this doesn't mean its the best tool - it just means its not an incorrect tool.

My personal workflow for print ads:

Photoshop is what I know best. I do almost everything in Photoshop and then scrape the images out and recreate the entire thing in InDesign. But I do the whole thing entirely in Photoshop first. Just retype it and rebuild vectors in InDesign / Illustrator after because of how much better the quality will be and how much smaller the files will be. I've certainly been lazy at times or hit deadlines and had to submit straight from Photoshop. Likewise I've met MANY a graphic designer that doesn't know or touch InDesign so will send a final ad from Photoshop over. Is it wrong? No. Is there better? Yes.

2014/10/07
12
10/7/2014 2:35:00 AM

Photoshop is for creating raster-based imagery and editing photos.

For photo editing, it's typically the product you use from start to finish.

For nearly everything else--including all the uses you mention in your question (posters, CVs, video editing, business cards) as well as many others (web design, book covers, album covers, ads, magazines, etc)--Photoshop is merely one of the tools you use to create elements of a design that you will assemble in another tool (InDesign, Illustrator, Final Cut Pro/Aftereffects, HTML, etc.)

In summary, it's an appropriate tool for any time you need to work with raster imagery. It's usually not the appropriate tool for doing everything.

2014/10/07