Why Photoshop?

I started out very lo-tech when it came to drawing software, early on I used Microsoft Paint for every one of my graphics needs. When a friend saw one of my paint drawings, he offered me a copy of Macromedia Fireworks, calling it “Paint on Steroids.”

A t-shirt I made for Threadless.com, expressing my love for MS Paint

Needless to say, layers and vectors seemed like a godsend for creating graphics using a computer. And so throughout high school and much of college, I regularly used Fireworks for logos and layouts, and any other thing I could think of. Even, eventually, website layouts.

About midway through college I got a chance to try out Photoshop. Of course I had heard of the graphics juggernaut before, but I had never needed it. I thought the program was built for other purposes like photo editing and manipulations. Also, I just didn’t like the feel of Photoshop, like how some people like red wine, and some white.

So I used Photoshop when I needed it, but still stuck to my favorite, Fireworks. And in the mean time I loathed it. Compared to Fireworks, Photoshop just seemed out of date for a graphics creation program. Vector drawings are bulky and awkward in Photoshop, it’s tougher to switch between layers in Photoshop, and Photoshop still uses an undo system that only goes back one step (yes, I know there’s a step backwards feature, but really, why not just have that as the default undo feature?).

This attitude continued, even when I started designing webpages. As I became more interested in web design I started talking to web design professionals who swore by Photoshop, and frequented blogs where they taught how to create websites with Photoshop. And as I started to design my own websites, I noticed they were jumbled and bland. So, I figured I’d try designing websites with Photoshop.

Like my taste for red wine, my taste for Photoshop was pleasantly changed. What I earlier thought was Photoshop’s greatest weakness, turned out its greatest strength for creating websites. You see, Photoshop is a raster graphics program. This means it uses pixels to lay out its image, giving images a distinctly gridded out look. Meanwhile Fireworks is a vector based program, and so it seems (IMHO) to have a less gridded appearance to its images.

My first layout using Photoshop

So now I’m frequently using Photoshop for designing websites, but still using Fireworks for the occasional logo and graphic. But I’m still annoyed by the whole undo button thing.

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