So this week I have been working on 6 trade show style stands that need to go up in the lobby of PCC.The company we're dealing with in making the signs, only accepts .ai or .eps files to work with.

So, seeing as how I'm well versed in the world of Photoshop and have shied away from the use of Illustrator, I needed to tie up my boots and go to school.

Thank you GO MEDIA! Check out their Illustrator Tutorial.

I've dabbled in Illustrator. I've made work arounds with Illustrator, but I've never just sat down and played with the program. There's my shameful confession in the world of design. I finally did. I made 3 signs. 3 Glorious, beautiful signs. 3 more to go today.

I think I'm in love.

One of the things I didn't know, but I did, was that vector files are better. Well I always knew they were better, but I never knew WHY. So I sat through the 50 Hour tutorial (kidding, it's more like 5) and listened about the difference between Vector & Raster. I finally took the time. That's all it took, because it's really quite simple. Let me show you.


The image on the top is vector based. It works with nodes. The computer saves where you place the nodes and then records the color and stroke you add to it. That said, the file sizes are smaller, you can blow them up to "any size" AND they look cleaner and crisper.

The image on the bottom is raster based. It works with pixels. This is what's used for a lot of web based design. The computer saves each and every individual pixel, down to its placement and color. Photoshop is based on raster art. It can be great too, but limiting.

So there you have it, the first thing I learned about the difference between vector and raster. Now I still love Photoshop, it can do things with paintbrushes, grunge layers and other things that are more difficult in Illustrator, BUT Illustrator is finding its place in my heart. I know, it's about stinking time!


Matthew A. Hawkins