General Question

Breefield's avatar

What is the industry standard for web graphic creation?

Asked by Breefield (2723 points ) July 9th, 2009

So I’m having a conversation with someone at the moment about which application is the “industry standard” for web graphic creation.

We both agree it’s not Photoshop – as it’s for photo editing and manipulation, not really graphic creation. Even though it’s misused for this all the time.

I use Fireworks because I can create vector graphics, but they’re being rendered in the program in bitmap form. Perfect for seeing exactly how my graphics are going to display when I export them and use them in a webpage.

He swears it’s illustrator. Because it’s the “industry standard” for web graphic creation, etc. Vectors are awesome and such.
My issue with this idea is that when you zoom in to see your graphics in illustrator you’re going to see “high” quality lines and such, not very good for knowing exactly how your end result file will look.

Does anyone have a definitive solution to this conundrum?

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20 Answers

TheCreative's avatar

Sorry I don’t have a fix but I use Photoshop for graphic creation all the time and it’s also great for that.

CMaz's avatar

Photoshop and Fusion.

wenn's avatar

I use Photoshop and Illustrator.

Photoshop for raster work and Illustrator for vector work.
Both Photoshop and Illustrator have a “Save for Web” which works perfectly fine. There is really no need for Fireworks becuase you can do everything from PS and Ill.

wenn's avatar

Also whenever you save something for web, its going to be 72dpi regardless of it being vector or raster. The point of vector work is to have that infinitely smooth line, and when you save for web it will still look good at the size it is supposed to be. So your argument of ‘zooming in Illustrator = not final product’ is kind of irrelevant.

And unless you are making vector work for something that will be printed that needs to be incredibly clean edged or vector graphics for a flash game/site/app, use Photoshop cuz its gonna be 72dpi anyways once its on the web.

(and you can even set PS to 600dpi or something ridiculous too if you want really clean edges)

Grisaille's avatar

Photo/Illi CS4 is most widely used.

Breefield's avatar

@wenn my point about ‘zooming in Illustrator’ is completely valid. I do a lot of iconography at 600%+ and it’s very useful to know exactly what my end product will look like (in Fireworks), where as in Illustrator I will see incredibly smooth lines that don’t represent what my final icon will look like.

Breefield's avatar

@Grisaille – I understand that those two are probably most widely used. I suppose I stated my question inappropriately. It should really be “Does Fireworks have any value in the Photoshop/Fireworks/Illustrator triangle, or is it redundant?”

Grisaille's avatar

Well, that depends on you. Industry elite tend to use Photoshop/Illustrator, and optimize images in Fireworks sometimes.

Whatever works best; you wouldn’t ask a bunch of artists what type of pencils are industry standard, now would ya? :P

If you feel comfortable with it, there is no wrong or right way to create art. In terms of what is widely used (thus, easier to transfer files, share brushes, get help/tutorials on) I find Photo/Illi is the most popular.

Breefield's avatar

The thing is, we’re not making “art” he’s passing of compositions to me to code. I usually design & develop, but he wants to have a hand in the design.
Either way, I agree with you.

Grisaille's avatar

Gotcha. But yeah, there isn’t a rulebook on these things.

Whatever works. Just note that most printing companies (if you’re in that line of work) only accept a handful of different file types; regardless, you might have to export to .psd or .il.

Bri_L's avatar

@Breefield – I see your point about what the icon will look like in fireworks vs illustrator.

cwilbur's avatar

Photoshop is the industry standard. Yes, it’s well-suited for photographic manipulation, but the tools you have available there are more than enough to create web graphics.

In the past, I’ve used Illustrator for graphics, and then rendered them to raster images.

Fireworks is a recent addition, and I haven’t used it; I haven’t done any freelance web work since the days of the original Creative Suite, and so it wasn’t cost-effective to upgrade to CS2 or CS3. From web descriptions, though, it sounds like it’s trying to be the bits of Illustrator and Photoshop that are most useful on the web. So I’d guess that if you have Photoshop and Illustrator, Fireworks adds very little; but if you only get to pick one tool for the web, Fireworks is probably the most useful.

wenn's avatar

@Breefield ive never had an issue with photoshop or illustrator producing final graphics different from what I created onscreen after saving for the web, and ive created work zoomed well over 600%.

whatever works for you.

mirza's avatar

I’m gonna go ahead and say Photoshop & Illustrator are the industry standards. Photoshop is by far the most widely used program in the design world. Its no longer just for photo editing and manipulation (you can even do 3d in photoshop now). There’s even a whole industry for PSD to HTML design conversions. In the 2 years, that I’ve worked in the design world I’ve never gotten a file in a fireworks format so I’m gonna rule fireworks out of the equation. Illustrator is still widely used for logos and stuff like that. But in general if we are talking about stuff like background, buttons, and general web graphics, photoshop still wins.

At the end of the day, the industry standard doesn’t really matter. As long as the end result works, that’s all that matters.

ckinyc's avatar

It’s all depends on your workflow. I usually create web graphics in resolution that I can use for print as well. It is because you can always size down but not up. I prefer Fireworks because it compresses cleaner and smaller than Photoshop.

wilhel1812's avatar

It’s a difficoult question really, I personally start of in Illustrator, then i pixel perfect my design in Photoshop, slice it and start writing the code.
However neither Illustrator or Photoshop is targeted for web design, so I’d like to see an application that does this. Fireworks? I haven’t tried it. Should I?

Breefield's avatar

@wilhel1812 I would give it a shot, I see that as being it’s primary application. A mesh of Illustrator & Photoshop. Not half as powerful as Photoshop or Illustrator though, but it gets the job done.

jumpo7's avatar

Fireworks was Macromedia’s competitor of sorts to Photoshop. When Adobe bought them I fully expected them to retire Fireworks, but they did not. Adobe had Imageready at one time which was very much like Fireworks targeted for producing web graphics, but not as good. They rolled that fully into Photoshop now and so Photoshop can do basic vector art and output web graphics with the Imageready features.

The main difference in terms of quality between Fireworks and Photoshop is in the image filter & manipulation tools. Rotating an image in Fireworks is noticeably less quality than Photoshop (unless it is a vector of course), but that is perhaps only to the trained eye. I used Fireworks for many years as I could not afford Photoshop. It saved files in png format with layers, which was both convenient and confusing at times.

I would say Fireworks is a professional level application for web graphics on par if not a bit better than Photoshop for that specific niche work. If you ever need to do print or other photo editing work then Photoshop is the one and only.

Breefield's avatar

For sure, I quite agree.

martijn86's avatar

There is no standard really, sure there is what ‘most of us’ use but the trick is to find that piece of software that makes you to produce sweet images with all the control you expect and all that in as little as possible time.

Yes for me it’s Illustrator/Photoshop too, can’t live without CS4 for mac, but others swear by Acorn or other alternatives.

http://mac.appstorm.net/roundups/web-dev/the-ultimate-mac-setup-for-web-designers-60-apps/
Scroll down for a list of imaging software aimed at web designers.

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