Canva vs. Photoshop – Which Image Editing Suite is Better?
Have you ever needed to create a poster, presentation, or digital design and weren’t sure which tool to use? With so many different graphic editing apps available today, choosing the right one to best suit your needs can be stressful, nerve-wracking, and time-consuming.
In this article, we’ll discuss the differences between Canva and Photoshop, two of the most popular graphic editing apps available.
What Is Canva?
Canva is a free online graphic design platform. It helps users create flyers, business cards, presentations, book covers, and even online content such as Instagram and Facebook posts. You can create your project from scratch using its basic tools, or you can choose from Canva’s professionally designed templates. Let’s start by examining Canva’s strengths.
Strengths of Canva
- It’s free
One of the benefits of using Canva for your design needs is that it’s free to use. It doesn’t require you to buy the software or pay a monthly subscription fee.
- There’s no software to download or install
You won’t have to download an app or special software to begin using it. You’ll do all of your designing and creative work within the platform. All you need to do is go to the Canva website and open a free account.
- Ease of use
Canva is incredibly easy to use and doesn’t involve endless instructions to understand the basic features. Its simple drag-and-drop interface makes designing quick and straightforward. There are also 15 custom tutorials that will guide you if require a little more help. You don’t have to be a graphic design specialist to create professional-looking projects with Canva.
- Custom templates
If you aren’t a graphic design professional or don’t have the time to start from scratch, you can choose an already designed template. Canva has thousands to choose from. Simply select the template, and with a few clicks, you can customize it to your liking. Using templates is a smart way to save time while also giving your project a professional look, even if you aren’t a designer.
- Photo editing function
With Canva, you can easily upload your photos and add them to your design projects. Your photos will be saved on Canva’s cloud for easy repeated use. Canva also has a built-in photo editor you can use to crop, resize, and stylize your photos in numerous ways. Using easy-to-use sliders, you can quickly adjust brightness, contrast, and color saturation.
- Can be used on your smartphone
Since Canva is a digital design platform, it’s compatible with both Android and iPhone. All you’ll need to do is open up the Canva website on your smartphone’s browser and you’ll have all of the same features and tools available to you as the desktop version.
Weaknesses of Canva
- You get what you pay for
Canva’s free version does have lots of options and is suitable for most of your basic design needs. If you’re looking for more functionality, however, you’ll need to purchase “Canva Pro.” This paid version has more features, such as more advanced photo editing functions and 1000 GB of cloud storage, but is still quite limited.
- It’s not vector-based
Although you can create designs of all types, Canva isn’t vector-based. Therefore, you won’t be able to scale your finished product to sizes outside of its limitations. This means if you design a poster that you intend to print professionally at a much larger size than the original, the image quality and resolution will suffer.
- Overuse of templates
Canva’s free templates can be used by anyone. If you wanted a unique design, this could present a problem. What you think is a one-of-a-kind design may have been already used by thousands of others before you.
- The use of elements is limited design-wise
When designing, it’s common to use elements – lines, circles, squares, and frames. Although Canva has hundreds to choose from, you’ll only be able to resize them, change color, and rotate them. If you need a unique element, there’s no way to edit or customize these built-in elements.
- Issues with alignment
When it comes to alignment, you won’t have a lot of control. You can move text and images, but you won’t be able to do so with great accuracy. You can use the arrow keys, or your mouse or trackpad, to move things around in your design. However, Canva uses a “snap to grid” method which doesn’t give the user a lot of control.
What Is Photoshop?
Photoshop is photo editing and graphic design software. Having been around for decades, it’s recognized as the industry standard. You can create just about any type of image with it, from basic flyers to incredibly detailed graphic paintings. Photoshop is also used for editing and manipulating photos.
Strengths of Photoshop
- Professional and covers all of your design needs
All of your design and photo editing needs can be accomplished with Photoshop. From incredibly detailed photo editing to designing just about anything, it does it all. The only limitation is your imagination. With Photoshop, you have complete creative control.
- Almost all image formats are supported
You can open and make advanced edits to just about any image file format. Photoshop works with almost all image formats. If it doesn’t support a format, there are plug-ins available to implement compatibility. You’ll never worry if Photoshop can open a file.
- Vector-based software
When you’re ready to print your design or photo, especially at large sizes, you won’t lose any image quality or resolution due to Photoshop being vector-based software. Although it’s not perfect, scaling photographs usually isn’t an issue. No matter what size your final product will be printed, you can be sure that it will have all of the detail that you put into the design.
- Excellent for editing photos
When it comes to retouching and editing photos, this is one of areas Photoshop excels in. It has built-in editing tools to adjust skin tone, whiten teeth, remove red-eye, and make background adjustments, to name just a few.
- Also excellent for editing videos
Photoshop isn’t just for photo editing. You can also import videos and edit them. Video editing features include trimming or snipping videos, correcting color, adding filters, and enhancing the audio or adding music.
Weaknesses of Photoshop
- It’s not free
You must purchase Photoshop by paying for a subscription, either monthly or annually. There are a few different plans available, but even the basic plan could prove to be expensive considering you’ll be billed for as long as you want access to the software. There’s no way to simply purchase Photoshop outright. This could prove to be quite costly, especially if you aren’t earning an income from using it.
- It’s not user friendly
This app was designed for professionals, and learning the ins and outs could take some time. With its numerous tools, filters, and functions, Photoshop could easily overwhelm a novice user. That’s not to say that it’s difficult to learn, but it has so many features and tools that it’ll take some time and effort to use it proficiently and the learning curve could be slow.
- You’ll need a lot of available disc space
Photoshop will take up a lot of disc space. The app will take up about 4 GB of space, but to run the app it also uses scratch disc space and RAM. If your disk is already close to full, you could experience issues with Photoshop running properly.
- Saved files can be large
Although Photoshop is an excellent choice for photo editing and digital painting, the file size for saved images can be quite big. You’ll need a lot of available disc space to save your files. Saving them to an external device is an option, but it comes with added expense.
- Not great for creating logos
When Photoshop creates an image, it’s just a series of pixels. For that reason, it’s not a good choice for logo creation if the final product is going to be quite large. Image quality could suffer when scaling to unusually large proportions.
- Mainly used as a desktop program
Photoshop Express is a free app that runs on either your Android or iPhone. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have the full functionality of the desktop version. Also, it can be difficult to edit images or make highly accurate changes due to the size of your smartphone’s screen.
What are some other free graphic design apps?
There are plenty of free graphic design apps. They are generally easy to learn although they can be somewhat limited in terms of features. If you’re creating basic content, here’s a list of a few of the most popular options:
• Gravit Designer
• DesignHill Studio
Which one is better? Canva or Photoshop?
The answer to that question depends on your exact needs. For a person with very little knowledge of graphic design, Canva would be the right choice. With its easy-to-use interface, you can create fabulous, professional-looking designs by utilizing its drag-and-drop function and pre-made templates. For an individual who simply needs to design a flyer for a party, or maybe an Instagram post, Canva again is the obvious choice. It’s free, easy to use, and suits the casual user’s needs. Canva makes perfect sense for these situations.
Photoshop is better suited to professional graphic designers, users with very detailed and specific needs. The app requires a monthly subscription, but it’s the industry standard for graphic design and advanced photo editing.
Different Apps for Different Needs
You now have all of the information you need to make an educated decision about which app is best for you. Both are impressive graphic design tools. Photoshop is great if you need to produce high-end, detailed work. Canva offers a more basic graphic design solution. If your needs aren’t highly detailed or complex, then Canva is a good choice. But you can rest easy knowing that no matter what level your graphic design skill, you can complete your project using Photoshop or Canva.
Have you used Canva or Photoshop? Which one do you prefer? Let us know in the comments section below.