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To paraphrase Voltaire, if Photoshop didn't exist, it would be necessary for Illustrator to invent it. Actually that might not be exactly right. My high school friend, she is pretty rusty, but whatever his exact words; Voltaire was on to something. Well, an immensely powerful program, in its own right. Photoshop is a necessary appendage to Illustrator, there's all the usual stuff where Illustrator imports Photoshop images complete with transparency intact, but even better, Photoshop can Rasterize Illustrator artwork.
Thereby ensuring that you don't lose any of your gradients, or live paint interactions, or dynamic effects, or any of that stuff, plus you can exchange artwork between Illustrator and Photoshop using Smart Objects, which quite frankly, rank among the most amazing feats of cross application engineering Adobe has ever pulled off. So forgetful Voltaire for a moment, he didn't know Smart Objects from Le Fromage, but you will, after you watch the following movies.
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