Digital Art Adobe Fresco vs Photoshop: Which Is Better?

Adobe Fresco vs Photoshop: Which Is Better?

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Everyone needs to make sure they have the best tools for their given profession. Even for more casual and fun activities, you still want the best you software available on so that you get the most out of your experience. Digital art applications for both professionals and hobbyists are hard to narrow down.

Adobe Fresco and Adobe Photoshop are both great contenders for digital art applications. They have a variety of features available for both professional and casual artists to use. Each one also has realistic brushes with editing capabilities beyond your imagination. 

Between the two applications, it is hard to narrow down which is better for each digital artist and their needs. The two applications and their digital art capabilities may seem similar on the surface, but there is a lot to unpack. Keep reading below to find out these differences and which one might be best for you. 

Check out this list of the Top Drawing Software for Mac.

Key Takeaways

  • Adobe Fresco is designed for digital art on a budget
  • Adobe Photoshop is designed for image editing but has amazing digital art capabilities, making it common for it to be used as such. 
  • Adobe Photoshop has a lot more options and features to offer, but Adobe Fresco is cheaper and more geared towards digital artists. 

Adobe Fresco and Adobe Photoshop Comparison Table

Adobe FrescoAdobe Photoshop
PriceAdobe Fresco has two available versions. The first version is free with limited capabilities. The second version has all the features unlocked for $9.99 a month. Adobe Photoshop is available for $22.99 a month by itself. It is also available in several package deals including the Creative Cloud All Apps Plan, which includes many Adobe applications, for $59.99 monthly. 
CompanyAdobe Inc. Adobe Inc.
Main UsesAdobe Fresco is primarily used as a drawing, painting, illustrating, and sketching application meant to mimic real-life art-making experiences. Adobe Photoshop is mainly used for image editing, but also has amazing digital drawing and painting capabilities that are often favored. 
Experience LevelBeginner to advancedIntermediate to advanced
Best ForAny level of artist interested in a budget application for their illustrations that still has a variety of features available. More advanced photography designers or editors who are looking to elevate their work and find ultimate control in the details. 
System RequirementsAdobe Fresco is available for iPhone SE or newer with iOS version 15 or later. iPads must have iOS version 15 or later with an Apple Pencil. Windows devices with Intel, Nvidia, or AMD processors must have Windows 10 or newer with a stylus. Microsoft Surface Pro is the same as Windows devices. All must have 5GB of storage and a connection to the internet. Adobe Photoshop is available on Windows devices of Windows 10 or newer. MacOS must be version 11.0 or newer. Both must have standard graphics cards, 8GB of RAM, and a connection to the internet.  
Key FeaturesApplications for iPhones and drawing tablets, free application at base level, simplistic and easy interfaceApplication for desktops and tablets, integrates with other Creative Cloud Adobe applications, complex interface with a variety of different uses
PlatformsAdobe Fresco is available on limited platforms for iPad, iPhone, and Windows tablets. Adobe Photoshop is available on both Windows and macOS devices. 
Acceptable Import File TypesPNG, JPG, PSD, PDF, MP4, GIF, PNG SequencePSD, PSDC, PNG, JPEG, TIFF, HEIC, PSB, RAW, PDF, GIF, EPS
Comparison table of Adobe Fresco and Adobe Photoshop across various categories

Adobe Fresco

Adobe Fresco was designed to be available to as wide of an audience as possible. The simple interface and free version of the application draw in new artists looking to try their hand at digital art.

The upgraded version allows for more access to amazing tools and connections to other Adobe applications that draw in the more seasoned digital artists. It has something for everyone. 

Key Features

  • Cloud-based
  • Available for iPhones, iPads, and Windows tablets only
  • Live, vector, and raster brushes
  • Connected with other Adobe applications
  • A limited free version of the application is available
  • Simplistic user interface
  • Large tool set with different features and settings available


Adobe Fresco is a drawing, painting, sketching, and illustration application designed for artists. It is used to create artwork with the same feeling as if you were doing it by hand. It has three different styles of brushes that give it a bigger draw: raster, live, and vector brushes. 

The simple user interface combined with the price makes this application great for anyone new to Adobe applications or digital art. It comes with a wide variety of tutorials available at your fingertips. The price allows for as much investment as you want and even for the complete version, the price point is low.

Start learning Adobe Fresco with this list of the Best Fresco Tutorials.

It is a simple and practical application meant to be used on the go with different drawing tablets or phones. Adobe Fresco is primarily used by artists looking to expand their craft in the world of digital art using a budget-friendly option. 

Pros and Cons

Free version availableNeed to pay to unlock all the features
User-friendly and easy to understandCannot make or import brushes with the free version
Support and education from the communityLack of customization when compared to other applications

Popular Companies That Use Adobe Fresco

Adobe Fresco is primarily used by independent artists or smaller businesses, but there are still several big names that use it, including:

  • Nordstrom
  • The Social Standard
  • Ruggable
  • Lantern Press
  • Willamette University

Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop was originally designed for image editing, but it has evolved into something more thanks to its variety of features.

It is used as a digital art application as well and draws in consumers with its endless possibilities. No matter what you are trying to do, Adobe Photoshop has something for you. 

Key Features

  • Desktop and touchscreen applications are available
  • Connected to other Adobe applications with the Creative Cloud Apps 
  • A large variety of photo manipulation and correction tools
  • Cloud-based with emphasis on collaboration
  • Drawing tools that rival art-based applications
  • Endless customization opportunities
  • Layering and masking make every type of editing easy


Adobe Photoshop is primarily used for image editing. Many tools are designed to make this process easier. There are a variety of features to help refine and manipulate the images, correcting imperfections and editing as needed. 

Thanks to its vast amounts of tools, the uses of Adobe Photoshop do not end at just image editing. It is also a great application for artwork such as drawing and painting, Vector and raster brushes are available for use. The variety of layering opportunities also makes artwork that much easier. 

Pros and Cons

Available to use with all the other Creative Cloud Adobe applicationsSteep learning curve
A large variety of tools and featuresExpensive monthly payment
Multiple uses even outside of drawing or editingCan bog down your computer
Powerful application with high-end capabilitiesNo live brushes

Popular Companies That Use Adobe Photoshop

Adobe Photoshop is an industry-standard application used by a variety of companies, big and small, including: 

  • Sinclair Broadcast Group
  • Nexstar Media Group
  • LHH
  • Uline
  • The Walt Disney Company
  • Hearst Television

Adobe Fresco vs Adobe Photoshop: Which To Choose?

Both Adobe Fresco and Adobe Photoshop are top-of-the-line applications for digital art. Adobe products are industry-standard, and they set the bar for other online software. With either product, you can’t go wrong. Which one is better depends on what you are looking for. 

Adobe Fresco is perfect for someone looking for budget-friendly software. It is for artists who do not require a lot of customization and are happy using the basics. Adobe Photoshop is for those looking to dig into the details of digital art and hone their craft.

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While both have a large expanse of tools available for use, Adobe Photoshop takes the cake for how much can be done within the software. You can photo edit, create text, draw, paint, and much more. However, Adobe Fresco is perfect for those uninterested in things outside digital art. 

What Are The Differences Between Free and Paid Adobe Fresco?

With the free version of Adobe Fresco, you gain access to a limited amount of storage as well as hundreds of brushes.

With the upgraded version, you unlock all of its features. These features include importing brushes as well as access to the full library of Fresco brushes and access to premium fonts and shapes. 

Can I Teach Myself Adobe Photoshop?

Adobe Photoshop is known for having a steep learning curve. However, it is possible to teach yourself the basics.

Adobe has a large variety of resources available online for you to use to learn how to use the application. For more complex features, this might take more time and energy, but it can still be pulled off. 

Are Adobe Fresco and Adobe Photoshop Compatible?

Yes, both applications are fully compatible. If you have both applications, you can seamlessly transfer files between the two. The best thing about this compatibility feature is that you can transfer work that has layers, and the layers will remain intact between transfers. 

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