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Adobe Illustrator CS: keeping your files small

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#1
Hans van der Maarel

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This one caused me a big headache today, I hope by posting this that I can prevent somebody else from having to go through it...

When you're using placed raster images in Illustrator CS, it is of course wise to link to them rather than embed them. This will keep your Illustrator file small and easy to manage. You've got the option to choose for linking vs embedding when you're placing the image (link checkbox) and also when you're saving the file (include linked files checkbox).

However, all of this is pointless if you leave the Create PDF Compatible File option selected. This will always include linked images.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
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#2
mike

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i've always had trouble keeping illustrator files small as well. once you place a raster image, the file size almost explodes. just hope that your computer can keep up with the large file sizes.

#3
Hans van der Maarel

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Mike,

When you place the raster file, make sure the 'Link' checkbox in the file selection dialogue is checked, then make sure you have the 'Create PDF Compatible File' in the Save As dialogue unchecked. This will only load a link to the raster file, rather than the entire file itself, into your Illustrator document.

An added advantage is that every time you open the Illustrator document, the rasterfile is read from disk. So you could have a low-res version of the raster image for when you're still working on the map and once you're done, replace it with a high-res version.

As long as you have enough RAM, this should be relatively easy and painless.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
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#4
mike

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good tips. i generally use a low res version as well, or sometimes a place holder (empty polygon) so i can design around it until the production version is ready.

http://www.adobe.com...ocs/330081.html

this is a good read from adobe about illustrator and file sizes.

#5
Hans van der Maarel

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Found out today that saving with the Compatible PDF option unchecked will result in a file that's about 1/3rd the size compared to the same file saved with the option checked...
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Red Geographics
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#6
Rick Dey

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While working on a file we always save as Illustrator files with:
Create PDF Compatible File - Unchecked
Use Compression - Checked
Embed All Fonts - Unchecked
Include Linked Files - Unchecked

This tends to give the smallest size and fastest response.

Prior to going out to another program (Indesign or PhotoShop), the PDF compatibility gets turned on.

Having that PDF Compatibility turned on actually creates a second file inside the Illustrator file. I just read a good article on that, I'll see if I can find it somewhere.
Rick Dey

#7
Hans van der Maarel

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Then what is the point of the PDF compatible option on? Just so you can easily place it in Indesign? :blink:
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
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#8
mike

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While working on a file we always save as Illustrator files with:
Create PDF Compatible File - Unchecked
Use Compression - Checked
Embed All Fonts - Unchecked
Include Linked Files - Unchecked

This tends to give the smallest size and fastest response.

Prior to going out to another program (Indesign or PhotoShop), the PDF compatibility gets turned on.

Having that PDF Compatibility turned on actually creates a second file inside the Illustrator file.  I just read a good article on that, I'll see if I can find it somewhere.

good to know... some of the files i am working on are over 200mb

#9
The Doomed Mapper

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While working on a file we always save as Illustrator files with:
Create PDF Compatible File - Unchecked
Use Compression - Checked
Embed All Fonts - Unchecked
Include Linked Files - Unchecked

This tends to give the smallest size and fastest response.

Prior to going out to another program (Indesign or PhotoShop), the PDF compatibility gets turned on.

Having that PDF Compatibility turned on actually creates a second file inside the Illustrator file.  I just read a good article on that, I'll see if I can find it somewhere.

good to know... some of the files i am working on are over 200mb


So here is a thought that I'm having. Where I work, we actually don't care about file size... the more information contained within a given file = the more beneficial for how we do business. Thus, having a basemap, template information, and data for a given map in a given file seems to be sensible to me (and storage is not a problem). Plus, we might end up using the files again two years in the future. This has worked really well for us, but I wonder what other professionals would think of this workaround at present? I.e. is smaller necessarily better in 2010?

#10
natcase

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So here is a thought that I'm having. Where I work, we actually don't care about file size... the more information contained within a given file = the more beneficial for how we do business. Thus, having a basemap, template information, and data for a given map in a given file seems to be sensible to me (and storage is not a problem). Plus, we might end up using the files again two years in the future. This has worked really well for us, but I wonder what other professionals would think of this workaround at present? I.e. is smaller necessarily better in 2010?


In our workflow we are almost always placing AI files in InDesign, so we need to use the "Create PDF Compatible File" option. BUT you can set the compression level for embedded raster images quite low if you are working with a big background image, and then ramp it back up again when it's time for final. This is also true for the setting for Raster Effects resolution, which also greatly affects PDF file size.

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#11
The Doomed Mapper

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So here is a thought that I'm having. Where I work, we actually don't care about file size... the more information contained within a given file = the more beneficial for how we do business. Thus, having a basemap, template information, and data for a given map in a given file seems to be sensible to me (and storage is not a problem). Plus, we might end up using the files again two years in the future. This has worked really well for us, but I wonder what other professionals would think of this workaround at present? I.e. is smaller necessarily better in 2010?


In our workflow we are almost always placing AI files in InDesign, so we need to use the "Create PDF Compatible File" option. BUT you can set the compression level for embedded raster images quite low if you are working with a big background image, and then ramp it back up again when it's time for final. This is also true for the setting for Raster Effects resolution, which also greatly affects PDF file size.



That's the way we do thing over where I work (I also work in a production department)! So the question I'm asking is what do you do with those huge AI/Eps files when you are all done with them? (We prefer using them in EPS format... keep it in one tidy package, although I can only explain why we do it from the mapping perspective...). We keep all the infomation in the original file...it makes for larger files sizes but who cares? I would rather have the reference information in the future when we work with the files again.

I guess what I'm wondering if this seems sensible to everyone else? :huh:

#12
cartdeco

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For large files I keep the "make pdf compatible" unchecked, not only does it increase file sizes as people have testified to, it also takes longer for ai to save the file. Particularly troublesome when working on large wall maps.

I also keep images linked until ready to hand over the file to the production house, then embed the file so that everything's contained in one package. There's nothing more annoying than getting a call asking for the linked image.

Also, I resize and crop any images to be used in the file so that they're at 300 dpi. It's easy geo-referencing a large tif or psd file with MAPublisher and reducing the physical size of the image, then end up having a 100mb+ image in the file that only needs to be 30mb.

All this prep work helps in the long run with files that are easy to output.

Craig
Craig Molyneux
Spatial Vision
www.spatialvision.com.au
www.svmaps.com.au
craig.molyneux@spatialvision.com.au




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