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Symbols & drop shadows in Illustrator

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#1
Claude

Claude

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I'm working on a sizable map in Illy/Mappub which contains many point symbols. I'd like to apply a drop shadow on those symbols but am concerned about hitting some sort of file size ceiling and want to keep it as light on file size as possible (I've posted in the past about reaching a certain size where the file just won't open).

Here's my question:
What's a better way to apply a drop shadow to many features
-selecting all the features on the layer and using effect/stylize/drop shadow
-modifying the symbol directly in the symbols palette to include the shadow

Can any illustrator wizards offer me some advice?

thanks.
Platts, a div. of McGraw-Hill
www.maps.platts.com


#2
Hans van der Maarel

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Regarding speed issues, I've re-opened discussion about that:
here

As for drop shadow effects, they're a raster effect but my experience is that the performance hit isn't too bad (unless you drop shadow everything :D ). I think if you follow the 'empty document' strategy outlined there, you'll be fine.
Hans van der Maarel - Cartotalk Editor
Red Geographics
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#3
Matthew Hampton

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I would add that if you have enough memory (at least 1GB of RAM) you probably won't have a problem, but you'll suffer delays from screen re-draws.

I would probably not add the drop shadow until the last step - or keep all the drop-shadowed points on a hidden (or outlined) layer until the last step. I think it also depends a little on what version of Illustrator and the raster effects settings you use.

With respect to selecting/adding effects or using symbols - I would think that using the symbol palette would be easier on your computer as it uses "instances" rather than numerous (separate) vectors.

co-cartographic creator of boringmaps.com


#4
Claude

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Yeah, maybe I'll try a last minute replacement of the symbols in the map with shadowed ones instead.Thing is, Illy will still have to draw the content beneath the shadow each instance because the shadow has transparency,,, so it might undo the advantages of using a symbol. maybe i'll pose this question to the Illustrator users group.
Platts, a div. of McGraw-Hill
www.maps.platts.com


#5
frax

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you could also do the drop shadows the old fashioned way, instead of using effects -- duplicate the layer, make all the symbols grey with a transparency and nudge the whole layer a tad to the left and down.
Hugo Ahlenius
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