I am now encountering my recurring problem - trying to print one of my maps. To give some background, this is for a boardgame and consists of almost solely Illustrator effects. There is a small amount of material from Photoshop incorporated. It consists of some 20 layers of various effects, and was generated in Illustrator CS 3 (13.0.2) under Mac OS X 10.6.8.
Over the years, I have generated a number of large maps, for various efforts. These range in size from about 6-12 sq.ft. All the maps are generated in Adobe Illustrator, ranging from Illustrator 10 to CS3. The maps are generated on beefy hardware platform (MacPro, various iterations, lots of RAM), with no problems in generating the map artwork.
However, over the years, when it comes to trying to print of of these maps, I am almost completely unable to print them. I dont have access to a large format printer, so I try and print these using various small size printers, and tiling the pages. However, this inevitablely fails. I am unable to print on any printer, under any OS (Mac OS X or Win XP), with any hardware, with any settings I have tried.***
The current effort is an .AI file of about 100 MB is size. I have also saved this same file as a PDF (flattened layers from AI, ~100MB in size), and as a PDF without Illustrator editing capability (this reduces the file size to 12 MB).
I have tried using Illustrator or Acrobat to print these documents. At best, I can sit there and watch the status bar creep to 100%, and then sit there for 15 minutes, at which point I give up. At no time do any of the printers show any activity.
I have tried printing just one tile (page) of the map, and it does the same thing.
This is of course intensely frustrating to encounter this again. I cannot figure out why this is happening. Is there some sort of pre-press operations I need to do ?
*** There is one exception. I have a small Brother HL-2270DL printer attached to my home network. Using Illustrator, I can print the entire tiled map in a matter of a few minutes. I have no idea why this works. Acrobat still totally fails. As satisfying as actually printing something out, I need a color print.
Do you have any issues printing other documents? My first guess is Illustrator is have an issue finding your printer. Second you have an issue with the print driver (corrupted), third lack of memory, forth Some of the raster effects are causing issues. Oh yeah fifth, you may have a corrupted font file.
All of these are just guesses, I hope you can solve your issue.
Sounds like this is a problem with a particular file since he said Tom said this occurs when trying to print one of his maps. First do a save as, and turn of PDF compatible, this should shrink your .ai file. Does your file have any placed images, if so save a copy with all the placed imaegs deleted and try to print that. You may have a corrupt image, and sometimes just opening an image, and resaving will fix that.
Try printing your .ai and sliding the advanced / custom slider all the way over to raster, incase you have too much complexity at the vector level.
Would need to know more about teh contents of your file to troubelshoot better, but these are the most common solutions.
In each case, I have no problems printing other documents. There does not appear to be communication issues.
As for memory, about all I can say is that I can watch the free RAM on the printing computers, and in each case, an appreciable (500 BM to 2 GB or more) remains free and unused. Same for CPU cycles. I cannot say if the RAM on the printers is the limiting factor.
Is printing vector images more problematic in general ? Maybe the solution is to rasterize these documents ?
For a corrupted font, how would I troubleshoot this ? This is also somewhat suspect as this issue has haunted me for many years, over many different OS versions and platforms and many different types of hardware.
Mike, while I am currently struggling with this one file, this same issue has dogged me for many years, over several different files, with, as far as I can tell, nothing in common, other than I generated them (the problem lies between the keyboard and the chair ? : ) Each of these maps is heavy AI work, with gratuitous use of textures, patterns, swatches, brushes and feathering effects. There is a little bit of PS Placed artwork, but not much.
I will see if leaving out the placed artwork makes things work better, but the amount of Placed artowrk is pretty small.
What really baffles me, is that in its most distilled format (PDF with no Illustrator editing), the file is only 12 MB. I cant fathom how a 12 MB file can present a challenge to any computer made in thre last 5 years.
I havet not yet explored the Advanced printing options, and I dont know what most of that does (even after doing AI for 8 years or more, I am still a hack).
Is there a good book that explains the different printing options and strategies ? I am flying somewhat blind when it comes to something other than simple printing.
One further data point: I opened up the previously mentioned 12 MB PDF, using Photoshop. I rasterized the document to the tune of 300 DPI, and then saved it as a Photoshop PDF. My thought was that opening in PS destroys any vector information and saving back out as a PS PDF then puts it into a form I could print from work. From work, I opened this file on a Windows machine with plenty of horsepower and resources. I attempted to print to a beefy Xerox 7xxx series office printer. I tiled the document an hit "print". The progress bar stayed at 0% for 20 minutes. During that time, the CPU load ranged from ~5-20%, and the free RAM stayed at about 1.7 GB. I checked the printer during this time, and it registered a print job, but no progress was made. I gave up after 20 minutes.
Are you on a network at work? At home, are you on a local machine? These large files ( size not megabytes ) are sent to the printer and, if you are sending the file over a network, it will take time for the file to spool to the printer's hard drive. Over a network, this could take a long, long time. At home, you were able to print the file with no wait, no lag. Sounds like an issue with sending the file. Large files can be fragmented on both your local machine at work and also on the printer's hardrive. The RAM on your local machine really has not much to do with printing, although the more, the merrier. The hardrive is the scratch disk that is used to temporarily store the file while it is being sent and also the scratch disk is used to assist in the send-and-print process. At home, you may have more scratch disk available on both the local computer and the printer. You may want to take a look at your work computer's hard drive(s) for fragmentation and see how much space is available on the printer's hard drive ( if any ).
For home, the printer is connected to the computer through a wireless network. At work, its a network over ethernet, but I print during the end of the day where there should be minimal traffic.
Just for giggles, I tried printing to a .ps file, then Distilled it into a PDF. This turned out only to be a single tile (page) of the map, but I noticed it was ~120 MB. This would imply that turning the entire map (24 tiles) into raw postscript balloons the thing to a whopping ~3 GB which would indeed take sometime to send over the nextwork.
However, I am still have some suspicion this is related to tiling. I am completely unable to create a tiled PDF from the map, even following instructions from various how-to's on the internet. In each case, during the save to PDF dialog box, the "Create Multi-Page PDF from Page Tiles" option is greyed out and not selectable. I can see the page tiles in the print dialog box, or if I select "View Page Tiling" in Illustrator.
30 minutes later: I think I found a bug in CS3. When I generated my map originally, I didnt specify a large artboard. Even if I expand the artboard under Document Setup, I cannot get the "Create Multi-Page PDF from Page Tiles" option to be active.
I opened a new blank page, but this time I made the document size able to fit my map (~49x47"). I copied and pasted the map from the old file into the new one. This time, whe I selected Save As PDF, the option to "Create Multi-Page PDF from Page Tiles" was available. Unfortunately, attempting to do so crashed Illustrator during the save. In fact, trying to save the new pasted art (as an .AI file) causes Illustrator to crash. [deadpan voice] How surprising.
Is this progress ?
I think it depends of the type of printer that you have. Here is an Adobe Help link that could help you:
I hope this help!
Chip, thanks for the link.
I think I whipped the problem, in a very roundabout way.
Save the .AI file. Open the .AI file in Photoshop and Save As a JPEG. Open a blank file in InDesign and Place the JPEG. Print the file to a PDF, after setting the tiling options. This finally saved as a tiled PDF which I could print, page by page.
Not exactly an optimal route, but it worked.