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Placed high res bitmap in Illustrator not smooth, but jagged

Jan 30, 2011 4:18 PM

In the past I would save different bitmap images in Photoshop at different resolutions, of a high quality.

I would then position these images on a blank Illustrator artboard. (to be safe I would open the individual jpeg in Illustrator, copy and paste the object to the new artboard)


Using CS2 I had no problems with creating good looking Illustrator documents this way.


When I do the same thing in CS5 however, the bitmap images open up looking jagged in Illustrator.

"Anti Aliased artwork" is ticked under preferences.


How do I fix this?

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 30, 2011 5:23 PM   in reply to pmbh

    There is nothing particularly save about your overly complex process. First, I encourage you to save as .tif or .psd instead of .jpg. Every time you save an image as a .jpg you destroy some of the image quality. Open and save again and you destroy a bit more. Use a lossless format for better output.


    Second, y are doing nothing by copying and pasting in a new file. Illustrator does not actually open raster files (e.g. .jpg, .tif, .png), Instead it imports and embeds the raster data in a new file. Doubt me? use Illustrator to “open” a .jpg then immediately press Command-S. If you have the file open you would immediately save over the old file without having to specify a filename or a location.


    Third, you should not embed raster data in an Illustrator file unless you need to (e.g., to run an effect on it or use it as a symbol or pattern swatch). Place the file and make sure Link is checked in the Place dialogue. If you ever need to alter the original image you will soon find that extracting raster files from within Illustrator (which should be simple) is harder than getting pee out of a pool. Link and you get (1) smaller Illustrator files, (2) faster saves and opens, and (3) easier editing of the source image.


    As for the resolution question: Is Pixel Preview on in the View menu? Is there an effect applied to the image and, if so, what is the Document Raster Effect setting? Can you provide a screen shot showing the image in Photoshop and the same image at the same size in Illustrator so we can see for ourselves the difference in resolution? use the camera icon in a reply to attach the screen grab(s).

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    Jan 31, 2011 11:05 PM   in reply to pmbh

    What is the format of the file placed in Illustrator?

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    Oct 12, 2011 8:16 PM   in reply to pmbh

    This is a definite flaw in Illustrator CS5. In earlier versions of Illustrator I had no problem with the appearance of placed BMP images, when exporting AI files for proofing purposes. Now, with CS5, placed BMPs appear jagged when the AI file is exported  (whether to PDF, high-rez JPEG, etc.) 


    Does Adobe have any plans to fix this flaw? Being able to provide quality proofs to clients seems a basic function of a professional-level program. I now have clients asking me why proofs look so low resolution.


    Note the background illustration in the two examples below...


    Exported from Illustrator CS3:


    Exported from Illustrator CS5:


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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Oct 13, 2011 4:19 AM   in reply to Peaseberrie

    I am on CS3 so I don't have the problem, but I am wondering whether things get better with Overprint Preview in CS5.

    For example when viewing placed EPS files (which you don't see often these days) a switch to Overprint Preview makes a world of difference. Placed images in other formats also get marginally better and colour rendering is more precise both in  images and vector work..

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    Jan 5, 2012 6:45 AM   in reply to pmbh

    I have been struggling with this problem. I am working with several publications that use the same photo, some large and some small. I have created one Photoshop document for all of them and then scale the photos as I needed it. Before CS5 this was never a problem. Now however, the smaller scaled photos look very pixelated and low res in Illustrator (something I could live with) and when exported as a jpeg for a proof (something I cannot live with).


    The photos are put into Illustrator with the place command.


    Has there been any resolution to this problem since a year ago when this thread started?

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    Jan 5, 2012 7:39 AM   in reply to tridentDV

    Okay, after working with this I think I have a solution at to the export problem. The images still look rough in Illustrator, but they are exporting cleanly.

    When you export, make sure that Art Optimized (Supersampleing) in picked in the drop down menu, not Type Optimized (Hinted).

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    Apr 13, 2012 3:48 AM   in reply to pmbh



    I have/had the same problem, wondering what is going wrong.


    I double checked to see that the images had the right pixel dimensions in Illustrator as they have in Photoshop

    and noticed that many times (if not always) illustrator scales the placed bitmaps very slighty (e.g. 800.003 x 600.001 instead of a clean 800x600). So I unchecked the lock aspect ratio and dialed in the correct pixel values and it seems to work, the bitmap images look crisp on the exported PDF at 100%.


    I 'll have to test this on more images and I hope it fixes the problem.

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