I was wondering if anyone out there with experience dealing with large prints (72in x 36in @350dpi) has any advice in the following situation:
I've been commissioned to make a large print (12ft by 3ft) for a gallery. They want me to use a preferred printer who requires a final output resolution of 300-350dpi. My source file is an Illustrator file (CS5.1) containing MANY (100's) overlapping, transparent polygons). The printer initially told me that it was fine to supply the Illustrator file as two parts, 6ft x 3ft with everything as vectors. They just got back to me and rejected my files, now requesting full resolution TIFFs. I have tried to flatten the transparency and output to TIFF, but either Illustrator hangs indefinitely halfway in the process or errors out, telling me that the combination of size and resolution is impossible to output. I've even tried to import to photoshop as smart object, etc. It appears that I'm running out of memory/cpu power/illustrator abilities even though I tried this on a quad cpu mac pro with 12GB of memory. At the moment, I'm screwed. I have no idea how to rasterize my vector art at anywhere near acceptable resolution. The image is very dense, and full of subtle changes in color and density due to the transparency. I need to preserve it as much as possible. I would be happy for any guidance in this matter. Thanks!
what file formats will the printer accept?
what is the size of your illustrator artboard?
IF the artboard is very large, it can be problematic.
try reducing all your art (assuming it's all vector) so it will fit on an 18"x9" artboard (reduce to 25%)--then rasterize that at 1200dpi--tell printer to output at 400%--which will yield a resolution of 300dpi
this doesn't seem to be working, unfortunately. i scaled both my artwork and the artboard by 1/3, resulting in an artboard size of ~24"x12". i then tried to flatten transparency at 350dpi just to see what would happen, and i again crashed illustrator. like i said, i have many hundreds of overlapping, transparent polygon blobs.
Illustrator needs plenty of scratch disk to process this type of operation. 12g's of RAM is great, but take a look at your disks and see if you can loosen up some space. There's absolutely no reason for high resolution bitmap images for this type of large format banner. Like mentioned above, scale the file 1/4 final size ( 18x9 ). You sound like you've got live transparent effects. Even if you rasterize the file and send them a .tiff; at 25% the resolution should be 300ppi/2400dpi. This will yield 75ppi/600dpi at final size ( 72x36 ). The printer is confused. Send them a live transparent .ai file as specified. Try to reduce the number of layers if you can. I don't agree with Monika, you shouldn't have to save with PDF compatability. That will make the file bigger and may require more system resources. Also, try Print > Save as PDF ( on a copy if you can ). Send them the PDF at 25% and tell them to scale it in the RIP. If they don't know what that means or don't know how to do that, find another print vendor.
i tried your method last night. i didn't have access to my desktop, so i used my laptop instead. 2.5GHz core duo w/4GB RAM. it took all night to rasterize on input to photoshop (72.125"x36.125"@350dpi) but when i woke up this morning, it was done! just saved it as a TIFF weighing in at a hefty 1.19GB (no compression). Using 7ZIP afterwards, I have a 86Mb file. Still too big for the printer (50MB max) but I am so much closer to actually having some output. Thanks everyone! And by the way, John, yes, the printer is confused. I have submitted large files just like this with live transparency to my school's service bureau and there was no problem printing. Unfortunately, I also paid $8.00/sq ft.More to come...
Before you go any further you have a mistake somewhere in your specs. 12 feet is 144" not 72" and the way I would do this so that it does not take for ever tosave the file is to open the file in Photoshop as a smart object and then not bother to rasterize it simply save it as a tiff.
Rasterizing it was just wasting time.
Maybe it will be better to place it ina blank Photoshop file as a smart object.
first of all, let me please thank all of you for your suggestions. with your help, i finally found a solution.
so i did go the way of using photoshop to rasterize the illustrator file on input. this took a LONG time. 10hrs on my macbook pro laptop and about 8hrs on the mac desktop for one file, 72"x36"@350dpi. the resulting TIFF file size was 1.19GB w/o compression. i eventually had to reduce the resolution to 200dpi and use LZW compression to get a 47MB file for the printer. thanks!!!
Please follow this video tutorial and you will see a small thing can reduce the file size easily. It was really helpfull for me.
How to Reduce AI Vector file size: An Adobe illustrator Tutorial
My AI file size was not going under 1 MB even by deleting extras so what I did is I opened a raster small image of 100 kb with Adobe Illustrator. then deleted the image and saved the file as AI. Then I Copied the whole vector content of original AI file that was bigger then 1 MB with ctrl+c command and pasted it in the new file created with raster image. and saved it. Wow the new file size is only 137 kb now.