When apply the "Drop Shadow" effect to an object, I get very, very long render times on Gaussian blur. Granted, this is being done on a relatively large document (3' x 5'), but when I monitor my processor and ram usage, I am below 50% on both during render time. I would assume that if something is taking that long to render, my processor at least should be running near 100%. Why is this process taking so long?
Any insight or suggestions?
Because it is also accessing the scratch and you probably have the Document Raster Efects settings at the defaukt 300 ppi which is not the best thing to do while in the design stage on a large dimension file.
Go to Effects>Document Raster Effects settings and change the setting to say 72 or maybe even 60 ppi see what happens you are probably not going to out put it much higher than 72 ppi anyway, not at your final ouput size.
Yes, it is set at 300 ppi, but purposefully. This will be for print so 300 ppi is necessary. Is there a way to work in 72 ppi for designing and then switch to 300 ppi for a final print file? All elements I'm working with are vector.
Yeah, you can work in whatever resolution you want to and switch it back when you go to press - Effect -> Document Raster Effect Settings.
Bear in mind that many of the "photoshop" effects render based on the resolution, and though you might not care with a gaussian blur, you might with a pointillize... In other words, set up the effects working with the correct final resolution, and then drop it when you don't need to see them accurately.