6 Replies Latest reply on Jan 24, 2013 7:12 AM by Steve Fairbairn

    How to work with HUGE documents?

    Christ-Guard Level 1

      Hey guys!

         I am working on my first very large publication for print. It is 96 inches tall and 151 inches wide! Currently it has anchors that number in the thousands! So, when I try to work with it, such as adding a drop shadow to some objects, it takes about an hour on my Octi-Core PC! I can't work like this, it is driving me crazy. One effect took an hour before comming up with an error: There is not enough memory to preform this operation. So my questions is this:
         "What is the industry standard for working with large publications? Should I start with a small, but properly porpotioned publication, then increasse the size at print time, or should I work on a huge work area?"

      Bonus question:
          "Why is it so slow? Is it the size of the document, the sheer number of anchors, or both?"



        • 1. Re: How to work with HUGE documents?
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

          Nobody would even attempt to apply pixel effects on such large docs in AI, given its limited abilities in that department. It simply sucks. That's stuff that takes 2 minutes in Photoshop and therein lies the answer: Once you have finished your initial drawing, move on to PS for the fancies - if you really must work at these insane sizes. Though, to be honest, none of what you describe makes any sense to me. 96"x151"? That would be a 3x5 meter poster and this stuff is already in a region where people work to scale and the actual print is never done at 300 DPI or higher, so as a matter of fact half or even quarter that size in AI at 150 DPI would still beautifully print as your large format poster. So in all fairness, you are probably the maker of your own problems by hopelessly overcranking. The best advise is really to do a little reading up on resolution vs. physical dimensions vs. pixel dimensions. This forum here and the InDesign forum have plenty of threads on that. Also inquire about the exact specs from the company that is going to do the print. Again, no point in designing something on your end that will hopelessly overburden their RIP and not print any differently than a 30 megabyte PSD file...



          • 2. Re: How to work with HUGE documents?
            Christ-Guard Level 1

            It's actually not a poster, but a huge lantern, see the dimensions in the image below:


            So, as you can see, this will be an 8 foot tall lantern. I have been assured by my employeer that he has a printer who can print such as large poster, so I went to town on a design that was 150.8 Inches by 96 Inches. Like you said, I had no problem doing the drawing or entering in all sorts of text and typefaces... but that drop shadow... oh my. So, what should I do? Change the DPI of my image? Change the size of the image? The dumb thing is even to big to open in photoshop!

            • 3. Re: How to work with HUGE documents?
              Christ-Guard Level 1

              Tomorow I will run by the printshop with the LFP and find out what DPI it prints in. Cutting it down to 150 DPI allows me to open it in PS, so hopefully that will do. I am nervous because I have never taken on anything of this size, and don't wnat to deliver a pixilated mess, you know?

              • 4. Re: How to work with HUGE documents?
                Steve Fairbairn Level 5

                You must consider the distance from which your lantern will be viewed.

                You talk of 150 DPI (I suspect you mean ppi – pixels per inch) but you will probably be able to get away with a lot less.

                Do a test print in, say, 72 ppi and another in, say, 30 ppi, view them from the correct distance and see if you notice any difference.


                High resolution is pointless unless you plan to poke your nose into the finished article.

                • 5. Re: How to work with HUGE documents?
                  OldBob1957 Level 4

                  This is aimed at the fine art world, but is still a very good article on viewing distance / resolution:





                  • 6. Re: How to work with HUGE documents?
                    Steve Fairbairn Level 5

                    Good one. More people should read (and understand) this.