5 Replies Latest reply: Feb 20, 2013 10:33 PM by Penelope_Illustrator RSS

    Preferred method for repetitive objects (linked files vs. symbols)?

    Penelope_Illustrator Community Member

      When memory errors are occuring, which is the preferred method for repetitive objects: placing linked images or placing symbol instances? I'm using Windows XP and Illustrator CS5. I'm considering whether to create symbols for several of the often recurring placed images. Thanks.

        • 1. Re: Preferred method for repetitive objects (linked files vs. symbols)?
          [Ravi Kiran] Adobe Employee

          Symbols cannot contain linked images. So you will have to embed the image before converting to a symbol. But embedding an image makes a larger sized file (as compared to one with a linked image).

          • 2. Re: Preferred method for repetitive objects (linked files vs. symbols)?
            Penelope_Illustrator Community Member

            I understand this. But what if it's a simple linked raster image that I can trace and turn into a vector? Then I could make the vector image into a symbol and "place" it multiple times in the image without worrying about memory. Correct?

            I guess another way to ask the question is to consider how Illustrator loads linked files into memory. Does it do it only once--even if the file is "placed" multiple times in the image?

            And I've got one last question (seeing as I have an expert's attention!)

            My out-of-memory errors seem to have ceased this morning after I eliminated 50 artboards from the file. (I had made many artboards to proof the large graphic as "tiles.") Would eliminated so many artboards really have made a huge difference?

            Thanks ever so much,

            Penelope

            • 3. Re: Preferred method for repetitive objects (linked files vs. symbols)?
              Michael Riordan Community Member

              If you create a vector from a placed image via live trace you'll definitely reduce your file size significantly over the placed original but quality may be an issue. If it's suitable for vectorization, then this is a good solution. making that vector a symbol will also save additional space if the graphic is going to be used multiple times in the file.

               

              If you place a bitmap image multiple times, Illustrator will not significantly increase in size after the first instance is placed, answering your question about how Illustrator loads linked files into memory.

               

              If you embed a bitmap image multiple times, Illustrator does increase in size with each instance.

               

              Haven't experimented with artboards yet to answer your last question, but i hope the above info is useful.

               

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              • 4. Re: Preferred method for repetitive objects (linked files vs. symbols)?
                [Ravi Kiran] Adobe Employee

                >> If you create a vector from a placed image via live trace you'll definitely reduce your file size significantly

                 

                Not necessarily. The file size will depend on the preset/settings you choose for tracing.

                 

                Also, placing multiple copies of the linked image may not necessarily increase the file size. Try this : Place-link a jpg image into Illustrator & save a copy of the file. Now Alt/Opt-drag the image to create multiple instances of the file and save a copy of the file. Compare file sizes. The file size may be smaller in the second case.

                 

                If you have many empty artboards, the file size would be (slightly) larger than a file containing just 1 artboard. But if the artboards contain artwork, then file size will increase.

                • 5. Re: Preferred method for repetitive objects (linked files vs. symbols)?
                  Penelope_Illustrator Community Member

                  Since my 50 arboards were basically tiles of the (very complicated) image, they did contain a lot of artwork. And since I removed all 50 of them from the file this morning, I have been able to save it over and over again and have not received any "out of memory" error messages...

                   

                  The next thing I have to do is put scores of little state and country outline maps all over the image (several copies of several different states and countries). They are already in vector format--and I am wondering whether it would be smart to initially turn them into symbols. Would this be better than just copying the same vector image over and over?

                   

                  Thanks,

                  Penelope