20 Replies Latest reply on Jan 24, 2018 8:16 AM by tomas prannap93964029

    Drop Shadow; Performance

    danldurall Level 1

      Every time I use the drop shadow effect on an object file size spikes and performance dramatically declines.

       

      My main concern here is the drop in performance.

       

      I have had no other performance issues building this large print document and my Mac easily keeps pace and is snappy.  However, when I add the drop shadow, everything bogs down to just above completely frozen.  It takes about 20 minutes just to save the Illustrator file (faster outputting a press quality PDF).  Openning the file takes just as long.  Both processes sap 6 GB of free RAM down to about 10 megs :'( and my Mac never quite recovers until I restart.

       

      Are there performance optimizations hidden somewhere in Illy?  These are found in Photoshop as tiling and cache optimizations that really help when working with small or very large documents.

        • 1. Re: Drop Shadow; Performance
          billef32

          When using the drop shadow effect did you expand the appearance? This expands the effect to a permanent state in which there is no need for illustrator to recalculate the drop shadow effect when processing it. This reduces the needed RAM for saving your work but you wont be able to make any changes to your effect.

          • 2. Re: Drop Shadow; Performance
            danldurall Level 1

            No I didn't.  Didn't know that was even an option.  Thank you, I'll give that shot and see what happens.

            • 3. Re: Drop Shadow; Performance
              billef32 Level 1

              go to obejct-->expand appearance  and see what happens   you still can remove the applied effect without recreating your vector from  eginning - just ungroup and remove shadow. Notice that shadow effects are converted to images.

              • 4. Re: Drop Shadow; Performance
                [scott] Level 6

                What version of AI?

                • 5. Re: Drop Shadow; Performance
                  danldurall Level 1

                  Scott,

                   

                  CS6.

                  • 6. Re: Drop Shadow; Performance
                    CHMprepress Level 3

                    How big is your file?

                    You have a lot of effects on it?

                    I have tested this in a A1 doc with 100 rectangles with the same drop shadow, it slows a bit but is still snappy.

                    • 7. Re: Drop Shadow; Performance
                      danldurall Level 1

                      It's a very big file, About 145" wide and 42" high.  I only have 2 shadow effects applied but they cover an object that runs the length of the document.

                       

                      File size is just under 2 gigs. 

                      • 8. Re: Drop Shadow; Performance
                        danldurall Level 1

                        So, expanding the appearance on smaller documents DOES make a noticeable difference, however, on much larger documents any difference is negligeable.  Regardless, expanding appearance will be a regular practice from now on

                        • 9. Re: Drop Shadow; Performance
                          CHMprepress Level 3

                          I just tried it with a file like you describe, and it slows down a bit but not like you say.

                          • 10. Re: Drop Shadow; Performance
                            danldurall Level 1

                            Then what would you suggest is the issue?

                            • 11. Re: Drop Shadow; Performance
                              John Danek Level 4

                              You might try freeing up some scratch disk space.  What have you selected as scratch disk(s) [ Preferences ]?  I would scale that file down to a more manageable size ( 25% of original, min. ) and have the RIP scale it.

                              • 12. Re: Drop Shadow; Performance
                                CHMprepress Level 3

                                I am afraid that if you are handling hug files like you are doing now, the only thing that can help is upgrading your system with more fiscal RAM.

                                As you know Illustrator CS6 is 64 bit now, so there is almost no limit anymore what RAM is concerned.

                                • 13. Re: Drop Shadow; Performance
                                  danldurall Level 1

                                  I'm running a quad i7 with 8 GB DDR3 RAM but...

                                   

                                  I think the overall size of the document, including the 400+ layers and several large, high res images are all simply bogging my system down to a crawl.  I probably should have gone in at 1/3 or 1/4 scale instead of 1/2. 

                                   

                                  Is there an effective way to reduce the document size, with all layers and such, after the document has been built - without losing any fidelity?

                                  • 14. Re: Drop Shadow; Performance
                                    CHMprepress Level 3

                                    Are your images linked or embedded?

                                    If linked are it native Photoshop files?

                                     

                                    Scaling down your Illustrator file won't help a lot if your images stay the same, and scaling down images is a bad idea for the quality loss you will have if you have to scale up again later.

                                    • 15. Re: Drop Shadow; Performance
                                      danldurall Level 1

                                      Embedded.  I dislike working with linked files (files move a lot and create broken links).  They are .jpg's, not PSDs.  Would linking lighten the load?  If so, would linking a PSD be preferable to linking a .jpg?

                                       

                                      Scaling down your Illustrator file won't help a lot if your images stay the same, and scaling down images is a bad idea for the quality loss you will have if you have to scale up again later.

                                       

                                      Right.  This is why initially went to 1/2 scale, as a compromise between performance and quality.

                                      • 16. Re: Drop Shadow; Performance
                                        CHMprepress Level 3

                                        Try linking the images, and also try it with resaved versions of your images to native photoshop files.

                                        Try both and compare to see what is the best.

                                        • 17. Re: Drop Shadow; Performance
                                          MW Design Level 5

                                          What is (will be) the average viewing distance for this?

                                           

                                          Mike

                                          • 18. Re: Drop Shadow; Performance
                                            danldurall Level 1

                                            Hey Mike,

                                             

                                            Too varied to say with any accuracy.  Will be at a tradeshow, so anywhere from a few hundred feet to right up close and personal.  We have very large messaging and smaller, more detailed messaging for sales managers to use will in conversation. 

                                             

                                            We did use a relatively low res image (that I had to scale up about 300%) last year and it came out ok, with no obvious signs of distortion or artifacts.

                                            • 19. Re: Drop Shadow; Performance
                                              MW Design Level 5

                                              Thanks, Dan.

                                               

                                              I know of no way to scale your present document but to just do it manually. Instead of half-size, I would have done it 1/4 size. I recently did one which was 236" in length at 1/4 size and it was pretty manageable, but likely wasn't as complicated. I did converted several originally vector elements to images, which did help in redraw and save time. And I did it while traveling using a 4-gig memory laptop of very modest specs.

                                               

                                              I wrote a spreadsheet a long time ago that I use for scaling images and to otherwise aid my little brain in scaling. If I am understanding, the 145" is half-scale, so I likely would have used the following parameters:

                                               

                                              capture-000170.png

                                               

                                              Note I set it to a min viewing distance of 6 feet. While people could have walked up closer to the booth, they don't unless they are interested in the printing. I could have gone lower on PPI (the background was 480 ppi I think) the result was great.

                                               

                                              Take care, Mike

                                              • 20. Re: Drop Shadow; Performance
                                                tomas prannap93964029 Level 1

                                                Surely I haven't seen your design, but. Why are you handling 400+ layers in AI !?

                                                 

                                                I think you may be using either the wrong tool, or you are using the right tool, the wrong way - don't get me wrong, I don't mean to be rude (...or mean?) with this.

                                                 

                                                AI can handle MMMMMMAAAAANY objects, all properly arranged within a single layer (...sure, it creates kind of sub-layers, but it manages its performance kinda' like a single layer). The real reason you create extra layers in illustrator is to arganize yourself with the design (...a background.... a layout.... a main photo or photos... and maybe another layer just for guides and self-notes = 4 layers - NOT 400!!!).

                                                 

                                                I think you might be using illustrator (for its easier way to work with vectors) as if you were using Photoshop - which, for IMAGE/pictures purposes, handles maaaaany layers, even for a single "design element". I personally HATE to handle vector complex elements in PS, so whenever something is more complex than.... a square, I use IA to create the vector element, then copy-insert it as a smart object. Remains fully editable and vector-nature (no pixelation when enlarging to MANY METERS big).

                                                 

                                                If in some weird escenario your design really isn't "photoshop focused", for the sake of optimization, you might want to try putting it together as many smart objects in a single PSD file (...or PSB) and Photoshop will let you handle BIIIIG images more smoothly and BIIIIIG effects more smoothly. Still, I'm not aware what your file looks like.

                                                 

                                                BTW I got here looking for a way to optimize a PDF file, with a lot of them shadows. Illustrator handled it well, but I need to create a distributable PDF. When I open it in mobile devices (phones or tablets, android and windows), they suffer to draw the shadows  in a 40+ pages catalog )