they contain 3 pictures each as well as a background photo. Some of the files reach 200 or 300MB each.
By "pictures" and "photo", I assume you mean four raster images in a single Illusrator document. But you say nothing about their dimensions, ppi, color mode or color depth.
There are many things that affect the size of an Illustrator file; but it's not clear whether you are concerned about the size of AI file or a PDF.
By default, Illustrator stores two complete copies of the content in its file: One as native Illustrator content, the other as PDF content. So that alone effectively doubles the file size. You can turn that behavior on or off in the Save As dialogs.
There are many settings available in the dialog when you save as a PDF. There are several presets which you can select and customize.
How do you make a AI file into a PDF that can easily be downloaded from the internet?
There are many factors. Two biggies are:
Don't include the unnecessary content as native Illustrator objects. Turn off the Retain Illustrator Editability option.
Downsample raster images. If the PDF is intended for on-screen viewing only, you need no more than monitor resolution.
How can I reduce the size of the files without losing on quality?
Depends on what you mean by "quality." A PDF intended only for onscreen viewing and web distribution is of sub-par quality if it contains oversampled raster images (images of inappropriate resolution for onscreen viewing and web distribution). A PDF intended for offset printing is of sub-par quality if it contains undersampled images, only appropriate for onscreen viewing and web distribution.
If you are asking how to reduce a PDF to the file size of a quality one built for on-screen viewing, when in fact it is a quality one built for high-res printing, you can't--at least not if it contains raster images. (You often can, if the file contains only vector artwork.)
-Files that are created by AI, are they press-ready artwork?
The question is too general. It depends entirely on how they are built. For example, an AI document saved in RGB color mode is not generally considered press-ready. On the other end of the general vs. specific spectrum, nor is one that contains overprinting white objects. There's a whole world of things to consider when designing for print, and any of them can render the file "not press-ready."
We might need to know a little more information on this topic:
1. What size is your page?
2. What are the file sizes of each of your images? What is the file size of the background image?
3. If you are printing letter-size output, your resolution for the images don't really have to be larger than 300dpi, though there are printers that print larger than 300dpi resolution but I've never seen the visible difference (I am not that experienced with printing on offset, but with photocopiers the resolution of 300 or at most 600dpi is fine--1200dpi takes too long to send to the printer in my experience)
4. What are the steps you are taking to export to PDF from AI
Also to answer your question, most printers deal with PDF or EPS formats. They might not have a copy of AI software to print from. Plus, Acrobat has tons of output options that I am not sure exist in AI.
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If you are printing letter-size output
The size of the page has nothing to do with what resolution the raster images need to be.
your resolution for the images don't really have to be larger than 300dpi
The rule-of-thumb is "one-to-two-times the halftone screen ruling." This assumes two things:
- The raster image is continuous-tone.
- It is going to be printed using conventional AM halftone screening (as opposed to stochastic or FM screening, which generally requires lower ppi).
The too-much-ballyhooed "300 ppi" is a corruption of the rule-of-thumb. It is merely the upper end of the RANGE indicated by the rule-of-thumb when applied to an assumed halftone screen ruling of 150 lpi.
though there are printers that print larger than 300dpi resolution but I've never seen the visible difference.
Assuming the common 150 lpi haltone, you would also be hard-pressed to see a difference between a properly sharpened 225 ppi image and a 300 ppi image. In fact, it's conceivable that the 300 ppi image would be subtly blurrier.
600dpi is fine--1200dpi takes too long to send to the printer in my experience)
You can't go about stating this kind of stuff without parameters! Doing so perpetuates error and misleads beginners.
If you're talking about continuous-tone color reproduced as a conventional halftone, 600ppi is ridiculous overkill. If you're talking about line art rasterized to a 1-bit image, 1200ppi is not at all unreasonable, and does not take an inordinate time to send to the printer.
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I'd recommend to create 2 copies of the document - one for web and one for
printing. The one for web should be rgb (smaller size) and about 72ppi effecti
ve resolution. I think it is very important to mention effective resolution. Lets imagine that you start with a5 size photo which is 300dpi and then scale it down to a6. - The effective resolution is 600 ppi resulting in huge file size which doesn't in any way contribute to the quality. I'd recommend once you know what size your photo will be in the final document prepare it in photoshop to this size, once in rgb, 72 ppi for web, once in cmyk about 300 dpi for printing. I do believe that for most pictures 300 dpi is still very sensible option, and wouldn't advice to go any lower without seeing the pictures.
Illustrator files are no by any means print ready - I'd say far from print ready. one simple reason is also that illustrator isn't designed to create multipage documents - you should be using In design for it.
Anyway, once the pdf is ready if you use pdf optimizer with as low options as you can - it should bring it down to reasonable size.
Size wouldn't be a reason for the images to go grayscale, only your settings.
Thank you very much for your answers.
There are many questions in your posts that I am unable to answer. I think I'm starting to realise that this needs to be done by a professional with sufficient experitise knowledge.
It seems that I got it wrong from the start as I should have been using In Design rather than AI. In addition to that I am not sure how to check the ppi (dpi or lpi), colour depth, mode, etc.
Basically the project was to create a print brochure with a folder (215 x 305 mm) and inserts (A4).
Each insert has a background image (clipped to match the A4 page size) and 3 smaller images (1 being 43 x 65mm and 2 being 43 x 29mm) on the page (i.e. 4 images per insert in total).
I suspected that printers would require a PDF version (rather than AI) but the size of the PDF seemed way too big hence I was wondering where I was going wrong. The brochure would then have been available for download on the web.
It's fairly easy to determine the resolution of the images (dpi) if you still have them on your computer as individual files before you embedded them into the AI file. To do this in Windows you can simply open a Windows Explorer window and right-click while in the details view on the tab-bar where the filename tab is located but in an empty space on this tab and then choose More...>Dimensions. This works if the image is a filetype recognizable natively by Windows such as JPG or BMP and on some systems TIFF. If not, then open the image using Photoshop and go to the Edit>Image Size menu and a dialog box will come up where you can see the current resolution with option to change it to a higher (though the quality will not change) or lower resolution. [You can not up-sample an image and achieve greater clarity, but you can down-sample it from let's say 300dpi to 72dpi, reducing the file size dramatically in the event you will be using the image exclusively for the web--Down-sampling will reduce the quality of your image, however].
- How can I reduce the size of the files without losing on quality? How do you make a AI file into a PDF that can easily be downloaded from the internet?
Without trying to confuse you any further, here's a straight answer: Don't worry about quality, PPI or any of that when offering PDFs for download. Here's why:
- Vector elements wil lstay sharp regardless of what resolution you specify
- Most of these PDFs will probably never be printed, only viewed on the computer
- When they are printed, this wil lbe on office laser printers or home ink jet printers. In the first case, bitmap quality is dictated by the printers fixed raster, which under normal circumstances in "Draft" or "Standard" modes is low (60 LPI) and in the second case the user will probably not print the BG to begin with to save ink.
When you consider all that, many of the previous comments become moot. still, of course feel free to try the best file you can get, but as mentioned by someoen already, work on the assumption that you will need 2 versions - one for web with 72 dpi images, another for high quality printing. if you can, also change your design strategy. Having full format background images anturally makes for "fat" files. For the online version, a lot of space could potentially be saved by using one BG image all the way or no BG at all. If the so-called BG image actually holds all the relevant info baked into pixels, request the original sources and embed the relevant elements only, not a rasterized full page.
You can do several things to reduce the file size whether you use AI or ID one in AI you can turn of Preserve Illustrators Editing when saving as a pdf and use optimize for fast web viewing turn off layers from top AI level and embed thumbnails then if you wan it to be used to download on the web and they are printing it from a laser or inkjet printer then you can go to the compression tab f the pdf save options dialogue and have anything over 225 ppi resampled to 150 ppi.
The one you send to the printer you do not want to send with a resampling of less than 300 ppi so I would then sset the compression to one Bicubic and then any thing above 300 ppi to resampled to 300 ppi.
Then finally open the pdf in Acrobat, to acrobat reader, and go to Documents>Reduce File Size that can greatly reduce the fie size all in itself.
So I got an 8.8 MB file down to 186 kb that is significant. Especially on a 300MB file.
As far as sending the files there is nothing wrong with placing a 300MB file on a remote server for download at 300MBs yu can also purchse an ftp or an online service like You Send it for send the files.
Also bypanther75 that link is not actually allowed on the forum if yo wish to promote a web site you can do so by placing your url on your profile space which is not only allowed but is encouraged.
Otherwise we would be filled with users only wanting to promote themselves and they usually corrupt most threads.