5 Replies Latest reply on Dec 16, 2009 3:59 AM by Jacob Bugge

    Should I be putting my work into symbols for optimization

    TF22Raptor2 Level 1

      Hi all,

       

      I'm only failry new to Illustrator (3-4 months) and how found that the file I am creating are becoming very sluggish. I'm creating logos and are duplicating them so I might have 30 versions of the logo in one file.

       

      Should I be converting each version of the logo I make into a seperate symbol? I read somehere this might help with rendering the file etc.

       

      Any help would be great

        • 1. Re: Should I be putting my work into symbols for optimization
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

          Yes, symbols draw faster because their internal hierarchy gets flattened. You have to decide how practical that is for you. Also note, that multiple different symbols would again become slower, as each would draw separately. Symbols really mostly pay off if you need to use the same element a million times...

           

          Mylenium

          • 2. Re: Should I be putting my work into symbols for optimization
            TF22Raptor2 Level 1

            Hi Mylenium thanks for the post. I like being able to edit anything at any moment when I am doing this sort of work so I'll put the 30 odd variations of the logo into 30 different symbols and see how I go.

            • 3. Re: Should I be putting my work into symbols for optimization
              JETalmage Level 6

              Any significant performance benefit of using Symbols for 30 instances of your logo depends entirely on the content of the logo. (Proper logos are typically very small.) A Symbol can contain anything from one path to the entire contents of your file.

               

              The performance and economy advantage of Symbols is that the artwork is stored only once in the file. Instances of the Symbol are essentially just location, scale, and transformation references to the stored Symbol. Understand, that does not mean there is no performance hit associated with large numbers of Symbol Instances on the page; all those Instances still have to be rendered to your monitor as you work in the file.

               

              Symbols' main advantages are:

               

              • Editing. When you have 30 Instances of a Symbol on the page, and then decide you need to make a change in that piece of artwork, you can edit the Symbol and all the various Instances update accordingly.
              • Replacing. If your design with 30 Instances of a logo is to serve as a tempate, you can replace all Instances of Logo A with Instances of Logo B in one move.
              • Large Numbers of Repeating Objects. As when using the Symbolism tools or scripts or transform Effects to generate textures or patterns or arrays.
              • Exporting to Flash. A large part of Flash's efficiency stems from its reliance upon its own Symbols. Since Adobe acquired Flash, Adobe added the ability for Illustrator Symbols to be imported into Flash's library. (Do not take this to mean that Symbols that originate in Illustrator are as efficient as those created in Flash. In most cases--as with any other artwork--they are not.)
              • Use as a Library. A marginal advantage, given Illustrator's generally cumbersome treatment of libraries, templates, and startup files.
              • Workarounds For Certain Other Behaviors. For example, live effects (shadows, warps, etc.) applied within a Symbol transform with the Instances.

               

              So back to your question: Yes, I would use Symbols for your 30 or so repeats of your logo. But unless your logo is far less efficient than most anything I would call a logo, I would not attribute your performance problem to your having not done so. Your performance problem may very well lie elsewhere.

               

              There are many things that slow Illustrator down as a file becomes more complex. Chief among those is overuse of live effects, especially those involving on-the-fly rasterization. (I'm not a programmer, but I nonetheless suspect this due to such features having been "tacked onto" Illustrator over the years, as opposed to having been designed-in at the core. Compare to programs like Xara Xtreme; its on-the-fly rasterization of feathering and transparency is its main claim-to-fame, and it veritably flies through that stuff compared to Illustrator. )

               

              Plus, Illustrator is overall a very sluggish program anyway, compared to all its long-time direct competitors (FreeHand, Corel Draw, Deneba Canvas). Text handling is painfully slow. And it's not been without its bugs, either, which can dramatically impact performance.

               

              JET

              • 4. Re: Should I be putting my work into symbols for optimization
                TF22Raptor2 Level 1

                Thats for the help guys, I'veput it all into symbols, but now for some reason the program has decided to only show the path outlines at the main root content view. If I double click a symbol it renders it fully.

                Ever since I got some silly error with no real meaningful explaination and I saved its started doing this. The file size is getting up around 40megs.

                • 5. Re: Should I be putting my work into symbols for optimization
                  Jacob Bugge MVP & Adobe Community Professional

                  Raptor,

                   

                  Adding to the first aspect of what James said, Symbols only reduce the file size if there are multiple instances of each Symbol: if you have one instance of each of the 30 different logo versions, nothing is gained; if you have more then one, then turning that/those into (a) Symbol(s) will reduce the file size.

                   

                  ... I'veput it all into symbols, but now for some reason the program has decided to only show the path outlines at the main root content view. If I double click a symbol it renders it fully.

                   

                  Still being with 10, I am not sure about later versions, but have you checked whether the file has View>Outline?

                   

                  ... I'veput it all into symbols, but now for some reason the program has decided to only show the path outlines at the main root content view. If I double click a symbol it renders it fully.


                  Ever since I got some silly error with no real meaningful explaination and I saved its started doing this. The file size is getting up around 40megs.

                   

                  Those out together might imply a preference corruption; you may try to Ctrl+Al+Shift/Cmd+Option+Shift during startup or Move the folder