"the combination of artwork size and resolution exceeds the maximum that can be rasterized". Have you ever gotten this error message?
After running into this problem constantly and getting support from you great guys, i think i understand why i keep getting this error.
As you all said, Ai is a 32 bit program and as such can run out of usable memory quickly, not by creating a lot of vector objects, but by having too much memory sucked up by raster objects. This is not a problem when raster object are "linked" but when they are embeded.
It appears the problem occures when you ask Ai to either convert vector objects to raster or create raster objects like shadows. Even if you have a linked raster object - say - a photo, and you want to create a shadow underneath it, Ai will embed the raster shadow as apposed to creating a linked shadow object associated with the object you want to create the shadow for.
Soooo, the larger the linked raster object is (that you want to create a shadow under) the larger the embeded shadow object is. If your creating shadows for small objects, you won't run out of memory very quickly. But if you have big objects you want to create shadows for, you will run out of Ai's allocated memory with just a few objects.
As far as i know, you can't tell Ai to link internally created raster objects like shadows. So this is where all of the alternative suggestions come into play such as:
1. reducing Ai's Raster Effects ppi setting (may or may not help depending on how far your over Ai's allocated memory limit)
2. linking raster shadows created in photoshop
3. creating wire mesh gradient vector objects to use as shadows
Until Ai becomes 64bit, I hope this helps others.
BTW, has anyone printed Ai shadows at a Raster Effects setting of 72 or 150ppi for a large object?
Does the shadow still look good?