Why is it that when I export an image in illustrator that is supposed to be 1500x500 it exports as 6520x2394 or some weird size and the image has no visible whitespace

I DONT WANT TO US THE SAVE FOR WEB. I am making a twitter header and it makes quality bad unless I am doing it wrong...

  • I am using Illustrator by the way
    – Meno
    Oct 31 '17 at 17:42
  • There are more options if you can use Photoshop to open your Illustrator file.
    – ispaany
    Oct 31 '17 at 19:00

Legacy. Very long story short (it is still very long):

  • A pixel has no size
  • Illustrator has no resultion metric, nada its a page description language it dont need it.
  • Thus you can not actually create pixel dimension drawings in illustrator, see pixels have no size. Now there is 2 ways to deal with this issue. Both of them make sense but both make no sense to people who dont really understand what DPI/PPI values are:

    1. You just define pixel a pixel to be arbitrary sized. This is the solution illustrator uses. Now in a time honored fashion you are free to choose that size. So you choose something simple like one unit equals a pixel. Well damn thats 72 dpi. Which incidentally is adobes way of saying i dont care.

    2. Define a conversion value for each document. But yes that works in Photoshop where one pixel is one pixel. But in illustrator a image element has no pixel size. So its perfectly possible to have many images with different resolutions in the same file. So you'd end up with double bookkeeping, which would be even more confusing.

So if you want 1500 pixels by 1500 pixels, and have used illustrator pixel unit, you export at 72 dpi.

Now as to why the quality of illustrators export is not as good as in your monster image. Well, quite frankly Adobe isn't really very proactive when it comes to developing their tools. So they aren't using the best possible algorithm for anti aliasing their images. They are using a better one for the hardware accelerated screen, but you can not save using that algorithm to file.

Illustrator gives you 3 choices:

enter image description here

No Antialiasiation, which is obviously not good

enter image description here

Hinted AA (basically the way font work), which generally is too sharp

enter image description here

Art optimized, which is essentially quite good, it does a oversize render and box filtering. But obviously box filtering is not as good as you can get. But in addition adobe does not do color correct filtering.

We can do better naturally, personally i like using a lanczos filter. But this isnt really a done deal as people prefer different kinds of AA, and different kinds of AA on different devices. But here goes:

enter image description here

But your mileage may wary. Color correct aa tends to make lines thinner so its harder to design and no pixel preview makes it not so easy to use. That and having to do the filtering externally.

The reason you see the higer res image as looking better is that people making use of hardware acceleration usually get filtering right because hardware accelerator vendors have spent lot of money on this (read hundreds of millions). Since its unlikely that your image can fit your screen. Nothing to do with you DPI setting. Just doing different AA.


I don't know what software you are using but if you want your image to remain 1500x500px when you export it (I don't know why but I have a feeling this is your issue so I'll go on a wild guess), make sure the resolution is set to 72 Pixel/Inch.

There you have it, a 1500x500px image.

  • Illustrator is what im using
    – Meno
    Oct 31 '17 at 17:42
  • @Meno doesn't matter, make sure you are exporting at 72 ppi. It almost sounds like you have it set to 300 ppi
    – Alin
    Oct 31 '17 at 17:45
  • LOL how did you know and why does it look clearer on 300ppi but "ok" on 72 ppi
    – Meno
    Oct 31 '17 at 17:49
  • @Meno Image resolution is a big chapter in design, you should really look into it :))
    – Alin
    Oct 31 '17 at 17:50
  • @Meno beacues it has more pixels, and adobes AA strategy sucks ass
    – joojaa
    Oct 31 '17 at 17:52

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