I've edited some images in Photoshop to be used in a .pdf I'm creating in Illustrator. In PS, the images looked great and were saved with the following settings: .jpg/CMYK/Image Options: 10/Maximum. I "placed" them into the Illustrator file, everything still looked great, but when I exported the whole file as .pdf, the images came out slightly blurry. I've used standard, High Quality Print, and Press Quality settings- didn't notice much of a difference between them.

Any ideas on how to have crisp, clean images in the .pdf?

image from 100% pdf in Acrobat

  • What is the pixel resolution of the image, and what dimensions (if you can tell me in inches that'd be great) are the image occupying in Illustrator? – Brendan Sep 29 '12 at 21:33
  • Resolution is 300 dpi for all three images, all 170x100 pixels which is also the size they are being used at in Illustrator. I also tried saving the images 2x and 3x the size, noticed no changes. – AMC Sep 29 '12 at 21:44
  • Okay, just didn't want to assume anything. Sometimes when you export to JPEG it changes the DPI to 72 and then when you place it in Illustrator the image is bigger than it should be. – Brendan Sep 29 '12 at 21:48
  • Did you try a format other than JPEG? How does a placed PSD of the original look? – Brendan Sep 29 '12 at 21:48
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    Also, did the images in the final PDF look blurry on screen or on paper? I've had troubles before with getting images to look good in Acrobat just because you can make it perfect at 100% then the user opens up at 132%, y'know? – Brendan Sep 29 '12 at 21:52

171x100 pixels gives you an image that is slightly more than 1/2 inch wide at 300 pixels per inch. I'm taking a guess that this is not the size you specified in the Illustrator document, which is why your output was pixellated, and when you worked in inches inside Photoshop you then got a correct result in Illustrator.

A 2 inch image at 300 ppi is 600 pixels wide (600/300 = 2). Any time you are sizing an image to place in a print layout, the important numbers are inches or cm at the output dpi. Unless you can do the arithmetic in your head easily and accurately, it's safest to work in linear units in Photoshop rather than pixels.

  • Yep, that's what I figured out(see above). Thanks for validating, though. – AMC Sep 30 '12 at 16:58

The image that you saved is jpg which is a raster based file. Illustrator is a vector program. So if you were to place a jpg within Illustrator it will be blurry because it is a rasterized image (pixelated). Save your image in Photoshop as a .tiff file and place it in Illustrator. That should solve your problem.

  • Thanks for the input. I tried placing .tiff files, results were the same. I can't help but think that the fact that the images are being placed into Illustrator as maybe 25% of normal size has something to do with this, I'm just not sure what.. – AMC Sep 29 '12 at 22:03
  • This makes no sense. JPEG and TIFF are both bitmap images. – Marc Edwards Sep 30 '12 at 1:22

Try saving it a .psd file and then place it into Illustrator

  • Yep, tried that already; same results. – AMC Sep 29 '12 at 22:13

Turns out, I was right with my initial concern with the images placing so small within Illustrator. Working with the images in pixels in Photoshop didn't scale right in Illustrator; I remade the images in Photoshop using inches- problem solved.


I found this thread trying to solve the same problem for myself but ended up figuring it out without having to resize anything in photoshop. Just make sure your export settings for PDF are on high quality print. I had no idea my setting were set to smallest file size. Hope this helps someone, v easy fix. enter image description here

enter image description here


Change the image DPI to 300.I had the same problem, when viewed in illustrator it looks fine, but when printed the image was blurry. Try altering the DPI, and the image should be crisp and smooth.

I hope its work for you.

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