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I have four TIFF images each ~20Mb (around 75000px by 45000 px). I want to import all four in Illustrator, color them in CMYK (weird that Illustrator shows they are around 800px by 500px) then press on transparency, Multiply.

However, the file size given by Illustrator is 1.7GB and I cannot print them because Illustrator keeps crashing.

Any idea how I can reduce the TIFF files so I can do things in Illustrator and print without crashing? Maybe there is another technique?

  • When you save your AI file, switch off "PDF compatible file". Leaving it on makes the file size balloon. – Billy Kerr Jun 13 '18 at 7:34
  • nice , do you think a 60mbs file will print ? – Sara Kat Jun 13 '18 at 7:39
  • Try it and see. If not you could save it as a PDF, choose the High Quality Print preset, and switch off "preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities". Just make sure you also save your AI file if you want to edit in future. – Billy Kerr Jun 13 '18 at 7:50
  • I did that , the pdf was 60mbs too and is very slow to load – Sara Kat Jun 13 '18 at 7:51
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    I think I would in this case resize the images to the output size (print size in this case) before placing them in AI. — If I needed the images to be like the size of a postage stamp I would resize them to that size or perhaps like 1.5x or 2x the output size in case I change my mind and want a bigger postage stamp, that way I can just make it slightly bigger in AI and not worry that I'm losing quality. – Joonas Jun 13 '18 at 11:13
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When you save your AI file, switch off "PDF compatible file". Leaving it on makes the file size balloon. Basically if you leave that option switched on, Illustrator saves the AI file with a PDF embedded, doubling up on the images, hence the file size becomes huge.

Try printing it. If it's still too big you could save it as a PDF, choose the High Quality Print preset, and switch off "preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities". Just make sure you also save your AI file if you want to edit in future.

When saving as PDF you can also add compression, and downsampling, assuming the TIFF file has already been set with a PPI and print dimensions.

For example, you could set it up as follows:

enter image description here

In fact you could probably get away with resampling to 200ppi, and use Image Quality: Medium

  • when I make it JPEG i loose the effect of dots that I want – Sara Kat Jun 13 '18 at 13:18
  • I believe what I have is called halftone image that looks like little dots when zoomed on . However, it kinda becomes square shape when I do as in the image attached – Sara Kat Jun 13 '18 at 13:24
  • @SaraKat - did you add the halftone effect to that huge image? That's probably not a good idea. It would be better to rescale the image in Photoshop to the actual size required before applying such effects. Also, depending on the print technology used, it might not look good when printed. – Billy Kerr Jun 13 '18 at 16:25
  • There is a program (rip) that will output the halftone images tiff in black color separated . What I am doing is taking them to illustrator and recoloring them . I adjust them one on top of the other and finally press of transparency multiply to kind of blend them. I end up with a huge file . Your method helped half way . Now I have a pdf of 60 mbs but it's still huge . Trying anything else (such as what is shown in the screenshot) makes the dots of haltone disappear and replace them by squares instead – Sara Kat Jun 13 '18 at 18:12
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AI files can get heavy quite quickly when using linked assets. What I would try is:

  • Do not embed the links, and
  • Flatten the TIFF's as copies and link those, or
  • Save them as flattened PSD or even JPG, and especially
  • Use InDesign to link large files and create a composition for print. InDesign handles links better and the source file will not inflate like AI files do.
  • I am very unfamiliar with flatten , can I have some more advice about it please? – Sara Kat Jun 13 '18 at 7:43
  • That means open the TIFFs in Photoshop and go to Layer → Flatten Image (assuming they are not already flattened). – Lucian Jun 13 '18 at 7:45

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