I am working in Illustrator and would like to export vector objects as a .pdf. These vector objects are overlapping one another in some areas. This creates a problem when I open the .pdf, it seems to load the bottom objects first before the top objects (See image below). I would like to some how create a "flat .pdf" so everything loads at once. I need the PDF to display in vector, a pixel based .pdf will not work for my project.

enter image description here

enter image description here

I include a link to a .pdf to test, https://adobe.ly/2v90Ikg

  • 1
    Hi driverpizza, check if from the Layers Panel Menu > Flatten Artwork help to get a quality PDF. Duplicate the file if necessary. – user120647 Jul 26 '18 at 19:15
  • @Danielillo Unfortunately that did not work... – driverpizza Jul 26 '18 at 19:21
  • The problem is not the AI layers, is the .pdf loading. Maybe you should check different .pdf options to change this. How big the .pdf is and how big your final work must be? – user120647 Jul 26 '18 at 19:25
  • I've tried a few options for exporting as pdf without layers and flattening layers in acrobat, but for some reason it still treats the objects the same. – driverpizza Jul 26 '18 at 19:29
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    @Danielillo - yes that one works. – Billy Kerr Jul 27 '18 at 16:44

There is no solution to this problem! There are 3 reasons for this.

  1. The data in the PDF is written bottom object up.

    Yes they have to be separate objects otherwise thy cant have different colors. grouping wont help they still are separate inside the group.

  2. The rasterizer that produces the image i essentially using painters algorithm to solve the issue. It really has to draw back to front. But even if it wasn't the AA would still need to sort each fragment. So even if the renderer wasn't showing you the effect halfway that is still what it would be doing.

  3. You have no control over the setup of you users PDF viewer, if the viewer opts to refresh drawing on screen even unfinished that's it. There is no instruction in PDF format specs for instructing PDF to do anything else.

    So how it works is entirely up to the software that renders the PDF. PDF.js definitely does this refreshing.

  • Although , came to think of it. if you put all your data inside a clipping mask then it could force some renderers to cache the entire thing. by no means bulletproof but worth a try. – joojaa Jul 27 '18 at 20:39

Please make a copy of the file before continuing.

Object > Flatten Transparency... can help merge these layers together but it is very difficult to edit the file afterward. Backing up the original would be recommended.

Use the High Resolution preset for the best quality.

transparency flattener

All the elements are now merged to one layer as one object.

all elements in one layer

  • After trying your answer, it also does not offer the solution to the problem. I think the solution, if it exists, is much more complex. Some internet forums offer to remove all Acrobat plugins to have a faster loading, but I don't think it is viable to ask whoever sees your .pdf to modify their application before opening the file. – user120647 Jul 27 '18 at 8:31
  • This still does not work, the pdf wants to load the bottom objects first still. – driverpizza Jul 27 '18 at 13:16
  • Just curious: what is the intended use of this illustration that it needs to remain in vector format? I don't know that you ever shared that. – ksho Jul 27 '18 at 17:34

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