I am used to downloading realistic, complex vectors from Shutterstock to edit and use in compositons. The files are not necessarily large in terms of drive size (8Mb or so), but some of them are so complex, with so many gradients and textures that when I open them on Illustrator, they lag so hard that I have to force close Illustrator and work with the files in outline mode, if anything.

But I doubt this is a hardware problem, as the computer that I use is actually very good for hardware extensive tasks, such as heavy video editing and particle rendering, and I don't understand how an 8mb file can be so hard for my computer to process.

My question is: Should I try working with these "heavy" files using a lighter program, such as Corel Draw, for example? Would it be worth the try (I have no experience with Corel Draw, btw)?

  • I doubt it would end well. Most of those EPS files are Illustrator EPS files, so Corel won't honor many of the effects properly.
    – 13ruce
    Mar 13, 2019 at 20:33
  • EPS in theory "drops" the effects, to maximize compatibility. So, that would not be an issue. Newer versions of Corel handle Eps files pretty decently. But I would use native AI files instead of Eps, for the same reason.
    – Rafael
    Mar 13, 2019 at 21:13
  • As a Corel User, you will run into more problems with these types of EPS files. If they are not opening in their native program, Corel would not fair any better.
    – Aasim Azam
    Apr 17, 2019 at 12:34

1 Answer 1


Depends a lot on a range of issues:

1) sheer vector data density - if it's a truly huge number of points and vectors, Illustrator will bog down.

2) some of the the specific effects applied to given layers - some of the rasterized effects can cause huge loads.

3) worth checking whether your Illustrator is running in GPU preview or CPU.

4) also look at how much RAM and VRAM you have available versus what the file calls for once Illustrator has completely opened it (sometimes they take way more than you think they will) for editing.

I will add that the original reason I myself switched away from a primarily Adobe Illustrator toolpipe for architectural illustrations (especially site plans) to Affinity Designer for the same work type was exactly this issue.

I found that I could open a particular super-large illustrative siteplan file (for a sustainable farm and residence and restaurant) in Illustrator, on the machine which had been used to create the file, and it would take ~ 10 minutes to open. The designer working on it worked in outline mode all the time, only going to full preview to check correctness of appearances with most layers turned off. Even then, panning and zooming was both slow and glitchy, and saves were on the order of 30 minutes. In her case, doubling the machines RAM made her able to at least get successful saves.

I opened the same Illustrator file in Affinity Designer on a laptop with half the available RAM as her initial configuration, and was live panning and zooming all over the file with all layers on and all effects doing their thing - that for me was a pivotal moment.

Given I had 15+ years of development and investment in my various Illustrator assets and libraries, it was not a trivial decision - but, again, this was the primary issue which pushed me to look more closely.

This is a quick screencap from the final results of the file I mentioned above, which was for a master planning exercise done by Mogavero Architects for Soil Born Farms - back when I was their IT Manager and general BIM and graphics coach: I helped the designer who working on this in her struggles with this monster .ai file (she has since become a licensed Architect and is absolutely brilliant at sustainable design, energy analysis and a whole host of other highly technical things) but this Illustrator file provided her endless frustrations for 8 months as the design iterated.

enter image description here

  • 1
    One would think this would be top priority for Adobe. but unfortunately it doesn't appear to be, ever.AI's sluggishness with complexity been an issue since the AI10 port.
    – Scott
    Mar 13, 2019 at 18:20
  • I also recall that back then, AI 10 was about 300% more crash-prone than AI 8 had been... THAT at least has improved markedly. Mar 13, 2019 at 18:30

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