TL;DR https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQK1BNNABx4&ab_channel=KrisClarke

I'm trying to create a flyer, I usually create them in Illustrator but all of a sudden I realize Illustrator has been shrinking my images. I don't think it has ever done this before. I would either open an image and copy it onto another window or simply use place. Now an image of 5300x3500 becomes something like 1700/1200 or something like that.

However, in photoshop, it all opens regularly.

  • Resolution/PPI -- why are you using pixels for dimensions for a flier? I assume that "flier" means it will be printed.. so why aren't you sing physical dimensions for the document setup? If you want an 8.5x11" or A4 flier, why aren't you merely setting up a document that size?
    – Scott
    Commented Mar 6, 2021 at 20:44
  • @Scott Hey Scott, it's an instagram ad. So it'll be 1080x1080. So when I try to place or open -> copy and paste onto my 1080x1080 artboard, the shuttershock image which is originally 5300x3500, is downsized drastically and doesn't even fit on the artboard (too small) Commented Mar 6, 2021 at 21:26
  • Times have changed :) in my world "flier" means nothing regarding any online usage... an "online ad" would never be referenced as a "flier"... one is merely an image, the other is an image which must adhere to printing restrictions.... but.. well.. things evolve I guess :)
    – Scott
    Commented Mar 7, 2021 at 6:28

1 Answer 1


Squish-squash (Scale)

A raster image inside a vector-based program has a squishy-squashy size. The file will have the same 5300x3500px, but you can shrink it or enlarge it. It will retain the same 5300x3500 pixels regardless of this.

The point that can determine the initial size is the declared resolution. If your image has a declared resolution of 300 PPI it will fit that 5300 px in 17.66 inches. If it has a declared resolution of let's say 100 it will fit those exact same 5300px in 53 inches, making you think the image is bigger.

The internal pixel size will not change.

The main unit in a vector-based program is physical units, inches, cm or mm.

You need to differentiate some other processes.


This is a process to actually change the pixel dimension of an image.

Let's say you are using an image just for a thumbnail. You do not need it big, a small one, not in apparent size, but actually with fewer pixels, is needed. Then the process you need is resampling it.


This is just a process to view an image. It will not change the pixels of an image, it will not change also the size compared to your document. It is just a way to view it bigger or smaller on your screen.

So the image is fine regardless of whether or not I scale it up or down?

Using tools like the "Free transformation tool" will only change the size in relation to your document. The pixel count of the image will stay the same.

  • Thanks for replying. So the image is fine regardless of whether or not I scale it up or down? I'm a little slow when it comes to the math/ppi part of designing Commented Mar 6, 2021 at 23:01
  • I edited the post. I hope it becomes clearer.
    – Rafael
    Commented Mar 7, 2021 at 1:25
  • Yeah it's a bit clearer now. So how could I work around the process. It works fine in Photoshop, although I'm not a fan of text in photoshop, can I resample the image to put it back to the regular 5300x3500? WHen it's imported? Sorry if Im a bit slow Commented Mar 7, 2021 at 2:33
  • No. You do not need to do that. An image of 5300x3500px will stay 5300x3500px inside a vector program.
    – Rafael
    Commented Mar 7, 2021 at 11:47
  • @KrisClarke. A pixel has no physical size, it can be arbitrarily sized. When you describe a page you get into the peculiar situation that you can have several different pixel sizes. The pixel unit in illustrator is always 72 PPI so it would never match pixels of any other resolution. It is best that you do not ever use pixels as units for something that gets printed
    – joojaa
    Commented Mar 7, 2021 at 12:48

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