I've seen lot of question on the topic of DPI size when doing large print jobs and some about the actual workflow. The problem is that I can't decide how to proceed in my situation:

I have to design a large map/panorama of a ski resort - very similar to this one. Maximum print size will be 2.5m x 1.25m, but it will be used on smaller posters as well (probably down to A4 format).

The problem is that the client also wants to use the work on a website where you will be able to zoom in and he want it to be more detailed than on the picture from the first link. He imagine something like this

To make it even more interesting the map/panorama should be in 2 versions - winter and summer one. Now what is the best workflow in this situation and what tool should I use (Photoshop/Illustrator available for me) to do this in a smart way?

My current approach is that I decided to design only one map (one level of details) in Illustrator in smaller scale using trees as symbols so I can easily modify them all at once (for winter/summer version). The rocks will be the same and changing the color of snow to grass won't be a problem either.

The problem is that the resort is quite large (approx same as on the first linked image) and there are many large forest areas which means I will have possibly few hundreds if not thousands of trees. You can also imagine that there will be quite a lot of other objects. Can Illustrator handle so many vector objects? Also designing such detailed picture in Illustrator is quite slow and would be probably much easier in Photoshop, but is this reasonable in my situation? - the panorama will be viewed from close distance (as seen on example in second link) but also on printed materials of large size.

I'm also thinking that I would do one version for print in Photoshop with fewer details and one detailed one for the website? Or should I do the same with Illustrator? I'm afraid I would do a double work here because in the end I have to do the detailed version no matter what.

Is there any better approach? This is the first time I'm doing on such a large project so thank you very much for your help.

1 Answer 1


I'm not really certain what the question is here.

Yes, you can use Illustrator and yes you can use Photoshop. It all depends upon your preferred working method and desired end results.

Illustrator will be slower the more objects you have. There's no real workaround for that, but utilizing layers and symbols properly will assist (turn off layer visibility for layers you aren't working on.)

There's no "rule" about what app works best for illustrative techniques. It really all depends upon what you feel best with. You could just as easily work on a large image in Photoshop as you can in Illustrator. The only possible benefit beyond preference may be that you could work smaller in Illustrator then enlarge as needed. But even Photoshop handles interpolation of created raster content fairly well.

For my money, using Symbols in Illustrator would be the deal breaker. I can create 5 symbols for trees.. then spread them throughout a piece easily. I could also swap symbols allowing me to place all the trees for summer, then just swap symbols for winter.

  • Thank you for your answer. I've added edit to be more clear. Sorry for not being specific but I'm kind of lost about what tool to pick (I'm really comfortable with both) and how to approach this in the first place.
    – Fallup
    May 24, 2015 at 19:26
  • Hi @Fallup you're really skirting what would be called "tech support" or "Brainstorming" and off topic with the edit. Yes Illustrator can handle thousands of object.. but yes, it will get slower the more objects there are. That has VERY little to do with machine hardware.. it's the nature of Illustrator.
    – Scott
    May 24, 2015 at 19:32
  • Well the thing I wanted to hear is the workflow or how should I approach this kind of project so I would not get to the 30% of the work and realize "Okay I can't do it like this because it is really inefficient".
    – Fallup
    May 24, 2015 at 19:42
  • But inefficiency is completely dependent upon your work. The best I could offer is plan ahead.... create layers (and/or symbols) as independent objects to allow maximum editing. Same as one should do for any project. There's no hard and fast rule about which software package to use. I'd prefer Illustrator.. that doesn't mean you have to use Illustrator.
    – Scott
    May 24, 2015 at 19:52

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