So I am designing an A2 format poster for print... I am much more used to working in Photoshop, so I design almost everything there and just import the .psd to Illustrator afterwards and add text.

What I've noticed however is that when I create exactly the same document size in PS and AI, the zoom is completely different.. for the same size (on screen) in Photoshop it's at 8% zoom and filesize of 120MB. In Illustrator it's at 33% and only 1,5MB.

However when I import the .psd file into AI, it seems to fit perfectly.

Am I missing something here ? What's going on ? Thank you.

2 Answers 2


Take a look at this question:

Svg file size more than a png image

I posted there this image:

But Im not marking this just as a duplicate becouse your question:

Am I missing something here?

Yeap, you are missing some things here. The thing that you are missing is that diferent tools are for diferent things. Yes sometimes we are used to work with a tool that keep us in our comfort zone. But you need to evolve to learn the right tools.

This does not mean that using Photochop for everithing is necesary wrong, as in this case. Yes the file is a lot bigger, no harm done... But the point is that you are probably doing somethings in Photochop that should be doing in another program.

Logos, gradients, plain ilustrations?

We can not know without seeing the specific design, probably the only way to do that design was in a Raster program. I'm just saying: Keep your options open.


zoom is completely different..

That is a variation of the same issue. And that is a strong point that you are missing. What are the diferences on Vector VS. Raster.

  • 8% Photoshop

  • 33% Illustrator

This has not much sense as a comparation, but the technical explanation is this:

In Ilustrator the program scaling the screen view aproximating the phisical size (1) of your monitor (whatever your computer is asumming your monitor measures) vs the Phisical size declared on your document, A2.

In Photoshop the scaling is done based on the resolution declared on your monitor vs. the pixel size on your file, which depends on the resolution you are using in terms of the phisical dimensions you declared...


Ilustrator is thinking something like the

  • "Oh, this computer is displaying arround 96ppi...(1)

  • The file is 59.4cm height

  • I'll use that as my parameter"

Photoshop is saying something more:

  • "Oh, this computer is displaying 1080 px height...

  • The file is 59.4cm height

  • And it is 300ppi

  • I'll use that as my parameter"

A vector file does not need the internal ppi to show it to you.

But the raster file depends on the ppi declared on the file.

(1) Ilustrator does not know the real phisical size of your monitor, in reality your monitor can be missing and the program would not know, but there is a section where you need to configure your programs to tell them how many pixel a real inch measure.

  • 1
    More than this you night have many monitors in different sizes. Which would mean illustrator would need to know size orientation, color profile... Room color and lighting. Time of year and operator mood.
    – joojaa
    Oct 10, 2015 at 20:47
  • "whatever your computer is asumming your monitor measures" That is why I put the (1) note. You need to define and configure the rulers. A lot of people never look at this configuration. And color is not important to see the scale.
    – Rafael
    Oct 10, 2015 at 20:49

Photoshop has resolution, Illustrator doesn't although it can recognize it. That might be why your zoom will always be different in Photoshop, depending on the resolution you use. If your Photoshop file was at 72dpi, you would see it at 100% the same size as the Illustrator file opened at 100%. If the resolution is 300dpi then that Photoshop file will look bigger because it also has more pixels in it!

For the weight difference of your files, it's probably because your Photoshop file is linked in your Illustrator and Illustrator doesn't need to process all the information in the file such as layers and blending effects; the file is not really in the Illustrator, it's simply attached to the document. When you open the same psd in Photoshop, it's normal the file is bigger because Photoshop expands all the information attached to the file. At 120mb, I'm guessing your file isn't flatten; each layers, each mask, each pixel has a weigth, etc. And for the vector content in Illustrator, it's usually very lightweight because technically vectors are like a bunch of mathematical formulas that the software decode for you in a visual way. It's a big shortcut that saves a lot of space.

By the way, you are using the right technique by doing your raster elements in Photoshop and importing it in Illustrator... and keeping your texts and vectors in Illustrator.

  • Thanks! A really good explanation.. In the end, I had to use just Illustrator, as my notebook couldn't handle the large Photoshop file.. and the raster images looked bad anyway. And this was only A2 format... not sure how I would go about designing a billboard ad or something similar :D
    – Mike94
    Oct 11, 2015 at 8:09

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