Blurry bitmapped images in PDF

New Here ,
Apr 02, 2022 Apr 02, 2022

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I have created a multi-page document that is a combination of vector and raster images (photos). The photos are all high res (300 dpi) and look sharp in Illustrator, but when I create a PDF—even without compress and at default settings—the images are all soft.

 

Any idea what's going on? Ultimately, I want the images to be sharp and the file size to be much smaller, they're intended to be used in a projected presentation.

 

I really appreciate any advice anyone can give, I am needing to get this off to the client tomorrow.

Thank you.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 02, 2022 Apr 02, 2022

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What are your exact PDF export settings? Are you using a particular preset?

(maybe show a screen grab)

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New Here ,
Apr 03, 2022 Apr 03, 2022

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Here are my settings. Everything appears to be set to default and my file size is huge (980 mb).

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 03, 2022 Apr 03, 2022

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A couple of things first:

One: If you are prepraring a PDF for others to use, but do not need to send them it in a form that they can reopen in Illustrator, UNCHECK Preserve Illustrator Editing Capabilities. Otherwise, you are including the full Illustrator file, ALONG WITH THE PDF side, which can make the file unncesessarily large, especially if your images are embedded.

Two: Your compression settings are probably, again, unncessarily high quality. When Do Not Downsample is checked, the image at it's full resolution is being inckuded. ZIP compression, although lossless, is not very effective on photographic images.

So, bnack to your actuall issue:

Have you tried using one of the other presets: for instance the "best" is PDF/X-4. or even High Quality Print. and see what the result is.

Since, you say they are using it for presentation, if by that you mean they are putting it up on a screen like a powerpoint presenation, the 300 dpi in either of those presents is more than enough.

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New Here ,
Apr 03, 2022 Apr 03, 2022

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I'll give all of that a shot, thanks!

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 03, 2022 Apr 03, 2022

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What do you see when you duplicate the .ai file, rename the .ai extension into .pdf and open that in Acrobat (I assume that you are using Acrobat to view the PDF)?

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New Here ,
Apr 03, 2022 Apr 03, 2022

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I got the exact same result when I duplicated and changed the extension.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 03, 2022 Apr 03, 2022

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Your export settings shoulsd not change the resolution.

How do you view the PDF? Do you import it into an app that modifies it?

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New Here ,
Apr 03, 2022 Apr 03, 2022

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I'm just clicking on it to open it up in Acrobat by default.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 03, 2022 Apr 03, 2022

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300 ppi is the effective resolution?

 

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New Here ,
Apr 03, 2022 Apr 03, 2022

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It is probably high as they are mainly using it for a digital presentation, but they may also print it out for attendees so I am erring on that side.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 03, 2022 Apr 03, 2022

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You can check the exact effective resolution in Illustrator. Please do so.

 

 

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New Here ,
Apr 03, 2022 Apr 03, 2022

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Sorry, but how do I do that?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 03, 2022 Apr 03, 2022

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Select the image and then you'll see the effective resolution in the control panel.

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New Here ,
Apr 03, 2022 Apr 03, 2022

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When I export as a 300 dpi jpeg it looks pretty good (some jpeg artifacts, but not bad) so the images appear to be getting compressed when converting to a PDF.

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New Here ,
Apr 03, 2022 Apr 03, 2022

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So, I just did a little test/work around and made JPEGs (300 dpi which seems like overkill) of all of the artboards and then placed them into a new Illustrator document and made a PDF (with default settings) and it looked a lot better so I'm still confused.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 03, 2022 Apr 03, 2022

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Please can you tell us the effective resolution of your images in the initial layout?

 

Without having your actual AI file and the images this is getting impossible to solve.

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New Here ,
Apr 03, 2022 Apr 03, 2022

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There are a lot of images and the all vary a bit, but I have tried to have most of them at 300 dpi.

Sorry, I know it is difficult working on this blind.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 03, 2022 Apr 03, 2022

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Can you share an example Illustrator file? You can use the File > Package option to collect the file and images.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 03, 2022 Apr 03, 2022

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There is also a setting in Acrobat Preferences > Page Display > Smooth Images, that makes quite a difference in the display of small details. You could try if that makes a difference.

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New Here ,
Apr 03, 2022 Apr 03, 2022

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OK, first of all, thank you everyone for your ideas and help, I really appreciate it.

I just now tried one, last-ditch idea. I copied my live graphics into a new Illustrator file and made a pdf and … perfect.

All of the settings appear the same to me, so I don't know why that worked. So odd.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Apr 03, 2022 Apr 03, 2022

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Good to hear you've got it working.

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