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Placeholders for Linked Images

Explorer ,
Feb 06, 2023 Feb 06, 2023

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Sometime recently Illustrator has changed the way it deals with Linked Images.


The behavior used to be:
I have a PDF that is also Illustrator editable. The images are linked. If I open the PDF to edit in Illustrator, and the linked images are missing. In Illustrator the images would be missing.

 

The behavior is now:
Same situation as above, but now Illustrator uses a low-quality placeholder image. This is causing problems because now it's not obvious that something is missing. Now things are being accidently printed with these low quality images whereas before it would have been obvious that something was missing.

How do I prevent these low-quality placeholder images from being used? Is this a new feature of Illustrator, or am I doing something different?

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Import and export , Print and publish

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Adobe
Community Expert ,
Feb 06, 2023 Feb 06, 2023

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Don't you get a message that the images are missing when you open the file?

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Explorer ,
Feb 07, 2023 Feb 07, 2023

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Yes, and I know how to handle that.
The issue comes when I'm working with others that send files to a vendor. It happens that the vendor apparently ignores the message and just uses the placeholder image.

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Community Expert ,
Feb 07, 2023 Feb 07, 2023

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If they use the PDF, they will use the high-res images (unless the pdf compression was set very low).

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Explorer ,
Feb 07, 2023 Feb 07, 2023

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The PDF is not used as is in the problematic situations. I have raster images that are placed onto product images as proofs. The vendor will open the proof file to grab the images. The images are these low quality placeholder images. I myself never hear anything back, they just print what they have.

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Explorer ,
Feb 07, 2023 Feb 07, 2023

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To paint a more clear picture of how this is happening.
I work with sales reps to sell branded products and custom printed items such as table throws.
I set up art to use as proofs for their customers. The images are linked so that I can keep the file size down for purpose of emailing and getting approval on the art.

Sometimes art gets approved from a customer and the sales rep sends the files to the vendor. This has never been a problem in the past because it was always obvious that there was something missing. Now, it's not obvious that there is something missing because now a low quality place-holder image is being used.

Yes, it would be nice if the vendor just sent back and email asking for the missing files. But in reality, these things sometimes just get printed with what they have unfortiunately.
And yes, I know to adjust our communication for this new reality. I just don't know how many products have gotten printed with low quality images. The missing images were a great safeguard against these accidental mistakes.

 

If there is a setting to prevent these low quality images from being created, I'd like to know what it is to help this to not happen.


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Mentor ,
Feb 07, 2023 Feb 07, 2023

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I'm not sure if missing images is a warning you can turn off (?), but I deal with customer and vendor files every hour of every work day and I've never had the situation where I've opened their file in Illy to have no warning that a link is missing and a low rez proxy being used in it's place. Are you sure you are saving the pdf with the correct profile?

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Explorer ,
Feb 07, 2023 Feb 07, 2023

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It's not the warning I would like to turn off. That is a great feature.

It's the Low-Resolution proxy image that is problematic. It's a new feature. I have been using Illustrator for probably 10 years and this is new.
In the past, if the linked image was missing, there would a completely empty box. No image it all. A selectable but otherwise invisible box.

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Mentor ,
Feb 07, 2023 Feb 07, 2023

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Do you have a link for this in Adobe Help webpages? I can't find a reference to it...

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Explorer ,
Feb 07, 2023 Feb 07, 2023

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No I have too. I see nothing nor do I see much discussion on this.
You can see what I am getting at first-hand though. Create an AI file. Place a linked image. Save as a PDF with AI editing enabled. Close all files. Delete the placed image. Open the PDF. You'll get a messge that the file is missing. If you ignore the message, the file with open with a proxy file.
That has not always been the behavior. It used to open with absolutely nothing for the image except an empty object. Now, it uses a low-quality image. I as the designer can emmediately tell that the image is low quality. But, it can get easily overlooked by someone else.

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Mentor ,
Feb 07, 2023 Feb 07, 2023

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But the point is, you are ignoring the warning. Any vendor who does this just isn't a good practioner.

If you use the pdf correctly, the data is in the file to reproduce it (including the placed image(s)).

It's like ignore the red engine light warning, sure you can do it, but it's not advised...

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Explorer ,
Feb 07, 2023 Feb 07, 2023

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I agree. Unfortiunately I cannot control what other people do. In this situation, the vendor realized the mistake and is replacing the product. They said they should have reached out to us.

Because there are so many people that sometimes touches these projects, I always look for ways to safeguard against mistakes. It helps if something is obviously wrong or missing rather than subtle thus the looking for a solution that disables the placeholder images. It also is unfortiunate when software changes behavior, it is those times that mistakes pass unoticed until people realizes the changes! 🙂 I have implimented expressly stating in my communcations that these files are not print ready, that should help.
Thanks for the discussion on this!

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Community Expert ,
Feb 07, 2023 Feb 07, 2023

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But giving warnings about missing images and showing something after clicking Continue is not something recent. At least since the 2022 version this was the case.

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Mentor ,
Feb 07, 2023 Feb 07, 2023

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They are opening your file in Illy instead of either ripping it directly from the pdf or placing the pdf in Illy (or whatever they need to use for RIP prep) - I'd recommend changing vendor... I don't like spending money with someone who doesn't know how (or care) to do it well.

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