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Selecting only visible objects in a clipping mask

New Here ,
Dec 04, 2023 Dec 04, 2023

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I have a very complicated PDF that I'm trying to modify in Illustrator.

They can take up to an hour just to open.

It uses clipping masks that hide some objects.

I'm trying to delete all unnecessary objects to "dumb it down".

The clipping masks hid a lot of objects.

Is there a way to select ONLY the objects the mask allows me to see and not the hidden objects?

That would go a long way to making this work.

Thanks in advance.

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Community Expert ,
Dec 05, 2023 Dec 05, 2023

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Can you share a screenshot with the panel layer open?

_______
Senior graphic designer | United Nations Population Fund

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New Here ,
Dec 05, 2023 Dec 05, 2023

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Select all in the outline format (vector view) and then option shift click the images you want to keep which will deselect them and then you should be able to globally delete the remaining unwanted elements. You can start with a few that way and check in overprint preview mode to make sure you are on the right path. (no pun intended there, lol)

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New Here ,
Dec 05, 2023 Dec 05, 2023

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btw, last post, use the open arrow

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New Here ,
Dec 08, 2023 Dec 08, 2023

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Please try the file I uploaded. There are simply too many points to select and each selection you get a spinning ball.

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Community Expert ,
Dec 05, 2023 Dec 05, 2023

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Paul, up to an hour to open such files indeed poses a staggering challenge.

 

Can you perhaps share a sample .pdf file for inspection?

 

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New Here ,
Dec 08, 2023 Dec 08, 2023

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Kurt,

I'll attach a "dumbed down" section of on of the PDFs as the original is 58 megs.

The original takes me an hour to open.

This should open fairly quickly but you'll see the clipping layer named "Marsh" is the issue.

It's the very first layer.

I split the PDF up by deleting that layer and it's manageable.

However I lose some of the detail.

I doubt there's a way to select only those "bits" that the mask shows.

Clipping masks are a double edged sword in my experience.

If you're interested in seeing the entire PDF you can download a section here:

downloader

Basically, whatever software that's creating these maps is incorporating clipping mask and there's a lot of small parts that are hidden.

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Community Expert ,
Dec 09, 2023 Dec 09, 2023

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Thanks for providing the sample files, Paul.

 

I know these kinds of .pdf files provided by USGS. They often are difficult to handle with Illustrator for various reasons. The first thing I recommend to do is to optimise the initial files in Acrobat in order to reduce the overall file size. 50 or 60 MB files can be changed to 3 or 5 MB files without losing anything. Also, placing the files in InDesign and (re-)exporting to .pdf may help a lot to optimise the files.

 

This way, most of the time it shouldn't take one hour to open the files in Illustrator. Usually, it will then take just some seconds or a minute. But some files may still contain insane constructions, so Illustrator may be knocked out when trying to open them.

 

As for really cropping according to only the visible objects inside the clipping path(s), I have an action in progress that is supposed to handle that. Unfortunately, the action is dependent on virtually countless eventualities. Some weeks or months ago I posted a request here, asking for sample files for inspection in order to optimise the action. Unfortunately, there was no feedback at all.

 

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New Here ,
Dec 12, 2023 Dec 12, 2023

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I apologize for the delayed reply.

Experimenting with these files is very time consuming.

 

I know these kinds of .pdf files provided by USGS. They often are difficult to handle with Illustrator for various reasons. The first thing I recommend to do is to optimize the initial files in Acrobat in order to reduce the overall file size. 50 or 60 MB files can be changed to 3 or 5 MB files without losing anything. Also, placing the files in InDesign and (re-)exporting to .pdf may help a lot to optimize the files.

 

LOL, I had forgotten that trick of putting the PDF back through Indesign. I have done that before but these files seem to be resistant to that method.

Optimizing in Acrobat doesn’t seem to do much (see below) reduces siz but still ca't open or manipulate quickly.

.

What files were you using and why?

For myself (very long story short) I wanted to stitch together a topographical map and trace out all the routes I have traveled on my bike.

Print, mount and hang on my wall.

 

As for really cropping according to only the visible objects inside the clipping path(s), I have an action in progress that is supposed to handle that. Unfortunately, the action is dependent on virtually countless eventualities. Some weeks or months ago I posted a request here, asking for sample files for inspection in order to optimize the action. Unfortunately, there was no feedback at all.

 

Adobe has fallen a long way since the beginning when it comes to listening to its customer base.

When Indesign 1 killed Quark we should have seen the the future of an Adobe monopoly.

I wish you luck and hope you’ll let me know if you ever get it to work.

 

So, here’s what I found:

The problem is with the “wetlands” clipping path.

After directing the layers and isolating that one path (5th or 6th from the bottom” I deleted it and now the file is fine, just no wetland markers.

I open that one layer in Photoshop, saved it and brought it back into Illustrator.

Voila! I can edit the file to my hearts content.

See attached file for result.

I am still going to try and play with that layer and see if there are any other ways of eliminating the unneeded “bits” but my guess is it’s not possible.

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New Here ,
Dec 16, 2023 Dec 16, 2023

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LOL, the answere is to export from Indesign to an EPS file.

Problem solved guys!

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