I've got a map in Illustrator that I want to print to two A1 pages with a certain amount of bleed and overlap between the pages. I use Adobe Print Driver, which lets me set the Media Size to A1, with the Scaling set to "Tile Full Pages" (see below).
The PDF gets exported just fine, and when I open it up and look under Document Properties, it says the document is 841x594mm (ie, A1 size) and has two pages. Sounds good.
However, the print service is telling us that the document is 832.5 x 594.1 mm, and they’d like us to re-send with the 841x594 dimensions.
So I’m confused. Am I misunderstanding what's going on with the Adobe Print Driver, or is the print service doing something odd? Or Secret Option C, whatever that may be?
A follow-up. Warning, there's a bit of whining before we get to the question.
I asked this question in the Graphic Design Forum, where I've seen printer people give advice to artists before.
The upshot is, if you ask a printer person for advice, they're going to tell you you should have done the whole project at 100% size in the first place, and tell you your workflow is wrong because you're using the Adobe Print Dialog to (get ready to be shocked) SCALE the document so that it fits on the number of pages you want <SHUDDER>. They'll then imply that you're just pushing buttons and expecting things to work without really understanding what's going on.
Take a trip over to the Adobe Support Community and search for "PDF" and read everything you can. Most of it comes from people asking questions from InDesign, but there's the occasional question from Illustrator users as well. One of the upshots from THAT exercise is that Adobe employees tell you to NOT print to PDF from the Print menu. Nope. Just don't do it. You should Save As PDF.
Again, doesn't this imply that your artboards are already at the page size you want? Because I don't see anything in the Save Adobe PDF dialogue that lets you specify the output page size.
If you DO Save As PDF, a chat with Adobe Support lets me know that you can always use Acrobat DC to Print the file to a PDF with a different page size, or use the Preflight Tool to do something similar. Except my computer runs out of memory when I try the former, and the latter is only available if you buy the Preflight Tool. And really, if I'm Printing to PDF from Acrobat DC, aren't I basically doing the same thing that I was when I printed from Illustrator?
More suggestions: I could try exporting from Illustrator to a PS file, then using Distiller to create the PDF with the page size I want, but I've seen Adobe employees comment that this is an old way of doing things. I agree, buuut... if it works better than what I've tried.... But on the other hand, isn't Illustrator just going through Distiller when I tried to print to PDF in the first place?
So, yeah. I believe this phase of the project is called Printer Hell.
My real question at this point is: is it really such a sin to do your artwork at whatever size you want, then count on Adobe's PPD to properly scale things to the size of paper (with the correct tiling, bleeds, overlap, etc) that you want?
I ask this for two reasons.
1) I thought one of the strengths of vector artwork was its scalability. So what's the problem with relying on this feature to scale my output? Heck, even the pixel-based parts of my artwork seem like they'll scale just fine. I'm not worried about that.
2) My artwork is basically a bunch of libraries that I've assembled over the years, with Symbols, Swatches, Brushes, and Graphic Styles that all share a common scale. It seems like it HAS to be this way; it seems ridiculous to assemble a library of things for output to, say, A1 pages and then maintain a different library for 8.5x11" pages. You have to pick SOME scale to work at. So given that, I use my standard-scale artwork in my document and, again, rely on the Adobe PPD to scale things properly for the desired media size. I suppose I could import the artwork from my standard-scale library and then scale it up front to the desired output size of the document and set up that document's artboards to the full size of the media and then print at 100%, but isn't that "up front scaling" basically the same thing as the "back end scaling" that I am doing now? The only difference being, the "up front scaling" involves work for me to figure out the scale that the document needs to be (so that it an print at 100% with full-sized artboards), then scale the artwork and check it, while the "back end scaling" involves me pushing a button and relying on Adobe (who's, ya know, kind of a big company who are kinda important in the print industry) to do its part correctly.
So that's why I chose "back end scaling". Not being lazy and ignorant, but trying to be efficient and work with the strengths of the software that I've paid for.
So. I'm open to being advised otherwise. Circling back around to the original problem here, it may be that this print shop just doesn't know how to fix what I've done (not sure whether to call it "my mistake" or not) and give me the output I want (ie, full-sized A1 pages instead of pages that are off by a few mm). I get the feeling that print shops do that all the time. And if that's going on here, I'd like to understand what I'm doing wrong/sub-optimally so that I can try to avoid Printer Hell next time, while still taking advantage of the inherent scalability of vector artwork and the efficiency of using a "standard size" of artwork in my various libraries of assets.
Thanks for any advice. Sorry for the length.
It's not a sin.
But: if yourely on the printer driver for scaling, then you don't really know the size of objects while designing. Of course Vector artwork can be scaled at will, but:
This doesn't always apply toscaling down. There is a limit to the smallest size of objects and this is defined by the output device and particularly its resolution. If the artworkis toosmall it won't be visible in print. Or can't be cut, or lasered or etched or whatever you want to do. There's a limit tostroke wieghts as well. And if you design in alarge size and thenscale everything down automatically, things might get out of your control too easily.
Another reason to stay at 100% if possible: Illustrator doesn't scale things consistently. I verified this by playing around with some test cases, as well as by comparing the pre-scaled and post-scaled map.
Sometimes Layer effects (Drop Shadows) seem to get scaled, sometimes not. Sometimes the scaling isn't what you specified. Some objects (particularly swatch fills) get scaled in different ways than others. Some effects (drop shadows, feathers, blurs) seem to be scaled differently than others.
Wow. I expected those things to just work. Pretty naive, I know, but I hear Adobe's been around for a while, so I figured they'd have this stuff figured out by now.
I'd condemn this workflow absolutely. Simple. Printing to PDF is never a good solution to a real problem, though it may be the only easy one.