Adobe Creative Cloud allows integration between several of the apps. Sometimes files misbehave. In this article, we’ll look at why files are blurry from Illustrator to Photoshop.
Files moved from Illustrator to Photoshop can be blurry because the resolution is incorrect, the magnification is different, anti-alias is checked or Photoshop has rasterized the file.
The ease with which we can move within the Creative Cloud Suite is a huge bonus. Sometimes we need to tweak files before we can get them to merge successfully. Let’s look at how we do that!
The Resolution is incorrect
Generating a vector file in Illustrator, it’s important that you have the correct sizing and resolution. I find that it’s best to create or draw your file as close to the finished size as possible. This is fine if it’s a logo for a publication or similar but if the artwork is for a banner or large building artwork then it’s not always that simple.
If you are creating a scaled file then it’s very important that your proportions are correct. Here’s the important bit. When you bring the Illustrator file across to Photoshop the resolution must be the same. If your AI file has a low resolution of 72ppi then your PS artboard must be the same. If your PS is much bigger then the scaling of your vector must be done in AI, otherwise, you’re going to lose clarity of the vector.
Magnification is Incorrect
This is a similar problem to resolution in terms of how the image appears. When you magnify a vector in AI it will still appear sharp at any size. This is because AI recalculates to vector to the screen pixels so it never appears blurry.
When you move this vector to PS, the pixel limitations can be seen when you increase magnification. Document Pixels are equal to Screen Pixels.
Your AI file will become a pixelated file to match the PS file.
Magnification above 100% will show pixelation in PS. So the size of your AI file must correspond with your PS artboard.
Anti Alias Option to None
Anti-aliasing smooths the edges of your vector. When you are saving your AI vector to bring it over to PS, toggle this option to ‘None’.
This will prevent PS from rasterizing the hard edges. This will then appear in PS as a less pixelated or blurry file.
How Are the AI file and the PS file Merging?
How we join the two files together will also have an effect on how your AI appears and behaves in PS. There are several ways to add your file to PS. Let’s quickly look at how they react.
OPEN – EXPORT – COPY – PLACE
AI and PS are interactive in Creative Cloud and so we can simply ‘open’ an AI file in PS>
When you save an AI file to reopen in PS you need to ensure the ‘Create PDF Compatible File’ is checked in the dialogue box. This allows you to directly ‘open’ the AI file through the PS File – Open dropdown.
Your AI file is now a PDF file and will have a PDF icon. When you open the file you will be given a range of options to choose from – size, color – resolution. This is what I mentioned before, try and have these measurements the same as your original AI file.
The image will be a flat image and you can’t move individual items without masking them first. This option is only useful, I think, if you are completely finished with your vector.
When we export an AI file as a PSD, you are given the option of a ‘flat option’ or ‘write layers’. Flat option is self-explanatory. All your layers will merge as one in your vector file, which again is fine if you are done with the artwork in AI but there are smarter choices.
The ‘write layers’ allows you to still have your file in layers (to a max of 5). It is a good option, as you may bring in your vector to PS and realize you need to move some items to accommodate parts of the PS file already there. However, any of these options will still have pixelation past 100%.
If you open your AI file, Select all and Ctrl C (copy), and then paste this information into a PS file you are given a range of options to choose from.
The last thing I’ll quickly go through is the placed option. If you choose ‘Placed Linked’ from the Dropdown menu.
This is the best way in my opinion of merging AI files into PS files. You will save space and also be able to keep track of your vectors in one place.
It means if you need to make a change to your file, then you can do this in AI and the vector will then update within the PS file. Amazing!
However, the pixelation will still be evident if there is text in your vector.
Text is the Real Blurry Problem
When we look closer at our blurry vector files in PS you’ll find that in most cases it’s your text layer that is causing the issue. This is because PS takes all vectors and converts them to pixels (or rasterizes them). This is usually fine for most shapes within logos but when we have text in a logo it becomes more noticeable. Once a part of a graphic becomes rasterized it can no longer be scaled upwards. This takes me back to the resolution and magnification issue. They have to be the same within both files so you don’t have to scale upwards in PS.
In saying all of that and we now understand why vectors appear blurry in PS my advice is to not copy, place or export vectors that are predominantly text. It’s better to do your text layer within PS. Here you can increase the font size without losing any resolution or definition.
Illustrator files appear blurry in PS due to the pixel make up of all PS files. The scale and resolution of both files should be the same and to prevent rasterizing of text, try and complete your text layer in PS. If it has to be part of the vector file ensure it does not have to be scaled up in PS after it has been merged.
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