Are Illustration Details Too Complex For Specified Output?

September 2, 2014

I have often said that users who are creating massive files in CorelDRAW are probably doing something wrong. Not always, but I can almost always find a way to shrink the size of the files without changing the quality of the output.

I had that experience lately with sample files provided to me for discussion in a CorelDRAW Unleashed Training Session. The first file I saw was created for a 2008-era publication and it was .14 MB. Inside of the file were a total of 851 objects. A second file was an updated version for a 2014-era publication and it was 5.01 MB with 48,867 objects. Now to be fair, the newer version had two copies of the illustration. So let’s round it off to 2.5 MB and 24,000 objects. Still a massive increase from the earlier version.

After digging into the files a bit, I discovered the majority of the new objects came from illustrations of solar panels added on the roofs of some of the buildings in the graphic. There was an insane amount of detail in each solar panel.

First, let’s look at one small section of a solar panel at a 51,676% zoom!
Detailed Solar Panel in CorelDRAW

From that view, you can’t even tell it is a solar panel. Now let’s zoom out to a 2000% zoom where you can see each panel contains ten sections and each of those sections contains 36 of the squares shown in the first view. The level of detail illustrated is great, but it is serious overkill.
Detailed Solar Panel in CorelDRAW

Solar Panel as output from CorelDRAWOur last view will be the exact output of this file in pixels. In last week’s blog, Single Sized Graphics For Multiple Methods of Output, I told you it was decided that all graphics would be output at 1280 x 960 pixels. When the entire illustration is output at that size, the solar panels are a very small part of the illustration. I have four of the big panels shown above in the small graphic above right. In short, a full panel is smaller than 50 x 40 pixels. All of the detail in the illustration is being lost on output and it only serves to make the file much larger.

There much be other illustrations where that level of detail is required. For those uses, the detail should definitely be included. Yet in the scenarios where the detail is completely lost on output, a much less detailed version of the illustration should be used.

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Foster D. Coburn III is author of 13 best-selling books on CorelDRAW and has been a contributor to numerous technology and graphics-related magazines. Foster has taken many projects, including this Web site, from the early design stage through to a finished piece. He has been a featured speaker at many graphics conferences. His first Web site was built in 1995 and he has been working exclusively in WordPress since 2013.

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