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Best way to "embed" an image in Illustrator

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  • Best way to "embed" an image in Illustrator

    I'm just curious what the easiest way to embed an image into illustrator is. I tend to move files around a lot and sometime linked images get lost. But when I go back later it's a pain trying to relink.

    Is there a way to just lock it into illustrator somehow?


  • #2
    The best way is not to embed at all.
    Losing links is a file management problem.
    Package your files and the links don't get lost.
    Embedded images can cause all kinds of issues later in the life of the file.
    While you can unembed these days, I haven't checked much at all whether or not you get back your actual image or if Illustrator does something nasty to it. I've used it in a pinch when people send me things using that darned crop image tool. I guess it's time to check a little deeper.

    That said, the easiest method is to click on the image, go to the link palette menu and hit Embed.
    The harder option is when you place the image, do File> Place and in that dialog box click Options and uncheck Link.
    But I very strenuously argue against embedding any image in any Illustrator file.
    Illustrator already does a poor job at handling images. Bloating a file with embedded images is only one reason not to do it.
    Others involve printing, rip time and color profiling among other things.
    Last edited by PrintDriver; 10-10-2017, 01:01 PM.


    • #3
      Originally posted by PrintDriver View Post
      Illustrator already does a poor job at handling images.
      Right. The truly systemic fix for the problem is to keep raster images out of Illustrator altogether, and stop using it for layout. Actually, that's a fix for other Illustrator/raster image problems; if your file management discipline is too loose to maintain linked assets, you'll have the same problem with InDesign, which is the correct tool for layout.
      I'd rather be killed than come to your party, but if you don't invite me, I'll kill myself.


      • #4
        I don't think I'd go as far as to disqualify illustrator as a layout tool for single page layouts.
        I do balk at using it for things larger than its artboard at 100% and if you try to place images in there over, let's say, 600-800mb.
        The raster effects have limitations as well.

        InDesign is the better choice but Illustrator can be serviceable.
        Illy just has a whole bunch of hidden quirks to it and is not as user friendly as it could be. Adobe is doing their best to make it even more opaque to the casual user who, when using it inappropriately, will do nothing more than set their print vendor's teeth on edge. But that's true of just about any software.

        Maintaining linked assets is part of a designer's job.
        Do your job.


        • HotButton
          HotButton commented
          Editing a comment
          Yeah, most users, experienced and otherwise, are more forgiving of Illustrator multi-purposing than I am. I literally use Illustrator for 100% vector graphics only, and the same for raster images/Photoshop. Virtually any work that involves 2 or more—raster, vector, text—happens in InDesign.

          Unless you don't have all 3 apps available to you, I just don't see a reason (that I'd cite) for doing it any other way.

        • B
          B commented
          Editing a comment
          Same as HotButton. Illustrator for all vector art creation, Photoshop for all raster art, and InDesign for everything that involves combining multiple files or pages. I don't play much in the large-format world, so I'm inclined to accept PD's cautions about Illustrator there.

        • PrintDriver
          PrintDriver commented
          Editing a comment
          Never say ''never.''
          It ain't all about flat paper art.
          Because I deal with a lot of different machinery besides a press, sometimes Illustrator is the better choice to make things simple.

          A for instance:
          When dealing with a vector die cut, bearing in mind in my life, this can be something as large as 5'w x 10'h x 5'' thick and cut on a table CNC, it is often necessary to export a PDF to illustrator to extract the die line and regi dots for the machine that will doing the cutting. Most of these machines don't read InDesign files directly at all (though there are print/cut options available, some of the machines we have don't even have auto registration.) If already in Illustrator, that step is saved. (We don't save the whole InD file to PDF and open in Illy, that's asking for a world of hurt. Just the die line and dots.)

          The same for a wall elevation that may have multiple elements.
          You can do it in InDesign, and sometimes that is still the better choice, especially if the size of the wall or the imagery or the effects exceeds Illustrator's limits in some way. But if you have, let's say, a lobby wall installation consisting of a background mural, dimensional lettering of some sort, and maybe a video/photo/buildout element with more printed items on it, then setting that up in Illustrator again saves that whole step of pulling out the dimensional files for the CNC or laser. Illustrator also has CADTools which allow the designer (or me) to pull dimensions for verification in field and for install of the wall art. It always amazes me that designers of these things seem to just plop art on the walls giving no thought to the actual field measurements we need to do. It would be really helpful if the sizes/placement of objects were kept to units of measure on a standard tape measure.
          Last edited by PrintDriver; 10-11-2017, 07:38 AM.

      • #5
        Ditto to HotButton and B Illustrator is for vectors, Photoshop for rasters, InDesign to bring it all together.
        I like to beat up pacifists, because they don't fight back ...

        N.A.N.K.A. "We Kick Because We Care."


        • #6
          Thanks guys! Sorry for the delayed response.
          In my experience, linking images is basically the same in indesign and illustrator unless I"m missing something.

          My problem is if I change a hard drive/computer, move a dropbox folder or have to rename it for a client, etc everything gets lost and I have to relink. Was just wondering if there is a general way to streamline this.


          • #7
            Originally posted by iyiyi View Post
            In my experience, linking images is basically the same in indesign and illustrator unless I"m missing something.
            Linking images isn't that different between the two. It's the RIP output where InDesign tends to cause fewer hiccups. Linking files is one of the fundamental reasons why InDesign exists. With Illustrator, it's sort of a side capability. That said, I'll link files in Illustrator on occasion when I'm sure it'll work with no issues.

            Originally posted by iyiyi View Post
            My problem is if I change a hard drive/computer, move a dropbox folder or have to rename it for a client, etc everything gets lost and I have to relink. Was just wondering if there is a general way to streamline this.
            Use the package menu option to consolidate all your files before moving them.

            To avoid the problem altogether, keep all your linked files in a subfolder of the folder in which the InDesign or Illustrator file resides. These programs keep track of their linked-to files using directory paths. So if, for example, when that path backs up a directory or two to your hard drive before heading into to another directory, that path will no longer work if that path changes due to you, say, moving everything from your hard drive to a flash drive. If you keep everything in the same folder or subfolders of the folder in which your InDesign or Illustrator document resides, you won't run into that problem since the directory paths will stay the same no matter where you put that folder and its contents.






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