[OS X TeX] Alternative Method of Labeling Figures with Illustrator

Bruno Voisin bvoisin at mac.com
Sat Jul 1 09:05:43 EDT 2006

Le 26 juin 06 à 22:23, Jan Hegewald a écrit :

> Le 26 juin 06 à 19:24, Jung-Tsung Shen a écrit :
>> I encountered this situation myself not too long ago. I have a figure
>> generated by Mathematica. The size of the EPS was 12 MB. Even  
>> though I
>> managed to have it shrunk to ~3MB, it was still very difficult to
>> manage for my poor PowerBook. Each time it spent a long long time to
>> draw the results on my screen when processed. This new method however
>> has one less step and indeed saved me some time (whether my time was
>> meaningful or not is out of the question. :P )
> are you talking about Illustrator? It is awfully slooow when  
> drawing graphics. It's not you PowerBook to blame ...

Enough RAM sure makes a difference, on either the CPU or the  
graphical card. Illustrator sure is a beast, with cluttered GUI,  
panels everywhere eating up screen space (compare with Pages' or  
Keynote's unique Inspector panel), and it is sssso slow!  
Unfortunately it includes functionality that I don't know how to get  
with other tools, and time is short for researching for these tools.

I experienced similar problems with Plot3D graphics created in  
Mathematica using PlotPoints -> {601, 601}. The graphics saved to EPS  
from within Mathematica were about 25 MB each, becoming 50 MB after  
addition of axis labels in Illustrator then saving as EPS. Attempting  
to move a label in Illustrator (with the mouse) caused Illustrator to  
become unresponsive for more than 30 s, and then it took it several  
minutes to redraw the graphics; it's only then that you could figure  
out where your mouse gesture had finally positioned the label. Useless!

That wasn't even the worse of it: with the initial RAM (512 MB) of my  
17" PowerBook G4 1 GHz, Illustrator crashed while attempting to save  
the graphics to Illustrator format; only saving to EPS format did  
work, and it took about 45 mins (I'm not kidding!) for the Save  
operation to complete, during which Illustrator was eating up about  
80 % of the CPU and the fans were spinning all the time.

Finally after upgrading the RAM to 1 GB Illustrator could save the  
files to Illustrator format. However, the Save time was unreasonably  
long all the same. Since then, I've always advised my colleagues to  
upgrade the RAM of the graphical card whenever Apple offers the  
option. 128 MB is seemingly not enough for Illustrator, 256 MB should  
be better. Or is Illustrator designed intentionally such that it  
performs so bad on Mac OS? Sometimes I really wonder (seriously!).

In the case of the Mathematica figures, I finally had to give up on  
the EPS or PDF versions completely (there were not manageable by most  
current software, and when included in a paper yielded a PDF file too  
big for online use). Instead, I've had to use lower-resolution JPEG  
versions, about 500 KB big for every original 25 MB EPS figure.

Bruno Voisin

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