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Bitmapping 101: Troubleshooting EPS Files in Illustrator

Bitmapping 101: Troubleshooting EPS Files in IllustratorBy Stacey Lynn Payne, Shutterstock Contributor

In a continuation of our Rejection Reasons series, Shutterstock Contributor Stacey Lynn Payne explains how to avoid rejections for No Bitmaps.

You work hard on your vector illustrations, trying to avoid any technical problems. That's why it's such a terrible feeling when you receive the following rejection: No Bitmaps. Bitmap images are not permitted--please see the forum.

The good news is, there are a few things you can do to overcome this. These instructions are for Adobe Illustrator users, but these concepts may also help CorelDraw, Inkscape, Xara Xtreme, Aviary Raven or similar vector program users.

The first thing to understand is how NOT to build your illustrations. You want to avoid the rasterization that can occur upon output to EPS-8 or 10. EPS-8 creates rasters more often than EPS-10 files, but EPS-10 has its own quirks that can make it output as a raster.

When exporting to EPS-8, you will most certainly get bitmapping if you use these effects and techniques:

1. Transparency 2. Opacity Masks 3. Radial Gradient 4. Linear Gradient, sometimes, not always, depends on opacity masks used, or if output Transparency setting is not 100% Vectors on the Raster/Vector Balance (in the EPS Options window, see below) 5. Drop Shadow 6. Gaussian or Radial Blur

When exporting to EPS-10, most of the problems encountered in outputting to EPS-8 are eliminated, except bitmapping will still occur with Drop Shadow and Gaussian or Radial Blur. For those effects, you have to find alternate methods that will produce the same effect (such as Blend Mode to replace Drop Shadow).

When exporting to EPS, always check the Transparency setting in the EPS Options -> Custom Transparency Flattener Options box (see Figure 1). You'll want this set to 100% Vectors as shown in Figure 1. Check this for EPS-10 as well.

figure1bitmapping101
Basic RGB

When you are trying to find the offending area of the file, open the Links Palette (Window -> Links) and the Document Info palette (Window -> Document Info). The Links Palette will display small thumbnails of the bitmapping areas. You may locate one in the artwork by clicking once on the image to select it (see Figure 2), then clicking on the Go To Link button at the bottom of that palette. Illustrator will select that piece of artwork so you can change it. The Document Info palette will show you how many linked or embedded images are in the file, which are always bitmapping areas.

Once you locate your bitmapping area, you can change the transparency, expand the effect, or change your technique, and resave the artwork as an EPS file. Close and open the EPS file again and check the Links and Document Info palettes to see if your bitmapping issue is resolved.

Special exception for Gaussian and Radial Blur: These effects will bitmap in the artwork without creating embedded or linked images in the palettes. You just need to zoom in on the blurred area to see the pixilation (blocky areas of color, not smooth like the blur is supposed to look). Just know that those effects will rasterize no matter what, in EPS-8 and 10.

Good luck!

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