Graphic Design | Tutorials

Illustrator Export For Screens Is Pixelated- FIXED

There are 2 reasons why your exported image appears pixelated. Either you’re original artboard size in illustrator does not match your intended export dimensions (artboard was too small) or your export settings result in a lower quality export.

To export your Illustrator file into a high-quality PNG or JPG image, make sure your artboard in Illustrator matches the dimensions you wish to export in or is larger. For instance, if you are creating artwork for a website that will display the image in 1920px wide by 1080px in height, ensure that your artboard in Illustrator is 1920px by 1080px as well or larger.

You may be wondering why this is so, yet Illustrator is a vector-based program and vectors should scale up or down without losing quality. This is true, but only when exported as vector files like Ai, Compatible PDF, or EPS, or when scaling on Illustrator and other vector programs.

If you export it as an image, you are changing the file from a vector-based document (mathematical formula) to a pixel-based image document (rasterized or bitmap). Pixelated images lose quality when scaled up, unlike vector images.

So how do you export an Adobe Illustrator vector file in high quality with no pixelation or blur?

How to export png and jpg files from Illustrator in high quality, minimal pixelation

  1. Check your artboard size. A quick way to do this is by clicking the artboard tool and viewing the Width (W) and Height (H) in the control panel at the top.check artboard size in illustrator
  2. Resize your artboard. If your document dimensions are smaller than your size you wish to export in or display the image, then there lies the issue. Common display sizes are listed here. If you are exporting to Photoshop, check the document size in Photoshop in pixels, and change the artboard dimensions in illustrator.
  3. Scale the artwork in Illustrator. Unlock any locked layers or objects. Select all your artwork using the selection tool (V). Click and drag a corner of your selection while holding Alt+Shift to scale it proportionally.scale artwork
  4. Export your artboard. To export as PNG or JPG, go to File>Export>Export For Screens…
  5. Under “Format” select JPG 100 or PNG and scale as “1x”. Now click Export Artboard.export for screens settings

Why your illustrator file looks pixelated in photoshop

Photoshop, unlike Illustrator, works with raster not vector images, meaning it displays images as pixels. The higher the quality of the image you export from illustrator, the less pixelated it will look in Photoshop.

Your exported image from Illustrator appears pixelated in Photoshop because your photoshop document size and/or resolution is larger than the artboard size in Illustrator.

When creating your artwork in Illustrator, set up your new document to have the same width and height in pixels as your photoshop document.

Set your resolution to 72dpi for screens or 300dpi for print and match the setting when creating your new document in photoshop.

new document settings illustrator

If you’ve already created your artwork in Illustrator in a smaller size, follow the step by step guide at the beginning of this article.

How to export from illustrator to photoshop in high quality

To export your artwork from Illustrator to Photoshop in high quality, make sure your artboard is the same size or larger than the document in photoshop in pixels. Go to File>Document setup>Edit artboards in Illustrator to check and change your artboard size. When exporting to Photoshop, go to File>Export>Export for screens.

Exporting your file as PNG will give you cleaner crisp lines as opposed to exporting as a Jpeg. Make sure the scale is set to 1x and then Export. Your artwork should occupy as much of the artboard before export for the highest quality result. This maximizes the number of pixels the resulting image will contain.

A simple way to export vector artwork from Illustrator to Photoshop is by selecting the objects in Illustrator using the selection tool (v), copying (Ctrl+c/Cmd+c), and pasting in the Photoshop window (Ctrl+v/Cmd+v).

What does export for screens mean in Illustrator?

The Export for screens feature in Illustrator lets you export artboards in different file formats intended for digital display, including png, jpg, SVG, and pdf. Export for screens allows you to export multiple artboards at a time unlike the old Save for web feature where you had to export artboards one at a time.

Export for screens lets you export one artboard, all the artboards or select a specific range. It also let’s you choose whether you wish to include the bleed in the exported files. You may also export all the artboards as one document by checking “Full document”.

Under Format, you can choose to scale the size of your artboard by a multiple. For instance, 2x will scale your image to double the pixel width and height of your artboard’s dimensions.

The export options for PNG format are PNG and PNG 8. PNG is the standard 24-bit PNG and PNG 8 is 8-bit PNG. 24-bit PNG images are able to carry more color information than 8-bit PNGs. For better color accuracy, Export your artboard as a PNG (i.e., PNG 24). Your PNG export will be larger than PNG 8.

The export options for JPG format are JPG 100, JPG 80, JPG 50 and JPG 20. JPG 100 has the least compression and gives you a higher quality image while JPG 20 has the highest compression giving you the smallest file size but lowest quality as well.

Export for screens also allows you to add a prefix or suffix to your exported files’ names.

How do I save 300 dpi in Illustrator?

To save your Illustrator document as a 300 DPI PNG or JPG image, go to File>Export>Export As… and choose your preferred file format, that is JPG or PNG. In the options dialog box, click the resolution drop-down and select “High (300ppi)”. Then click ok.

If you are saving as an Illustrator file as vector .ai, .eps or .pdf, make sure you set up your document as 300 DPI in your new document options. If you didn’t do this at the start, create a new document File>New… click advanced options, and select “High (300 PPI)” in the Raster Effects drop-down list.  

Why your text from Illustrator is Pixelated

There are 3 reasons why your text exported from Illustrator appears pixelated:

  1. Your document size in Illustrator is too small. Make sure your document size is equal to or larger than the display area your text image is intended to be viewed/printed on. Follow the instructions at the beginning of this article to change your document size.
  2. Your resolution is too low. If your text is to be displayed on screens, set your resolution to 72 PPI when creating your new document in Illustrator. If it’s intended for print, work with 300 PPI.
  3. If your document size and resolution are ok, your export and anti-alias settings may not be optimized. To export your text at the best quality, go to go to File>Export>Export As… and choose PNG format. In the Anti-aliasing options, select Type Optimized (Hinted). And click ok to save.

The solutions above should give you the best high-quality text image for your document size.

You may also be interested in learning: How To Find and Add Pantone Colors in Photoshop.

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