I’ve ordered some Autocad vector map data from an external company, and it comes through as a 50MB DWG file. Its taking an AGE to open. Its stuck on a stage called ‘Mapping’, and has been like this for about 10 minutes, and is maybe 10% of the way there. This is only 1 of 8 tiles for the entire map, and obviously the current method is unsuitable. Does anyone know of anything I can do to speed up the process? Is there a plugin that makes the conversion faster? The computer Im using is pretty beefy – Quad core Xeon Mac Pro with 8GB RAM – but this is bringing it to its knees. 50mb is too big anyway for a vector / wireframe import. You are probably dealing with crosshatches and fills that are embedded into the autcad file. Can you not get a PDF version with edit to be done in AI? Some DWG versions of autocad are buggy with file importing into AI. Illustrator really shouldn’t be for editing PDFs. PDFs like to simplify the file for view on screen or output. Any opening to edit it can result in weird clipping masks et al things. I spend a lot of time on the Adobe Forums and the guy who is the Principle Scientist for Adobe, Dov Issacs, has said on many occasions that PDFs should not be edited in Illustrator as Illustrator is not a universal PDF editor. If you like – pop over to the illustrator forums at Adobe and ask them there if it’s ok to open a PDF generated by another non-Adobe program in Illustrator for editing – see what type of response you get – if you don’t believe me. Opening editing and enhancing, always works for me Hank. Where is the thesis from Dov Issacs? It would be interesting to read it. I have to open and edit PDF’s made from Auto Cad all the time in Illustrator. Very frustrating. Circles become octagons, corners become unjoined, etc, etc. Forget about text. I spend more time fixing everything than I do working on the part I need to do. Definitely going to try that plug in. Don’t try to bring it in at actual size. Let it scale down. We usually tell our draftsmen to put a scaling factor in the drawing so we can get it back to correct size once it’s in Illy. Hank, PDF is one of the better methods for getting an AutoCad drawing into Illustrator without too much going wrong. A lot of things can go wrong no matter what method you use to bring a CAD drawing into Illustrator. We do it all the time too. BUT, you have to be very careful to tell the person sending the PDF to make sure it is under 220′. I’ve opened pdfs in Illustrator to edit before, and a lot from autocad. I’m all too aware of the things that CAN go wrong. It’s a fair warning that opening a PDF from ANY program, especially non-adobe, in Illustrator can cause strange things to occur. I’ve pulled PDFs from MS Publisher into AI to get at the bits, but generally they all get pulled out, saved in other formats, and reconstituted in a new document. I also regularly open one particular printer’s proof PDFs to check that the specs were followed. Some of our facilities use very generic-looking sans serif typefaces, it’s easier to check that way than to try to compare to an exemplar. This post is brought to you by the letter E and the number 9. Those are the buttons I push to get a Twix out of the candy machine. I have to open and edit PDF’s made from Auto Cad all the time in Illustrator. Very frustrating. Circles become octagons, corners become unjoined, etc, etc. Forget about text. I spend more time fixing everything than I do working on the part I need to do. Definitely going to try that plug in. You of course have to optimize files saved from Autocad as I mentioned before cross-hatches fills and output especially on the number of points on bezier point curve has to be considered. There are translation issues but you can’t do a blind handoff, the current version of Autocad to Illustrator has to be considered also. I have no problem taking plans, sections, elevations and the even the rendered views from pdf’s exported from Autocad and Revit! I’ve been in the industry about 17 years. In some of the work we do, we hire illustrators but for the most part, we have a very small, select core (or stable) that we hire from. They come from one agency… By 3D, I thought you meant really making them look three-dimensional. The only 3D effect in what you pointed to is a drop shadow, which is so basic that both Illustrator and Photoshop have menu items… Both fields are difficult to break into, but of the two, illustration is far more difficult since the demand for illustrators is so low. So, to avoid problems, I have to follow submission guidelines, to use high quality images and the right kind of color to a certain type of… Source.