Why Does Your Vector Look Pixelated in Illustrator?

Illustrator is great software, but it doesn’t play well with a lot of other software resulting in pixelated or jumbled files that require some time to fix and adjust. However, there are solutions and causes that can help you avoid the pixelation issue. 

If your Vector looks pixelated in illustrator, there are a few reasons why:

  1. The original artboard size doesn’t match your export dimensions
  2. Export settings caused a low-quality export
  3. Your monitor has a lower pixel density
  4. The artwork has low-resolution
  5. Original software is incompatible with illustrator

Now, if these issues and solutions don’t apply to you, you may have to reach out to the customer support of whatever software you are using. Without their help, you would be stuck in the trial and error loop until something is fixed. 

Reasons Your Vector Looks Pixelated In Illustrator

With every reason your vector may look pixelated, there are a handful of solutions for you to try out. Even if you do everything right, your image may still end up looking pixelated because the software isn’t perfect. 

No matter the issue, there are solutions and ways you can prevent it in the future. 

1. The Original Artboard Size Doesn’t Match Your Export Dimensions

When you create any kind of digital artwork, you have to know your starting size can be imported or exported into any other software, or you won’t receive the same results after it’s moved. 

If your starting artboard is 192px by 1080px, then everything you export your work to also needs to be the same size or larger. If the artboard you are exporting to is smaller, your work will look pixelated and distorted. 

2. Export Settings Caused A Low-Quality Export

Your export settings are involved in everything from the artboard of the intended destination to what kind of file you are saving your export as. Your settings can take a great piece of art and turn it into a pixelated, distorted jumble of colors. 

You want to ensure a few settings are corrected before you fully export:

  • Change your artboard setting if they are too big
  • You want to use JPG 100 or PNG for export
  • You want to ensure you choose 1x as your scale
  • Your resolution needs to be 72dpi for screens or 300dpi for print

If you follow these settings, your vector shouldn’t end up pixelated when exporting into illustrator or any other software for that matter. 

3. Your Monitor Has Low Pixel Density

Every single screen is using pixels to view anything, without pixels you wouldn’t be able to see any images on your screen. However, some screens have a higher density than others and this can cause certain things to look more pixelated than others. 

The only real way to figure out if your vector is pixelated through the screen or due to something else is to find a better screen and test it out, or print it using the 300dpi settings. Now, pixels usually end up not being so choppy the further out your scale, so you could try viewing your document on a 50%-60% scale and see if it gets any better. 

If your vector ends up not pixelated when you try one of these options, it’s your monitor that is causing the pixelation look, not your file. 

4. The Artwork Has With Low-Resolution

If your artwork contains any images that are low-resolution or low-quality, chances are your vector will end up pixelated. This can be caused by low-quality cameras, photo editing software, or exporting the file incorrectly. 

You can try to attach the image again after letting it fully upload or changing the resolution in the settings, but if it’s an issue with the source image, it may have to be redone. 

5. Original Software Is Incompatible With Illustrator

Illustrator has quite a few great qualities, but one of its biggest downfalls is the inability to work well with several other software. If your software doesn’t work well with Illustrator, your image will not look great once it’s exported or imported to something new. 

Overall, your best bet is to start back in the original software and find something that works well with that. Illustrator has some settings you can try to change around such as resolution or DPI, but if the software isn’t reading the file well, it usually won’t work. 

Final Thoughts

For most issues with pixelation in Illustrator, you can find solutions for it that are pretty easy to walk through yourself, however, figuring out the issue is often the hardest part. Thankfully Illustrator has many forums and helps desk-type sites that can help you figure out your issue without wasting too much time.