XMPie Designer Series: VDP Best Practices and Optimization Techniques | Part 1: Optimizing Images For Your LayoutRISORSE

XMPie Designer Series: VDP Best Practices and Optimization Techniques | Part 1: Optimizing Images For Your Layout

Posted by Zvika Leybovich, Manager, 1:1 Media technologies, XMPie:

Calling all designers using Adobe® InDesign! If you’re looking for best practice tips and optimization techniques to maximize your design output, our three-part XMPie Designer Blog Series is just the ticket.

In this series we’ll explore a variety of ways for designers to improve performance and boost output results, ranging from image resolution and cropping to transparency effects and proper use of layers. All of XMPie’s products are tightly integrated with Adobe InDesign Creative software, allowing designers to work with familiar best-in-class tools.

Part 1: Optimizing Images For Your Layout

Designers use images of all shapes and sizes to enhance a wide variety of personalized print applications. When using images it’s important to understand where the images will be used and what size and resolution are required. Image size and resolution is always important but its impact is multiplied by many folds when producing a variable data job that may use the image repeatedly. Let’s take a look at the example below.

For this catalog sample, the layout requires many small images to visually display the product lineup. We’ve duplicated the items to showcase the difference between  resizing images and resampling them – though they look identical, they’re actually quite different.

Let’s look closer at the strawberries. The strawberry image on the left is an image that was resized in Adobe InDesign and the strawberry on the right is an image that was resized (actually resampled, which means the number of pixels in the image changed) in Adobe Photoshop.


What is the difference between the images? The answer is in the ‘Links’ palette (Windows > Links). Within this palette, look for the effective PPI (or resolution) and file size for each strawberry. You’ll notice significant differences between both strawberries – The strawberry on the left has an effective PPI of 3,333 with a file size of 5.5 MB, while the one on the right has an effective PPI of 600 with a file size of 255.6 KB.


High resolution images that are resized directly within InDesign (like the strawberry on the left), still retain all the pixels of the original image, which can result in a “too high” effective resolution. InDesign will resize images, but it will not resample, which means it will not change the number of pixels in the image. This can cause, not only a slower production time and larger output file size, but a bloated document that is heavier to save, pack and transfer as well.  Resizing an image inside InDesign will suffice in cases where the size change is minor or if you need the image’s resolution to be higher than the ‘Actual PPI’ and you are comfortable with the ‘Effective PPI’ that you see.

However if that’s not an option instead of resizing the image directly in InDesign, bring the image into Photoshop and resize it to meet the dimensions you are specifically looking for in your layout (The ‘Image Size’ dialog box in Photoshop has the ‘Resample’ option enabled by default). From there the image can be placed back into InDesign, bringing the effective PPI into a range that won’t hinder productivity. This will help maximize performance, reduce the file size and give you a faster RIP time.

Hope you found this useful! See you here soon for  Part 2!