I would like to apply an effect to the whole artboard (all elements), so that the colors don’t look too monotone.
I think this effect is called Grain. So I selected all elements in my artboard and went Effect > Texture > Grain.
Now I have two problems:
(1) Round objects look pixelated
When I export it, it looks better, but still more pixelated than without the grain effect:
(2) The file size increases enormously
Without the grain effect the picture with circle and rectangle has 7KB. With the effect 326KB.
How can I solve these two problems? Should I export it without an effect, and apply it in another program? And is this effect even called grain?
Summarized: What should I do to get the same effect like in the referenced picture, while keeping a “small” export size and having smooth round objects?
1. Create a new layer above your artwork.
2. Create a shape over the whole artboard (or the area you want the texture applied to).
3. Apply your Grain (Effects → Texture → Grain).
4. With your textured shape selected, open the transparency palette (Window → Transparency) and change the blending mode.
Different blending modes will have different results. I suggest starting with Multiply.
You can use whatever color layer you want, white will work but I usually go for a slight off-white but it completely depends on the effect you want.
If you only want the texture applied to a certain area just mask off the texture.
The file size is increasing because Grain is a raster effect, you are basically embedding a raster image in your Illustrator file. You can just as easily (and I often do) create the image in Photoshop (or your preferred image editing program) and place it in your Illustrator file as a linked file. This solves the file size problem, but you now also have 2 files to worry about.
You can achieve the same effect by using a textured image.