PDF3D Frequently Asked Questions

We hope our FAQ section will provide all the answers to your questions on our products and technology. If you need any further help, please ask.

3D PDF is a PDF file with 3D geometry inside. Using any 3D PDF enabled viewer, rotation, zoom and part selection is available within the 3D view. This is often used for documentation, sharing and collaboration. 3D PDF is just like a normal PDF (Portable Document Format) file, which contains a 3D view somewhere on some page. Just like a PDF containing an embedded image, except when you put the mouse over it, you can rotate, zoom, pan and explore the scene in 3D (three dimensions). The file actually contains a 3D geometric representation of the scene, not just images from different viewpoints. Not all PDF viewers support 3D. If in doubt, use the Adobe Reader for viewing 3D PDFs. PDF itself is ISO32000 a published ISO standard used by many vendors and industries. It is a container, wrapper for many types of content, most often text and images within a document. It can also contain rich media, interactive content, including full 3D view ports. A special type of 3D PDF called PDF/E is used for long-term preservation. The 3D portion within the PDF can be composed of either a U3D or a PRC encoding type.
A PDF file is a self-contained document file. PDF files can be displayed for reading using various PDF viewers. A 3D PDF is a little special, inside the document there is a 3D viewing window, where you can rotate, zoom and pan the contents of a 3D scene. The actual data for the 3D view is embedded inside the PDF file. Not all PDF viewers support 3D – if in doubt, use the Adobe Reader for viewing 3D PDFs. How 3D PDFs are constructed is covered by internationally agreed ISO standards.

PDF3D tools generally create 3D PDF files about 20 – 25 times smaller than the equivalent binary STL 3D model files. For instance, a binary STL with 1 million triangle faces is typically 90 Mb. Converted to 3D PDF the model is about 4 Mb. This assumes PRC highly compressed tessellation mode. Other encoding methods (such as U3D) will produce larger files.

End user software applications in the PDF3D suite require license keys. These are not included during software installs. After installing, use the supplied license utility to request license keys – either for trials or for purchased license. These will be generated and sent to you by email.
The various software versions, configurations and license terms means you just need to ask so we can best meet your needs. Ask sales or fill out a request form. Pricing will be discussed over email or phone.

No, the PDF3D in PowerPoint is a free plugin designed to SHOW an existing 3D PDF during a slide presentation. If you want to create 3D PDF, try out PDF3D ReportGen.

Click on Request Trial and fill out the form. A real person will review your request, and may ask for additional information. Then a separate email may be sent to you containing a trial download link.
The 3D PDF Sample Gallery has many files to view. Click “save-as” and download them to your local desktop or file system, then open them locally with the Adobe Reader, since many web browsers do not directly support 3D parts of the PDF document standard.

A 3D PDF can easily be created using the PDF3D ReportGen application software or plugins. Take a look at this 3D PDF Conversion introduction video which will shows the process.
PDF3D PDF conversion software works with numerous files and formats. Check here for the full list of all the available formats.
You can view an instructional video here: PDF3D_Video_showing DWG conversion.
You can watch a step by step video here: PDF3D_Video_Motorbike
You can watch a video guide on how to do this here: PDF3D_Video_FME
3D PDF files can be emailed and distributed in the same way as other PDF files. However, 3D PDFs can sometimes be large, beyond the capabilities of email servers. DropBox, Google Drive, FTP, or other file transfer systems can also be used.
PDF3D software has a built-in facility to insert into the current PDF page or append new pages into existing PDF documents without using any external tools. Views with 3D can be placed precisely into existing page layouts. Alternatively, the PDF3DMerge utility can be used to combine pages. In addition PDF3D can output a U3D or PRC file which can be loaded into Adobe Acrobat Pro or LaTeX. Further, there is a template replacement system, where an existing 3D PDF file with a dummy 3D view containing a simple place-holder object can be replaced with an actual 3D model for a final PDF result.
When a PDF page is printed containing a 3D model, the 3D image will appear in the printed copy, exactly the way you left it during viewing. For example, open a PDF with a 3D window, zoom in, and click Print, and the printed version will have exactly that view. The 3D scene is printed at full device resolution, not just at computer screen resolution.
We recommend you install the latest. PDF3D-SDK is maintained with compatibility with the latest versions. The 3D PDFs come to life in Version 9.4 on Linux or XI (version 11) of Adobe Reader. Earlier versions of Reader will tell the user they need to upgrade. Until the upgrade is done, a static 2D image will appear in place of the 3D experience. About 90% of internet users have some version of Adobe Reader installed. Adobe have distributed over 1.5 billion copies of Adobe Reader, so many will already be at (or can easily get to) the current level.
Yes you can upgrade for free. Follow this link to get the latest version of Adobe Reader: Adobe Reader Download
Yes as long as you have a recent version of Adobe Reader to view the PDF files. Note the built in “Preview” in Mac OS X does not show interactive 3D PDF content.
No, the built-in viewer currently does not support 3D. You will need to install and use the Adobe Reader to view the PDF files.
No, the built-in Windows PDF viewer currently does not support 3D at this time. Install and use the Adobe Reader to view the PDF files for best results.

No, the FREE Adobe PDF Reader is all you need. Click on the following link to get the latest version. Adobe Reader Download
No. Adobe PDF Reader has a basic 3D capability built-in and the 3D PDF files contain all the added functionality required.

No. You can use the 3D PDF files as much as you like, for as long as you need, with no recurring license fees. Any PDF files produced using PDF3D technology may be distributed royalty free; the licenses only refer to the content generation software. It is only the 3D PDF generation tool which requires a commercial license. The PDF file itself is normally owned by the person who created it, not the vendor behind the creation tool.
No. The 3D experience viewing window can be as large or small as you like, and you can use whatever aspect ratio works in your layout (as long as it’s rectangular), anywhere on any page.
The 3D PDF will play on just about any computer with Adobe Reader Version 9.4, X, XI or later. On slower machines, the 3D view will update less frequently during animation. On machines with good graphics cards, the visual appearance will be much better – as the Adobe Reader uses the 3D graphics hardware to accelerate the display of high-quality visuals, using DirectX, OpenGL or a built-in software renderer.
Generating the 3D PDF content takes more memory and more CPU time than viewing the result. As a consequence, the minimum specs are higher than for the Acrobat Reader. See current product details and release notes.

After requesting a trial or purchase, you will receive an email with a download link. Download and save to your local system, then follow install menus. Installing requires administrator rights.

PDF3D licenses are available as fixed PC locked, or as a floating network server, where N-simultaneous sessions may be enabled on a local department network. The floating network version also allows for licenses to be borrowed for business trips, conferences, where connection to the license server is temporarily not possible. The floating network license may be accessed by clients running on Windows, Linux or Mac.

Adobe Acrobat Professional Extended 9 or XI gives you controls for 3D content similar to the free Adobe Reader, plus the ability to change the 2D layout, enable extended user rights, mark-up, etc.

Yes, any 2D or 3D geometric object can be used to generate a 3D PDF file. However the user will be able to rotate freely in 3D, so it depends on how you want to organize your scene content. Optional mouse constraints can be specified to disable rotation, if this is appropriate for pan-zoom only over 2D content.

No, VOXEL models, or 3D space-filling grids are not supported. The input model should be composed of geometric primitives such as triangles, points, lines, quadrilaterals, NxM 2D grids, etc. Similarly, 3D volume elements such as tetrahedral or hexahedra are not supported, only surfaces. PDF3D supports models containing triangle meshes, lines and points, arrows, cubes, spheres, cylinders, cones, 3D labels, elevation grids, etc. See technical documentation and sample gallery for more details.

Yes, Adobe Reader 9 for Linux includes 3D viewing support. See the Adobe Reader website for details. The PDF3D system is also available to generate 3D PDF files on Linux platforms. See Release notes for the current platforms. Linux viewers may not have the same features as other platforms.

The PDF3D ReportGen conversion program is available for MacOSX. Please see current release notes for supported platforms.
The 3D viewport can be arbitrarily specified to be placed in any rectangular area on the page. PDF3D-SDK also includes a full API for generating 2D text, line and area graphics, and full JPEG, PNG, TIFF, BMP images. Using the injection mode, a 3D view can also be placed in an existing 2D PDF document generated by another system.

PDF3D tools have a built-in facility insert, append or prepend pages into an existing PDF document without using any external tools. A PDF generator or print driver program could be used to create the background PDF, including LaTeX or MS-Office.

By enabling a simple toggle control, PDF3D can produce PDF/E compliant files. These files follow the current guidelines in the draft ISO specifications. Since the PRC specification is currently published, however with PDF/E ISO 24517-­2 is still in committee, the generated files assert compliance to a provisional draft standard. The Adobe Acrobat Preflight analysis tools have not yet been updated to recognize PRC encoding, so only U3D encodings will currently show validation. In both U3D and PRC cases, the Adobe Reader will show the assertion of PDF/E standards compliance. Note that if you create PDFs containing other unrelated elements, custom page javascripts, these may break PDF/E compliance. Visual Technology Services is not responsible for any content generated using PDF3D tools.

If you have a collection of 3D PDF files, these can be placed on the website just like any other web content, with viewing either using the Adobe Reader outside of the browser by downloading the PDF first, or by viewing directly inside a browser window using the Adobe Reader plugin if the web browser supports such a plugin. PDF3D XML Server can be used to dynamically generate 3D PDFs on a web server backend.
PDF3D systems allow for merging multiple files at the same time into the same view, and each file can be a different format. As long as the world coordinate systems match, LiDAR, PTS, XYZ point geospatial cloud files can be merged with CAD 3D models such as DWG, DWF, DXF or STL models, where the result is merged as layers in the 3D PDF.
Yes, the PDF3D implementation of 3D PDF animation works equally well for either U3D or PRC type encoding within a 3D PDF file. Two types of animation may be used, either key-frame motion, or flip-book sequence animation.
The PDF3D SDK development toolkit at the core does not depend on any GUI, user-interface, or menu system. Any of these may be added according to application developer choices. In fact it can be used without any menus, such as within a batch or web-server environment. Various examples are packaged for configuring user-interfaces with QT, C# WinForms, PHP, Delphi and Python which help developers quickly get started. PDF3D ReportGen comes with a complete user-interface.

You can use our PDF3D SDK (Developer Toolkit). You can watch a video on how easy it is to add 3D PDF functionality to your technology here: PDF3D_Video_SDK
PDF3D-SDK includes documentation and source code examples of adding 3D PDF support into VTK scenes, including loading VTK files. Many VTK integration code samples are provided.
PDF3D-SDK includes documentation and source code examples of adding 3D PDF support into OSG scenes, including loading OSG and related files types. Many OSG integration code samples are provided.
The PDF3D SDK at the core does not include or depend on any GUI, user interface, or menu system. Any of these may be added according to application developer choices. In fact it can be used without any menus, such as within a batch or web-server environment. The PDF3D Converter application PDF3D ReportGen provides an easy-to-use menu user interface for file conversions, if needed, using QT user interface techniques. C# WinForms, PHP, Python and other UI examples are also available for developers.
Both U3D and PRC are available in PDF3D tools. U3D is available through an optimized implementation, including Right Hemisphere Compression extension for smaller file generation. PRC encoding, especially using the highly compressed tessellation methods (PRC-HCT) yield much higher compression rates than U3D, and are generally more efficient for complex scenes.
The PDF3D XML Server system is designed for efficient server-side PDF generation, where all the PDF document content including characteristics of the 3D views are specified by XML. A template PHP website configuration is available for web developers.