Major New Release – PDF3D 2.22 Release Adds 3D Conversion Features and Capabilities

With the release of PDF3D Version 2.22, new and unique features and improved capabilities of 3D PDFs are added, such as Panoramic 360⁰, mesh subdivision, tessellation and STL export.

London, 28th June 2022 – Leading 3D PDF tool provider PDF3D, a PDFTron company, releases the V2.22 major update demonstrating continued support for 3D technical publishing in the manufacturing, engineering, survey industries. The release includes new controls on panoramic 360 degree scenes on PDF pages, CAD mesh subdivision methods, STEP BREP tessellation and a new STL file export facility.

“Updating the production PDF3D software framework, addressing frequent feature requests is the focus for this release,” explains Ian Curington at PDF3D. “We are seeing benefits by changing the way the world works with documents and driving the digital transformation, aiding faster collaboration on 3D models in a wide variety of applications.”

This blog post visits these major changes in V2.22 in more detail, to see the full list, please visit our changelog.

STL Export

Prior to V2.22, 3D CAD users and STL users have been able to easily convert and enhance STL files into 3D PDFs or glTF at the click of a button using PDF3D ReportGen, and PDF3D Development SDK. Now STL can be exported as well as imported.

PDF3D uses advanced PRC in 3D PDF. This allows for 3D PDFs to have superior viewing controls and gives the creator the ability to annotate the 3D image or model with detail, display Progressive Animation (e.g. presenting cause and effect within a moving time sequence), enable security encryption controls and many other features. Please see more information on our already existing STL to 3D PDF capability.

There are however applications where STL is an integral part of a workflow for handling 3D data. With the launch of V2.22, users can now convert data from over 90 supported input file types, including DWG, STEP, U3D, into an STL file containing the 3D geometry.

This feature also allows the handling of multiple input files, allowing users to generate a single composite mesh. Simplification to reduce file size and viewing performance can be applied, as well as controls on adjusting position and scale. You can even take advantage of these features by using existing STL formats!

To use this feature in PDF3D ReportGen, simply navigate to the conversion tab and change your exported file type to STL.

Improvements to STEP Import and Conversion

PDF3D offers customers unique and patented methods of mesh reduction and simplification. This allows users to create much smaller 3D PDF files and drastically increases performance within viewers. The format loading sub-system importing CAD, PLM Models in STEP, IGES and others now has new refinement controls.

STEP Tessellation

PDF3D offers controls to optimise performance and file export for STEP format 3D files. The controls to allow curved lines to be subdivided into finer curves can be used to better represent geometric details (or further save on memory). In addition, there is an option to enable/disable the export of lines and point data depending on the overall workflow.

When running a conversion to a 3D PDF, glTF or STL file, a process of STEP BREP model tessellation is performed, converting curved surfaces converted to triangles. This process is essential to aid compression and enables good viewing performance and file portability for users for other formats.

Before V2.22, the amount of deviation between adjacent surfaces has been controlled through ‘Relative Linear Deflection Distance’. This value is used to determine how ‘close’ the resultant tessellation should be to the original imported surface.

V2.22 expands this capability and introduces the option of controlling the tesselation through ‘Absolute Linear Deflection’. Unlike relative deflection, users may now use a dimensioned value to generate their triangular mesh.

Prior to V2.22, this feature was focused on optimising an input file with the aim of strong viewer performance and reduced file size. This expansion now gives users who use PDF3D products the option to exert further control of the overall meshing process, this feature may be particularly helpful for those working in engineering and manufacturing applications where the resultant 3D PDF or STL file may be used in conjunction with some type of dataset.

To enable ‘Absolute Linear Deflection’, simply navigate to the OC interface settings and untick the default ‘Relative Linear Deflection’.

Triangular Mesh Subdivision

Contrary to the goal of simplification, it is desirable in many workflows to have mesh faces that are identifiable and of more consistent facet size and area.

V2.22 presents Triangular Mesh Subdivision which provides this feature and allows users to import from all supported file formats and export to 3D PDF, glTF and STL format. Using Triangular Mesh Subdivision, further refinement can be added.

To enable this feature, simply enable subdivision in OC interface settings.

Panoramic 360

PDF3D was first to the market in providing professional software which creates panoramic 360-degree photos in 3D PDF. Users can take a 360 panoramic photo and easily convert it into an interactive 360 image using our panoramic 360 mode. This 360 degree viewing experience may be embedded into a PDF report, brochure or presentation with ease. In this release, on-page PDF controls can be added to show an analytic display of the current view angle and elevation. Interactive buttons are available to snap to a predefined home viewpoint and step through horizontal quadrants. Provided as a template, these controls can be adapted to different button icons, size and placement for localisation.

With V2.22, we’ve improved our already existing templates and now provide a better viewing experience!

Please see our demo example collection.

Other Improvements

V2.22 also brings a whole host of new improvements, including improvements in metadata handling, PDF writing methods, point cloud colouring support, LAS loader and OBJ loading updates.

Visit our trial page to receive a free 30 day trial, encompassing full features and try today!

About PDF3D

PDF3D ( ), a PDFTron company, produces a suite of widely respected software products and plugins for engineers, scientists and developers who need to communicate complex data and 3D models to others in the universally accessible PDF format. PDF3D’s technology provides the fastest and easiest-to-use, highly compressed 3D PDF conversion available for an ever-increasing range of formats and tools. From 3D CAD to GIS, DWG and LIDAR, PDF3D works closely with users and programmers within the engineering, geospatial, geology, aerospace, architecture, medical and product packaging communities worldwide. PDFTron ( is a premier global provider of high-performance digital content processing technology serving OEM and enterprise customers across a broad spectrum of industries.