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Interactive 3D PDF from CAD via Photoshop

May 16, 2013 3:41 PM

Tags: #pdf #3d #interactive #360



I see a lot of discussions on this topic but none ever seem to have an answer.



My designers are rendering images in FormZ (CAD program).

FormZ has no way to directly output an interactive PDF where you can see a 360 degree view.


FormZ support and lots of info I googled tell me to run it thru PS Extended 3D.

It seems that PS CS6 removed the .u3d export function so it does not seem to work.

I've tried to go back to CS5.1 but that brings the CAD file in as a smart object and loses the interactive function.


Is there a path thru for either 5.1 or 6?


Bottom line is we have the CAD 3D/360 files.

We want an interactive PDF where our customers can get that 360 view.


(FormZ outputs a nice web version, but stupid IE doesn't support the HTML5 enough for it to function so a web version is out of the question for now)


Thank you for any input!

  • Currently Being Moderated
    May 16, 2013 4:04 PM   in reply to SkyBlade_

    If you Place a 3D (or any other file) it comes in as a Smart Object. Simply double-click the Smart Object in the Layers panel and you will open the 3D object directly (or do not use the Place command and instead use the New 3D Layer from File command under the 3D menu.

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    May 16, 2013 5:19 PM   in reply to SkyBlade_

    Ps CS6 Extended v13.0.1 on OS X has U3D export.

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    May 16, 2013 9:08 PM   in reply to conroy

    Right, but if you update, then the U3D support is removed: html

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    May 16, 2013 9:15 PM   in reply to SkyBlade_

    You cannot create interactive 3D PDFs in Photoshop nor can current versions of Acrobat. The last (and only) Acrobat version that did this was Acro 9 Pro Extended. If you wanted to do it today, you need the extra plug-in from Tetra 4D or use a CAD program that can export it directly. Sorry, but you're running in circles and using the wrong tools.



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    May 17, 2013 4:15 AM   in reply to Brett N

    Brett, yes, I know and I was only letting the OP know that he has an option of using 13.0.1.

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    May 17, 2013 12:24 PM   in reply to SkyBlade_

    You actually have great options for making 3D PDFs from FormZ data.  FormZ can output to several neutral file formats - STEP, IGES, STL, SAT, OBJ, for example.  Just download a free trial of 3D PDF Converter from  Once you've installed,  just right click the exported STEP or any of the other supported formats (I suggest you play around with which one gives you the best results) and you will quikcly have a 3D PDF.  If you want to do more advance things, like add textures or make it more photo realistic, try outputting a .3ds file and using Autodesk's 3D Studio Max.  Then to get the 3D PDF, you can add the 3D PDF for 3ds Max plug-in from tetra4D.  Hope that helps!

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