This is probably one of the most common questions I get asked about Acrobat 3D and it turns out there is more than one way to bring 3D data into PDF documents with Acrobat 3D…
Acrobat 3D can import 3D models in one of two ways:
- Reading 3D model, part or assembly files
- Capturing 3D models from OpenGL-based applications
Reading 3D Files
Acrobat 3D can import ~40 different 3D file formats including proprietary CAD formats like Catia V5, Catia V4, Solidworks, UGS NX, UGS IDEAS, ProEngineer, AutoCAD, Inventor, and Solidedge. Numerous neutral files like STEP, IGES, VRML, Parasolid, ACIS, JT and STL may also be read. Additionally, Acrobat 3D is bundled with the Acrobat 3D Toolkit which can read additional 3D file formats like 3D Studio MAX, Maya and Wavefront and these can be saved in the U3D file format and then inserted into PDF documents using Acrobat 3D. Acrobat 3D Version 8 added support for several new formats like CADDS 5. For a complete list of supported formats and the versions of those formats, see these documents:
Capturing 3D Files
Acrobat 3D’s 3D Capture feature enables 3D Models to be captured or extracted directly from any OpenGL-based application. This feature can be used to capture visual information that is not stored in native file formats or to capture 3D information from applications that use proprietarty formats that Acrobat 3D cannot read directly. For instance, many CAD applications have integrated analysis modules that only provide for saving the final results of the computation; with Acrobat 3D’s 3D Capture feature it is possible to extract and save to PDF any intermediate view of the results that are desired.
There is a configuration process required to enable Acrobat 3D to capture 3D models from OpenGL-based applications. For details on how to do this for different 3D applications please see this document.