3D Solutions Update

Today, Adobe’s long-term partner Tech Soft 3D announced it is taking over responsibilities to develop and deliver Adobe’s 3D technologies that are currently in our Acrobat 9 Pro Extended product. While this decision brings about significant benefits for our manufacturing customers, some may have questions about Adobe’s decision to transfer these 3D technologies to Tech Soft 3D. With that in mind, I wanted to provide some background information to help provide context for this action.

As we came out of the global economic downturn in 2009, Adobe conducted an in-depth evaluation of how the company’s product lines were helping to meet business goals for 2010 and beyond. As part of this review, when we looked at the 3D capabilities in our products for technical professionals and organizations, we determined we need to focus on what we do best. That is, to provide the strongest, broadest platform technologies on which our partner ecosystem can build vertical-specific solutions for our customers, and find vertical-focused partners that can best provide the 3D technology to the market.

Ultimately, we determined we need to work with a partner who is deeply rooted in the manufacturing segment in order to best meet these ongoing customer needs. To that end, we’ve signed a long-term contract with Tech Soft 3D in which it will provide the continued development, delivery, sales and support of 3D technologies currently in Acrobat Pro Extended. In Tech Soft 3D, we’re confident we’ve selected a long-term partner who can successfully satisfy the 3D CAD importer needs of our collective manufacturing customers for converting native CAD data to 3D PDF.

As I’ve talked with customers throughout this process, the number one question on their minds is, “Will Adobe continue to support 3D in the free Adobe Reader long-term?” The answer is — and I can’t stress this enough — that Adobe is fully committed to supporting 3D viewing and interaction capabilities within Adobe Reader and Acrobat. We recognize our responsibility to customers worldwide who depend on 3D PDF to collaborate, control, and store their product development data for long-term archival and retrieval. That commitment hasn’t diminished, and, I think, has actually strengthened through this partnership.

Along with Tech Soft 3D, we can focus our resources on making Acrobat the best solution for customers who need to effectively and more securely communicate, collaborate, and exchange 3D data with their customers and supply chains, and who have chosen 3D PDF as the format for controlling their intellectual property beyond the firewall.

Our customers and ISV partners will benefit from this partnership through Tech Soft 3D’s deep understanding of the manufacturing market’s needs, and the expertise that Tech Soft 3D brings to providing solutions that help meet these needs. We believe Tech Soft 3D will continue to provide the best support possible for our customers as it takes direct responsibility for development and maintenance of the 3D Translator Libraries. Additionally, Tech Soft 3D plans to release the 3D Translator Libraries in a pure library form, which many of our ISV partners have requested.

Equally as important for our customers and ISV partners, Tech Soft 3D will have the capability to release updates, bug fixes and enhancements independently of Adobe’s product release cycles when new versions of CAD formats like CATIA, Pro/ENGINEER, SolidWorks, and others are released. And moving forward, Tech Soft 3D plans to make updated CAD translators available to end users as plug-ins to applicable Adobe software for reading and outputting 3D PDF.

This strategic partnership will allow Adobe to focus on the core aspects of the Acrobat product, while continuing to innovate and service customer requirements for managing, collaborating, and securing data — 3D or otherwise — throughout a business process.

We’d like to thank Tech Soft 3D for its collaboration over time in this market, and now for this new partnership in place. And we want to reassure our valued customers and partners in the manufacturing market of the combined commitment to serving and supporting them.


  1. Shawn

    You mention the manufacturing market, what about AEC? A lot of people now depend on 3D PDF for the Arch/Engineering/Construction market.

  2. Josef Meier

    What about the PRC ISO standardization process currently underway? Can you comment on Adobe’s intention in this area?

  3. Kumar Vora, VP&GM, LiveCycle Business

    @SHAWN That’s a good point. We’re definitely aware the AEC industry, and frankly, other industries, too, are increasingly using 3D data. For the AEC market, and the concept of BIM, 3D is crucial. And, of course, we know architects and engineers want to share data with PDF. One of the top reasons we chose Tech Soft 3D as a partner is they provide 3D component technology to over 250 engineering software companies, and these include companies outside the traditional CAD/CAM/CAE software vendors, including areas such as factory automation, GIS, EDA, metrology, and 3D scanning. We look forward to Tech Soft 3D expanding the footprint of 3D PDF usage through software vendors in these industries.

  4. Kumar Vora, VP&GM, LiveCycle Business

    @JOSEF Adobe will continue to participate in the ISO working group (TC 171 WG7) responsible for developing PRC as an ISO standard. Tech Soft 3D, already a member of the working group, will assume responsibility, with Adobe’s support, for the continued development of the PRC specification. This was an important part of our decision. For more information about the work on PRC under ISO, please see this FAQ on the AIIM website: http://www.aiim.org/documents/standards/PDF-E/PRC_FAQ_final.pdf.

  5. Edward

    A question: Will 3d ‘readers’ be available for mobile devices, such as Andriod systems or say for iPad devices. Using 3d pdfs as easy to understand product primers would be enhanced if availability was opened up.


  6. Kumar Vora

    @EDWARD PDF is a powerful standard, allowing for capabilities like dynamic media, interactive forms, digital signatures and, of course, 3D. Bringing those advanced technologies to mobile platforms will most certainly require new innovative designs, platform advancements and possibly cloud services. Unfortunately, we don’t have specific plans we can share at this time. But, we’re very interested in bringing more PDF functionality to mobile devices over time.