Acrobat 3D 8 and Data Exchange

My recent articles regarding Acrobat 3D 8 have resulted in some interesting comments from readers. Some readers are of the opinion that Acrobat is not meant for Data Exchange and are suggesting that I should focus my review on other things.

Let’s get something straight. With Acrobat 3D 8, Adobe is in the Data Exchange business, whether you like it or not. The Adobe presenter was quite clear on this in his briefing. One slide in his presentation was titled “CAD Data Interoperability”, which contained phrases like “Eliminate the need to buy expensive CAD translators” and “Convert virtually any CAD format to a neutral format such as STEP or IGES”.

Moreover Acrobat has a “3D Convert Setting” called “Data Exchange” whose description is: The Data Exchange conversion settings are recommended for CAD data interoperability. Using this preset will allow exporting the converted CAD data in PDF to neutral formats such as STEP and IGES.

It’s naive to think that a software which can read these many file formats is not going to be used for data exchange. I have been in the data exchange business long enough to realize that users will do just about anything to read in data in whatever format it may be. I have even written software that recreates geometric objects from plot files and NC programs.

The reason I am focussing on data exchange in Acrobat is because I happen to know something about it. I will leave it to others discuss other aspects of Acrobat 3D 8.

  • ralphg

    Thanks, Deelip! It’s good to have someone knowledgeable about translation, like you, examine new products in detail.

    Twenty years ago, we would have been mumbling to ourselves about the errors generated by some DXF translator. With blogging and public software betas, the mumbling is now a global conversation and hopefully helps make products better, sooner.

  • ralphg

    Thanks, Deelip! It’s good to have someone knowledgeable about translation, like you, examine new products in detail.Twenty years ago, we would have been mumbling to ourselves about the errors generated by some DXF translator. With blogging and public software betas, the mumbling is now a global conversation and hopefully helps make products better, sooner.

  • Deelip Menezes

    It’s nice of Adobe to let me talk about this, as opposed to others who would have gagged me with Non-Disclosure Agreements.

    I believe Adobe needs all the criticizm it can get. They are at a very important stage. I wish them well. I believe that Acrobat 3D powered by the TTF technology has the ability to shake things up in the CAD industry, something that we all badly need.

  • Deelip Menezes

    It’s nice of Adobe to let me talk about this, as opposed to others who would have gagged me with Non-Disclosure Agreements.I believe Adobe needs all the criticizm it can get. They are at a very important stage. I wish them well. I believe that Acrobat 3D powered by the TTF technology has the ability to shake things up in the CAD industry, something that we all badly need.

  • Michael Kaplan

    Deelip,

    I just wanted to say that I’ve been following your blog and other reader comments in it. I welcome these criticisms and suggestions for Acrobat 3D. Expert analysis of both the pros and cons of our products will help us to make them better, so please keep them coming!

    To try to clarify a few of the recent comments, you are absolutely correct that the Adobe Reader still displays faceted geometry, even in wireframe mode. I would very much have liked to get exact curve representations into the wireframe mode of the Adobe Reader for this release, but just did not have the time to do this along with all the other features. As you point out, this is a significant issue and I hope to rectify it in the future.

    On your second point, that measurement is on faceted geometry, you are of course right again. However, in this case I would say that many, many systems used in downstream CAD visualization and collaboration both display and measure faceted geometry. Exact measurement is usually found only in the CAD system itself or high-end DMU systems. Many customers already use visualization systems in the supply chain that measure faceted geometry and are quite happy with this. As proof of this, I believe it is pretty accurate to say that, although JT files can contain both exact (B-Rep) and faceted geometry, a vast majority of JT files used throughout the supply chain are currently faceted. In addition, many customers and early evaluators of Acrobat 3D V8 have told us faceted measurement is fine for their purposes, and in fact, in some cases, is preferable.

    However, that said, exact measurement, sectioning, etc. are certainly made possible by the fact that we are indeed capable of storing exact B-Reps in upcoming PDF (as you pointed out through your export test) and taking advantage of this for exact measurement and sectioning and other analysis functions is certainly something we are interested in pursuing.

    So, in this release, the major advantage of carrying exact B-Rep geometry in PDF is found in reduced file size and in the export to neutral format feature of Acrobat 3D. By exporting an exact neutral file, you can then use that exported file to do exact measurement, etc. in other applications.

    On your third point, you can select the zoom tool (either on the 3D toolbar or by pressing the ctrl key) and then right-click drag a zoom window. I think that is what you were saying was a missing operation. Please give it a try and let me know if that does what you want it to do.

    Thanks again for your efforts to give us useful criticism on the product.

    Michael Kaplan
    Director of Engineering, Acrobat 3D

  • Michael Kaplan

    Deelip,I just wanted to say that I’ve been following your blog and other reader comments in it. I welcome these criticisms and suggestions for Acrobat 3D. Expert analysis of both the pros and cons of our products will help us to make them better, so please keep them coming!To try to clarify a few of the recent comments, you are absolutely correct that the Adobe Reader still displays faceted geometry, even in wireframe mode. I would very much have liked to get exact curve representations into the wireframe mode of the Adobe Reader for this release, but just did not have the time to do this along with all the other features. As you point out, this is a significant issue and I hope to rectify it in the future.On your second point, that measurement is on faceted geometry, you are of course right again. However, in this case I would say that many, many systems used in downstream CAD visualization and collaboration both display and measure faceted geometry. Exact measurement is usually found only in the CAD system itself or high-end DMU systems. Many customers already use visualization systems in the supply chain that measure faceted geometry and are quite happy with this. As proof of this, I believe it is pretty accurate to say that, although JT files can contain both exact (B-Rep) and faceted geometry, a vast majority of JT files used throughout the supply chain are currently faceted. In addition, many customers and early evaluators of Acrobat 3D V8 have told us faceted measurement is fine for their purposes, and in fact, in some cases, is preferable.However, that said, exact measurement, sectioning, etc. are certainly made possible by the fact that we are indeed capable of storing exact B-Reps in upcoming PDF (as you pointed out through your export test) and taking advantage of this for exact measurement and sectioning and other analysis functions is certainly something we are interested in pursuing.So, in this release, the major advantage of carrying exact B-Rep geometry in PDF is found in reduced file size and in the export to neutral format feature of Acrobat 3D. By exporting an exact neutral file, you can then use that exported file to do exact measurement, etc. in other applications.On your third point, you can select the zoom tool (either on the 3D toolbar or by pressing the ctrl key) and then right-click drag a zoom window. I think that is what you were saying was a missing operation. Please give it a try and let me know if that does what you want it to do.Thanks again for your efforts to give us useful criticism on the product.Michael KaplanDirector of Engineering, Acrobat 3D

  • Deelip Menezes

    Thanks for taking this the right way.

    Yes, I now see that Zoom Window exists and works well. However, left-click-drag-window for text portions and right-click-drag-window for 3D portions of a PDF file is quite confusing to CAD users, or for that matter, to anyone.

    Also I could not find a description of this behaviour in the help file when I searched at that time. I didn’t search hard enough, so I guess I missed it.

    Staying with zoom, I could not find a way to zoom to the extents of the 3d model. The fit commands fit to the page, not the concerned 3D view. Zoom Window -> Inspect -> Zoom Extents -> Rotate is a commonly used combination to quickly move around a 3D model to inspect it from different directions.

    Since I could not find a Zoom Extents, I had to use the Home view which reseted the orientation every time. It was quite irritating.

    These are small, but important, things. Adobe is trying to get CAD users to use Acrobat 3D, people who are alredy used to doing things a certain way. If they do not find the things they are used to, they will be quick to label Acrobat as “difficult to use” and go back to their old workflow.

  • Deelip Menezes

    Thanks for taking this the right way.Yes, I now see that Zoom Window exists and works well. However, left-click-drag-window for text portions and right-click-drag-window for 3D portions of a PDF file is quite confusing to CAD users, or for that matter, to anyone.Also I could not find a description of this behaviour in the help file when I searched at that time. I didn’t search hard enough, so I guess I missed it.Staying with zoom, I could not find a way to zoom to the extents of the 3d model. The fit commands fit to the page, not the concerned 3D view. Zoom Window -> Inspect -> Zoom Extents -> Rotate is a commonly used combination to quickly move around a 3D model to inspect it from different directions.Since I could not find a Zoom Extents, I had to use the Home view which reseted the orientation every time. It was quite irritating.These are small, but important, things. Adobe is trying to get CAD users to use Acrobat 3D, people who are alredy used to doing things a certain way. If they do not find the things they are used to, they will be quick to label Acrobat as “difficult to use” and go back to their old workflow.

  • SubconDesign

    As a Solid Edge R19 and Acrobat 8 user I’ve downloaded Acrobat 3D 8 hoping to supply customers with pdf 3D visuals. No joy; can do par files but not much use when virtual all part files start as psm bridging accross to par when required then into asm for the finished assemblies; any suggestions?

  • SubconDesign

    As a Solid Edge R19 and Acrobat 8 user I’ve downloaded Acrobat 3D 8 hoping to supply customers with pdf 3D visuals. No joy; can do par files but not much use when virtual all part files start as psm bridging accross to par when required then into asm for the finished assemblies; any suggestions?