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Working with 3D Content in Adobe Acrobat 9

Article Description

Adobe Acrobat 9 offers some pretty spiffy 3D capabilities, including the ability to rotate, spin, zoom, and add custom views of your 3D models. The Adobe Creative Team walks us through the coolest 3D features.

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In this exercise, you'll open a 3D PDF file in Adobe Acrobat 9 and see how easily you can work with the rich 3D content without the need for complex CAD, CAM, or CAE applications.

Working with the 3D Toolbar

The default Acrobat work area is streamlined to ensure easy access to the tools you'll use most often as you work with PDF files. In this exercise, you'll use the tools on the 3D toolbar to turn parts around as if you were holding them in your hands, and to create views that you can use across files.

  1. In Acrobat, choose File > Open. Navigate to the Lesson15 folder, select the Aquo_Bottle.pdf file, and click Open. The file opens in the Acrobat document window.
  2. You interact with models using the 3D toolbar and the Model Tree. Click the bottle in the work area to activate the 3D model. (The Hand tool changes to a pointing finger when it's over a 3D model, as shown in Figure 1.) The 3D toolbar appears automatically across the top of the model. When you shift the focus away from the 3D content, the toolbar disappears.
  3. You cannot move the 3D toolbar, but you can hide it. To hide the 3D toolbar, click the arrow next to the Rotate tool to expand the menu, and choose Hide Toolbar (see Figure 2).

    To show the toolbar, right-click (Windows) or Control-click (Mac OS) the 3D model and choose Tools > Show Toolbar (see Figure 3).

    The 3D toolbar has several types of tools:

    • Use the tools hidden under the Rotate tool on the left side of the toolbar to manipulate the 3D model.
    • Use the Default View button, the Views menu, and the Model Tree button to manage views of the model.
    • Use the buttons on the right side of the toolbar to control animations embedded in the 3D file, toggle between perspective and orthographic projections; change the rendering mode, lighting, and background color; and show and hide cross-sections.
  4. You can show the names of the tools or buttons by resting the pointer over the icons on the 3D toolbar. Hover the pointer over the leftmost tool on the 3D toolbar. The tool tip shows the name of the tool under the pointer—in this case, the Rotate tool (see Figure 4).
  5. Click the arrow next to the Rotate tool to show the hidden tools.
  6. Choose Expand 3D Tools to add these hidden tools to the toolbar. (You can hide the additional tools at any time by right-clicking the 3D content in the document pane and choosing Tools > Collapse 3D tools.) For now, leave the additional tools on the 3D toolbar.
2. Manipulating a 3D Model | Next Section