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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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Using the Viewing Options

The buttons on the right side of the 3D toolbar allow you to control any 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. Figure 10 shows the tools on the toolbar, and the following table lists each tool.




Play Animation


Projection Mode


Model Render Mode


Enable Extra Lighting


Background Color


Toggle Cross Section

Let's change the background color of the model.

  1. In the Aquo_Bottle.pdf document window, click the arrow next to the Background Color button to open the Background Color swatch. Select a color swatch, or click Other Color to define a custom color for the space surrounding the 3D object. We chose orange, as shown in Figure 11. Note that this changes only the background color on your monitor.
  2. Click the arrow next to the Model Render Mode button to show the menu.

    The Model Render Mode menu lets you specify how the 3D shape appears.

  3. Choose Illustration to see a line-art version of the 3D model (see Figure 12).
  4. When you've finished experimenting with the rendering mode, choose Solid from the Model Render Mode menu. (You can also restore the original background, if you like. Click the arrow next to the Background Color button to open the Background Color swatch, and then select gray.)

    Next, you'll change the lighting effects by using the Enable Extra Lighting menu.

  5. Expand the Enable Extra Lighting menu. Experiment to get the visual effects you want. When you're finished, choose White Lights from the pop-up menu.

    The Toggle Cross Section menu allows you to show and hide cross-sections of the object as well as create your own cross-sections.

  6. Click the arrow to expand the Toggle Cross Section menu, and choose Show Cross Section (see Figure 13). A horizontal cross-section of the model is created automatically (z axis).
  7. Click the arrow to expand the Toggle Cross Section menu again, and choose Cross Section Properties. You change the cross-section view in this dialog box.
  8. Drag the dialog box to the side so that you can see the model. (Drag the dialog box by its title bar.)
  9. In the Cross Section Properties dialog box, select the Enable Cross Section option. Choose Y-Axis. Select the color box next to the Show Intersections option and choose the highlight color. We chose blue, as shown in Figure 14. In much the same way, select a color for the cutting plane. We chose red.
  10. Click Save Section View to save your cross-section view. Click OK to close the View Properties dialog box. After you have saved the values, you can access this view from the Views menu on the 3D toolbar. Click the Close button to close the dialog box.

    Now you'll rename the cross-section view that you just created—SectionViewn. You'll rename the view using the Manage Views command in the Views menu.

  11. Click the arrow to expand the Views menu, and choose Manage Views. You may need to move the pointer over the 3D model in the document pane to show the 3D toolbar.
  12. In the Manage Views dialog box, select the name of the view you just created (SectionViewn). Select the name in the text box next to the Rename button, type CrossSection, and click Rename (see Figure 15).
  13. Click OK to close the dialog box.

    You've created and named a view. (You can also create and name views by using the Options menu in the Views pane.) Now you'll test your new view.

  14. Click the model to activate it. Use any of the tools on the toolbar to change the view. For example, rotate the model to bring the cross-section plane to the front.
  15. Expand the Views menu, and choose CrossSection to return to the view you just created.
  16. Click the Toggle Cross Section button to turn off the cross-section feature.
  17. Click the Default View button to return to the default view of the model.
  18. Choose File > Save As, and save the file using the name New_Bottle.pdf.
5. Showing and Hiding Model Parts with the Model Tree | Next Section Previous Section