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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.

Manipulating a 3D Model

You manipulate a 3D model by selecting the appropriate tool on the 3D toolbar (see Figure 5) and dragging with your pointer in the document pane. When you manipulate a model, it may help to think of viewing the stationary 3D model from a camera's perspective.

The following table lists the additional tools shown in Figure 5.




Rotate tool


Spin tool


Pan tool


Zoom tool


Fly tool


Camera Properties


3D Measurement tool


Add 3D Comment tool


Default View


Views menu

Now you'll experiment with manipulating the 3D model by using the tools on the 3D toolbar.

  1. If necessary, move your pointer over the 3D model to show the 3D toolbar again.
  2. On the Acrobat 3D toolbar, click the Rotate tool to select it, and then drag your pointer in the work area to rotate the model. Experiment by dragging your pointer down, up, and across while watching the degree and direction of rotation of the model.
  3. To spin the model, select the Spin tool. Drag up, down, and from side to side. Notice that the vertical up-and-down motion is limited. Spinning turns a 3D model parallel to two fixed axes—the x axis and the z axis. Rotation with the Rotate tool is not constrained in this way.
  4. To pan the model, select the Pan tool. Drag up, down, and across the document pane. The model moves both vertically and horizontally.

    You also can pan with the Rotate tool by holding down the Ctrl key as you drag. With a double-button mouse, holding down both buttons allows you to pan.

  5. To zoom in and out, select the Zoom tool. Drag up in the document pane to make the image larger; drag down to make the image smaller.
  6. Select the Fly tool to navigate through the model while maintaining the surface orientation. To rotate the camera view, move your pointer into the document pane, click the left mouse button, and drag to turn the camera view.

    The Camera Properties button opens the Camera Properties dialog box, where you can set the camera angle, alignment, and other properties that define the lens through which the 3D model is viewed.

    You use the 3D Measurement tool to measure part sizes and distances in 3D models. The enhanced 3D Measurement tool in Acrobat 9 supports four types of measurements:

    • Perpendicular distance between two straight edges
    • Linear distance between two points
    • Radius of circular edges
    • Angle between two edges (or three points)

    When the 3D Measurement tool is selected, specific points and edges are highlighted as you move the pointer over the 3D model. Measurements are associated with specific views and are added to the view hierarchy in the Model Tree. Measurement markups are preserved after the document is closed. You can also convert measurements to comments.

    The 3D Comment tool allows you to add a sticky note that's view-specific.

  7. Click the Default View button to return to the default view of the model.

The Walk tool, used primarily when working with architectural 3D models, pivots the model horizontally around the scene when you drag horizontally in the document pane, and moves forward or backward in the scene when you drag vertically. The elevation is constant.

  1. To access the Walk tool (it looks like a pair of shoeprints), right-click the 3D model and choose Tools > Walk.
  2. Drag in the model area to see how the Walk tool works.

    If you lose sight of the model at any time, click the Default View button to return to the opening view.

3. Using the Views Menu | Next Section Previous Section