A 3D PDF (Portable Document Format) is a PDF file with 3D geometry inside. The file contains a 3D geometric representation of the model, not just images from different viewpoints. Using any 3D PDF enabled viewer, rotation, zoom, and part selection are available within the 3D view. This is often used for documentation, sharing, and collaboration.
For some time, PDF documents have been a ubiquitous component of our business interactions. Whether in the office or field, engineering and design professionals depend on PDF files for quick and secure delivery of project documentation. As such, it probably comes as no surprise that MicroStation can output to the PDF format.
What you may not have been aware of is with MicroStation, you can deliver your designs in 3D PDF. To be clear, we’re not talking about a flat illustration of your 3D design, but an actual 3D model with rendered materials you can rotate and manipulate in a PDF viewer.
Because a 3D model contains details that may have been hidden or otherwise obscured in traditional 2D plans, elevations, and sections, but PDF brings more to the table than just the ability to view a file. Powerful mobile devices and readily available PDF viewers have made field markups without a roll of paper drawings a bit more practical.
Using a product such as Adobe’s Acrobat Reader DC, designers and constructors can create “pages” of markups from a single MicroStation master model that has been “Printed” to a 3D PDF.
The process to create a 3D PDF for field markups is similar to standard plotting:
It’s that easy to create a PDF model that’s ready for markups. Review, analysis, and annotation functionality are, of course, dependent upon the PDF viewer you are using. If you are using Acrobat Reader DC, you can rotate and zoom about the model, create sections and new views with notes, clouds, and other annotations.
And there’s more…
While creating 3D geometry for markups is quite useful, there are other features MicroStation delivers with its PDF print facility:
Maybe. While there are a number of solutions for creating field markups, PDFs are a viable entry-level solution. Here is why:
So, are 3D PDFs right for you? It’s easy to find out. Just open MicroStation and give it a go.