Altium Designer Documentation

Enhancements to PDF 3D Export (New Feature Summary)

Created: February 25, 2016 | Updated: December 14, 2017
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Altium Designer's ability to export an interactive 3D view of a PCB design to a PDF document has delivered a universal, platform-independent visualization medium for all involved in the development and production of the design.  The resulting PDF document provides a fully-rendered 3D model of the complete board design that can be viewed, configured and manipulated in Adobe® Acrobat® Reader (version 9 or higher).

In this new release, the PDF 3D exporter has been enhanced through a range of refinements and additional capabilities to provide further value for external stakeholders and board production houses.  These include:

Predefined 3D views

Adding to the standard views available in Adobe Reader's 3D mode – Default (angular perspective), Top, Bottom, Left – custom views can also be made available in a PDF 3D file exported from Altium Designer, based on Key Frame views defined in the  PCB 3D Movie Editor panel.

An individual Key Frame defined in the Movie Editor simply captures the current 3D view in Altium Designer, and is saved along with other defined Key Frames in the PCB document. Multiple Key Frames are combined to form a 3D Movie definition, which can be replayed in Altium Designer as a 3D 'movie' that smoothly sweeps between the zoom/perspective defined by each Key Frame.

Key Frames defined in the Movie Editor define static 3D views for an exported 3D PDF document.
Key Frames defined in the Movie Editor define static 3D views for an exported 3D PDF document.

Key Frames defined in a PCB document can now be integrated in the PDF 3D export by checking the Use 3D Movie view option in the PDF3D dialog, which is instigated by selecting File » Export » PDF3D or when configuring an Export PDF3D output in an Outjob. The Key Frames exported to the PDF 3D document will then be available as selectable views in Acrobat Reader.

When the PDF 3D document is opened in Adobe Reader, the additional Key Frame views appear in the View selection area of the Model Tree navigation pane, along with the standard Default/Top/Bottom/Left views.

Video: Custom Key Frame views created in Altium Designer's PCB 3D Movie editor can be included as selectable views in an exported PDF 3D document.
Video: Custom Key Frame views created in Altium Designer's PCB 3D Movie editor can be included as selectable views in an exported PDF 3D document.

Key Frame views created in the Movie Editor can be named as required, to suit the view intention in the exported PDF. For example, a defined Key Frame view that zooms in on particular section of the PCB assembly that you would like to highlight can be named accordingly.

Page Setup options

The properties of an exported PDF 3D document can now be set through a Page Setup dialog opened from the PDF3D dialog.

When an PDF 3D export is instigated (File » Export » PDF3D), use the button to access the page properties and define the document's size, orientation and margin offsets.

Design metadata in PDF Properties

Basic design metadata from Altium Designer is now included in an exported PDF 3D document.

The data includes the design source file, its author, the Altium Designer version, creation/modification dates, etc. The information can be viewed in Adobe Reader under the Description tab in the Document Properties dialog – File » Properties.

Outjob changes

Also available as a batch output job, the PDF 3D file generation option is now found under the Documentation Outputs category in the Output Job Editor. Select Add New Documentation Output, and choose the PDF3D option and a source PCB document to add the output job.

To configure the PDF3D Outjob, double-click on its name entry to open the PDF3D dialog. Right-clicking on the job will open a context menu that offers a wider range of options, including Page Setup. Note that a PDF3D Outjob is assigned to the PDF output container type in the Output Containers panel on the right.

 

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