[pdftex] pdftex supported formats: what about 3d objects?

George N. White III gnwiii at gmail.com
Fri Mar 2 16:25:59 CET 2007

On 3/2/07, Paolo Cignoni <cignoni at gmail.com> wrote:

> Dear developers of pdftex.
> I was wondering how complicate would be to support the inclusion of 3d
> objects inside pdf generated by pdflatex.
> As you probably know recent pdf specifications (hereby i refer to 1.7
> version of the pdf specs) allow the inclusion of 3d objects inside
> pdfs. Currently (see section 9.5.2 of the specs) the only supported
> format is U3D, a format for which there exists a low level open
> parsing library.
> Unfortunately, to my knowledge, there are not open tools for the
> generation of pdf containing 3d objects, the only available solutions
> are commercial closed ones.
> I am the head designer of MeshLab, an opensource system for 3d objects
> manipulation and conversion, and i am going to include the support of
> the u3d file format to the system. So the last step needed for having
> a complete open chain for generating pdfs with 3d object inside is the
> support of this format by pdftex. I think that probably this should
> not be quite complicate (it should be just the inclusion of another
> stream inside the generated pdf, with some possibly user provided
> metadata)
> I came from the 3d world and i have some knowledge of the U3D format
> but i do not have any knowledge of the internals of TeX.
> I would be happy of providing you any help you could require in this
> task.  I really think generating pdf with a 3d object inside would be
> a feature very appreciated by the research community.
> Waiting for an answer,

Pdftex can embed pdf documents, so in principle it should not be
necessary to provide specific u3d support in pdftex, just a generic
u3d to pdf tool (which would be of interest to a wider community than
just TeX users).  In practice, when I embed
<http://cic.nist.gov/vrml/cis/DesignData3.pdf> (pdftex 1.40.3 from TeX
Live 2007 on i386 linux) the image is included but the 3d content is
lost (and the output pdf is much smaller than DesignData3.pdf).  This
file was not created from U3D -- don't know  how that affects the pdf

I've never had much luck trying to use pdf's with 3d content -- I
suspect my hardware and drivers are not up to the required level.

George N. White III <aa056 at chebucto.ns.ca>
Head of St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia

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