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

Heiko Oberdiek oberdiek at uni-freiburg.de
Fri Mar 2 17:07:15 CET 2007

On Fri, Mar 02, 2007 at 11:25:59AM -0400, George N. White III wrote:

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

However, pdfTeX doesn't include annotations. U3D inclusion in
PDF is done by a special 3D annotation (if I have understood
the PDF specification correctly).
  As far as I could see pdfTeX has the required means to
implement the necessary data structures (arbitrary annotations,
stream objects, ...). Thus it should be possible to add U3D directly
at TeX macro level (however I don't have the time to prove it).

Yours sincerely
  Heiko <oberdiek at uni-freiburg.de>

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