3D PDF files

Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF) is the standard for sharing graphics. But PDF also supports interactive 3D content. With Adobe Reader you can view the 3D object and spin it around. PDF files with 3D content (or simply "3D PDF files") can be a very powerful way to share shape and graphics... especially for packaging.

Visit www.adobe.com to get Adobe Reader and the browser plug-in for free. You'll need at least version 7.0.8.

Try it for yourself

A quick compatibility test

When viewing 3D PDF files, there can be some limitations, this depends on your operating system, graphics hardware and Adobe Reader preferences. Here is a quick test to see if you're getting the most out of the 3D viewing experience:

  • Step 1: Basics
    Download this file and open it in Adobe Reader or Adobe Professional. Click and drag with the mouse to spin the object around. If you don't see any 3D object at all, go to the troubleshooting section.
  • Step 2: Check for Hardware Rendering
    Have a look at the small type, does it looked jagged or smooth? If the text looks jagged, Adobe is falling back on an inferior software renderer. You'll get the best quality when using hardware rendering instead. See the trouble-shooting section to switch to hardware rendering.
  • Step 3: Check for Highlights
    This example is a flexible package, it is supposed to look shiny. Spin the object around and look for highlights that move over the surface. They should be clearly visible in the dark parts of the package. You need hardware rendering to see the highlights.
  • Step 4: Check support for large textures
    The artwork that is printed on the package is embedded in the 3D PDF file as an image (often referred to as the 'texture'). If the artwork is embedded at a too high resolution, the texture might become too big for your hardware to display it properly. Have a look at these samples. They all contain the same packaging object, saved at different resolution. You can download and view these to check for quality or performance issues that depend on texture size.
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