Embed 3D objects from Mathematica, in a pdf



Acrobat Reader 9+ supports interactive manipulation of 3D objects. See this file for example - another widely used example are PRC objects which may be produced by Asymptote.

Exporting animations produced by ListAnimate or similar is rather easy, see e.g. these instructions.

But, despite the huge range of applications, I did not find any information on how to export 3D objects as such, so that they can be manipulated within Acrobat Reader. I'm not talking about videos or gif, which are not interactive.

The only indirectly-related question about this I found on SE is this question.

Would you have any clues to reach my goal?


Posted 2015-01-18T00:39:28.407

Reputation: 12 994

WRI developed its own format for these purposes: CDF

– ybeltukov – 2015-01-18T13:45:20.343

1@ybeltukov: yes, but that's not pdf... – anderstood – 2015-01-18T13:59:48.093

Just do texdoc media9 in a terminal and read the section on 3D. I don't think this is a Mathematica question. Export of 3D formats is supported, but embedding them in PDF (a non-3D format) for the specific purpose of displaying in Adobe Reader appears to be beyond the scope here. – Jens – 2015-01-19T00:53:43.430

@Jens: sorry but I don't really get your comment: why are you mentioning texdoc? I just want to embed a 3D output from Mathematica to a pdf... And don't tell me 3D objects cannot be embedded in a pdf, I included a link in my question with such a example... – anderstood – 2015-01-19T00:59:36.530

Oh, you can also google latex package media9. I just mention texdoc because that's the standard way to get documentation about TeX packages. That package I refer to allows you embed 3D objects in PDF. But it's a bunch of steps that need to be done external to Mathematica. In fact, the main obstacle is that you need u3d format, and Mathematica doesn't export that directly. – Jens – 2015-01-19T01:08:18.103

@Jens: I was hoping there would be a workaround... At least if there is none, I know I don't have to spend more time on this! – anderstood – 2015-01-19T01:14:14.137


Looks like u3d export is really hard to come by, except for jReality. You might try that...

– Jens – 2015-01-19T03:55:53.910

I see on the jReality site forum there is a discussion of importing from mathematica. – george2079 – 2015-01-19T16:15:59.547

1I think this is a very valid question. When WRI gets around to supporting this, they could also add x3dom support (for web content). Declarative graphics formats (that is, vector graphics formats) for 3D graphics and their support in documents seems much less advanced than 2D vector graphics. For example, except Acrobat Reader I cannot find any other pdf reader that supports 3d objects. – masterxilo – 2017-03-09T13:12:12.830

One reason for the poor standardization of 3D declarative formats is probably that there are many navigation methods for getting around 3D objects and for projecting them to 2D. Also, when people see 3D graphics, they want to get fancy view-dependent effects like specular highlights. And there are many ways to filter textures etc. – masterxilo – 2017-03-09T13:17:36.993

No answers