To date, we have discussed manipulating viewsmanipulating levels and changing the rendered look of 3D PDFs you receive from us. The final frontier (and maybe the coolest feature) is the ability to create and include section cuts through the building as saved views and include them in the PDF. You must have the Pro version of Acrobat to create the views but they are all available in the free Acrobat Reader.

When you open a 3D PDF in Acrobat Pro you’ll notice an additional icon in the toolbar at the top of the view window.

Click on the Cross Sections Properties and the following dialog box opens.

The cross-section plane is oriented perpendicular to the axis selected i.e., choosing Z-Axis would align the plane parallel to the floors of the building. The main configuration for the view is managed through the adjustments in the Position and Orientation box at the bottom of the dialog box.

  • Offset – controls where the plane is cut. For the Z-Axis, it allows you to adjust the elevation of the cut in the building
  • Tilt 1 – controls rotation of the plane about one of the other axes
  • Tilt 2 – controls the rotation of the plane about the other axis.
  • Flip – controls which side of the cutting plane you want to keep.
  • A little experimentation helps determine which axes are controlled by Tilt 1 and Tilt 2.

You can continue to rotate/zoom the view as well as control the display of levels and individual elements to get the presentation exactly like you want (you can move the Properties dialog box to another screen so you can see better!). There are also some other options in the upper right corner of the dialog that is self-explanatory. We typically leave the cutting plane turned off because it throws a cast on the image and makes it a bit more difficult to view. Once you’re satisfied with the view, click the Save View button. Another dialog box opens with settings that can be saved – we typically leave all the boxes checked. The program automatically gives the view a default name. You can continue creating views.

To see all your views, open the Model Tree pane. In addition to the levels in the model, you should now see all the views you’ve created with their generic names. You can double click on the names to rename them. In the screenshot below, the generic view names have already been renamed.

There is currently no convenient way to modify the properties of an existing view so you’ll want to double check your view before saving. However, you can open an existing view as a starting point, reconfigure it, save it as a new view then delete the original.

When a user opens this 3D PDF in the free Reader, the Views drop-down menu

will be populated with the views you have created. They simply select one of the views to see what you have created.

Here’s a practice 3D PDF with several section cuts/saved views created. Click to download.  Try changing the rendered mode to Transparent Wireframe – pretty cool!

NE surgery 3D PDF with section cuts (770 KB)

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