In March, Tech Soft 3D finally released Tetra4D Enrich. For those who are working 80 hour weeks and not awares, Enrich is how you crush it with 3D PDFs. It’s a tool to make interactive tech documents quickly, from inside Acrobat.

Isn’t a 3D PDF good enough? Well, if you actually use 3D PDFs, congrats, you’re a step ahead of everyone else. What Enrich does is provide a way to add, yes, a 3D viewer to the PDF… plus parts list, plus viewing options, plus entry fields, plus conditional actions and more. It’s the option you want if you’ve ever wished you could customize that 3D PDF or simply make sharing your 3D data better and safer. They’re simple to make as well. If you’re familiar with placing and editing elements in Acrobat already, this works exactly the same. So, let’s go through the process and show how you can have an interactive PDF in 4 easy steps. Note: The screenshots below are taken in Acrobat Pro DC.

First Things First – Make A Template

Although you can create a 3D PDF using Enrich without a template, it makes the presentation so much slicker if you have one. A template can be any graphical layout, or simply a page with your logo, converted into a PDF. You can use Photoshop or Microsoft Word. Just save it as a PDF and open it in Acrobat. Select Tetra4D Enrich from the Acrobat Tool menu and you’re ready to start adding elements.

tetra-4d-enrich-menu-01The Tetra4D Enrich menu is laid out to guide you through the steps of adding the 3D PDF elements

Step 1 – Add Your 3D Model

Being a product of Tech Soft 3D, developer of the HOOPS Exchange libraries, you can bet Enrich imports nearly all 3D file formats. To add a 3D model, select 3D, Add 3D and draw a box where you want the viewport to appear. Pick your model, select Open and you’re good to go.

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Step 2 – Add A View Carousel

Who wants a flippin’ carousel on their 3D PDF? We do. Next select Carousel, Add carousel. Same process as before. Draw a box where you want the carousel to appear. You’ll see some customization options appear in the right-side properties pane, including checkboxes for the views to include.

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Step 3 – Add A Table

We could stop there, but we won’t. Let’s add a part table. Select Table, Add part list (flat). Draw your box and set your options, including what columns you want to show and what you want to be mapped to each column.
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Step 4 – Add Some Buttons

There’s one caveat to buttons. You need to create a button first in Acrobat. To do that, select the Acrobat Tools, Add button option. If you have some graphical elements for buttons, draw your box over the graphic and name the button. Then select Actions, On button to make the button do your bidding when clicked. Sadly, buttons are limited, but I expect them to add more (like link to other pages, documents or websites) later on.
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Now, one thing to remember. The elements you add are not part of the Undo stack in Acrobat, so if you delete something, don’t expect to get it back. And if you add something you don’t want, you’ll have to select Edit, then delete–the Trash Can icon in the right-side Properties menu after you select an element.

3D PDFs by themselves are extremely useful. I’m not sure why they haven’t taken off more except that perhaps the 3D software companies haven’t really presented them well as an option for sharing and archiving 3D data. 3D PDFs are still useful in that regard, but Tech Soft 3D has extended that with bringing more, much needed capabilities to 3D PDFs. Capabilities that go beyond viewing to help you make documents that capture and present information in an interactive way. Documents that can be used all along the process from design and engineering to manufacturing.

If you have examples of how you are using Enrich, I would absolutely love to see what you’re doing.

It’s available now starting at $1,748.00 USD with a trial available here and sample PDFs here that even work within Adobe Reader.

Author

Josh is co-founder of EvD Media. He engineers and designs, is the Director of Marketing for Luxion, is CSWP certified for SolidWorks training and support and excels at falling awkwardly. He is editor of SolidSmack.com and co-host of EngineerVsDesigner.com, a weekly podcast about design, engineering and what makes it all happen.