Import PDF to Sketchup

Excuse the miscommunication, I mean 2D PDFs and yes, Layout desperately needs that too, and it’s an extremely sore point on its own. I meant a global addition for 2D PDF import, SU being the master software.

As far as I know, DWG files also embed line weights, based on the pen selection, so I don’t see this as a hindrance to PDF import. SU is not lineweight aware and therefore defaults to singular lineweights, which for the most part is fine. Any small modification to line weight can be addressed with overlays within Layout.

Yes, discrepancies in terms of Z-axis line layers can exist in PDFs, just as they do in DWG files, but luckily they can be flattened relatively easily.

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Have. in a demo. it was disappointing. Just because a pdf is an envelope doesn’t mean we should put everything in it (and since we don’t see 3D pdfs often, the world seems to agree :wink: )

as well as i developed SU for mac has pdf to raster importer because macOS has it. If in the next version MacOS loses it, then SU ​​for mac loses it too. And if Microsoft decides to put a pdf to vector in Windows 12, then SU ​​for PC will be able to have it. plain as that.
(that’s pretty much the same reason behind the weird color panel on Mac, we’re using Apple’s color panel.)

But thinking out loud (on my keyboard), I’m not even sure that the PDF importer extensions are actually vector PDF importers. These tools tend to have costs.
I wonder if they are not just PDF to DXF translators + a dxf import. It’s the super easy solution I’ve used for years, all you need is vector software that can open one and export the other. Illustrator of course, Affinity designer I’m sure, and Inkscape I guess.

Now that’s useful. Thank you. :light_smile:

Would you be satisfied with a pdf importer that, like some dwg files, just ignores everything it doesn’t support and passes drawing errors unchanged? I’m asking because at one point I tried to develop a PDF importer for SketchUp and gave up because all the sample files people sent me were full of these kinds of problems. Too often what could matter was a badly broken part of the original, needing a lot of manual cleanup in SketchUp.

Big question! It’s very interesting to know that you already tried to develop a PDF importer, but you had a lot of problems with the process.
To answer your question, I’m already used to DWG imports ignoring a bunch of required data and just dealing with it, so if a PDF import did the same, I’d be fine with that.

It seems there must be a selectable flattening process included in the 2D import process with PDFs for them to be useful within Sketchup. This is something the existing import of YOUR DWG could absolutely use actually. I’m sure it would be necessary to maintain terrain data DWGs with variable z-axis values. The headaches you encountered developing your PDF importer would be enough to turn anyone off I think. :light_smile:

I’ve been used to importing PDFs into PowerCADD since… I can’t remember. Lately it has become part of my SketchUp → Layout → PowerCADD workflow. Here’s an example:

All sizing here is done on PC based on the converted PDF vector lines.

By the way, I really liked this black vector line work on top and the muted color fill below as a style. I figured out ways to achieve this on PC (layers have a transparency slider like Photoshop and other apps) as well as on Layout (with a mesh layer).

On PC, when you first place a PDF, you see a raster representation, but you can “Convert to Objects” and it warns you there might be a loss of precision, but I haven’t had any problems in practice. When you do that, it extracts the vectorized line (if it exists) and you can go from there. Only the vectorized line conversion layer in the drawing looks like this at first:

Kind of a mess, but so are DWG imports from SU. I mostly group it and apply a lineweight because it becomes a bottomless rabbit hole trying to set different lineweights. It looks like this.

Bottom line: I can sympathize with the feature request because I know what it’s like to have it.

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I have been able to import raster and vector PDFs into AutoCAD for almost 10 years. Nice to have god knows Engsw didn’t have tons of cash to pay for PDF import :wink:

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One use case I remember well for PDF import is an appliance manufacturer who had a PDF cut sheet for their product with plan and elevation views, but no CAD symbols were provided. I imported the PDF and it turned out that the drawing was vectorized. I didn’t care about anything else on the page; just to extract that drawing from him.

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I have done this many times too.

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
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