Import PDF to Sketchup

Here we go again – PDF import please!

Perhaps instead of ignoring the millions of requests for this absolutely ESSENTIAL feature, perhaps you could work up the strength and decency to tell us all WHY it’s not included.

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I think you’d have to ask the “Wondows” people. It’s included on Mac because the operating system makes it possible. Windows no.

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Is that really true? I mean, many other CAD/Modeling software (on Windows) allow PDF import with no problem. Why Sketchup is the exception? All we are looking for is an expiration date when PDF support will be added or an actual date EXPLANATION why it is not included.

Stop hiding behind the Internet Trimble and start respecting your users…

the macOS API returns an image (= raster data) only, nothing to deal with in the context of vector geometry.

If it’s possible to make an extension to handle PDF import, how is it not possible to allow PDF import natively within the SU framework?

I don’t know about the libraries used, but the same seems to apply to certain 3D file formats as well. For example, the OBJ export is provided, not the import.

I don’t think anyone is cowering or hiding. @DaveR you were 100% correct that we included PDF support on Mac because Mac OS natively supports the creation of the PDF file format. Windows doesn’t. Extension developers have chosen to redistribute the software that allows them to create PDF files.

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Interesting. So SU may not natively support PDF import on Windows, but it is possible to create an extension that does. How does this work?

Where is the solution here?

There are tools that exist on the web to do that. some are free to use, some are not. some will let you use them as long as you don’t make money reselling them.

So a random developer can take one of these tools, fork it a bit, make it work, and release an extension.
But a Sketchup developer can’t. Or at least, it can’t unless Trimble pays a lot of money.

  • The same thing happened a few years ago with video export. We had multiple export formats, and now we only have mp4, due to license fees (that was the consensus at the time)

  • Autodesk has the same system with DWG. You will find many free CAD programs that can open DXF, the free version of a 2Dcad file. But DWGs are proprietary files and so you can’t open them the way you want. I am using Qcad, the free version only had DXF, the payment opens DWG, part of the fee pays for the license.

  • finally, you will find the same idea with google map. You can access the Google map. you can take a screenshot. you can import the screenshot into SU. It’s not brain surgery, I’m sure a developer could pull something out of Google Earth and export it directly to SU. I mean, it used to work that way during the Google years. But Google does not support licensing Google maps to third parties. Therefore, Trimble cannot (any longer) include Google Map in the geolocation system.

As a general rule of thumb in computers and software, just because an individual can do something doesn’t mean a company can do it.

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the PDF format is a hybrid format that can contain raster and/or vector data. The macOS PDF engine only provides raster data, so SU on Mac includes support for raster PDF.

I fully understand that certain file formats are proprietary and that developers of third-party software that use those file formats must pay for their use. I’m sure Trimble already pays these fees for the proprietary file formats it includes.

Clearly I’m missing something. For one, Trimble says SU for Windows doesn’t support PDF import like the MAC version does. BUT Trimble is already using PDF import on MAC, so it’s already in use, along with rights paid to use it if that’s the case.

Apparently a Windows extension is possible somehow, but no one is doing it. The infrastructure appears to be in place, fees paid, etc., but Windows users still don’t have PDF import capabilities… via an extension.

Where is the basic truth of all this?…

Mac OS has a PDF raster tool included. Windows no.
Which means that any software on a Mac can use the included macos tool to import a PDF as just an image. any vector without paying any additional fees.

Same idea, Mac OS comes (or at least used to) with more fonts than Windows. Things like Helvetica. Using a Mac and software on a Mac allows you to use Helvetica.
If you’re working on a PC, you’re supposed to buy it, or work with software you paid for (hello Adobe)

It’s the wonderful world of licensed stuff.

In addition, there is a risk that companies like Trimble absorb external solutions.

Let’s say tomorrow Fredo6 designs from scratch a new solution that will allow you to import PDF files as vectors with layers as labels. excellent.

Now, at the next development meeting, Trimble says “yeah, good stuff, let’s put it in our standard SU”.

there are three solutions in front of them:

  • buy it. They could just buy the tool from Fredo6. It’s expensive, but hey, it’s done. This is why tech companies buy each other all the time, it’s faster to buy a startup with the tech you need
  • steal it. They could just look at the extension, redesign it, and BAM. The problem is that Fredo6 could sue, and if they can prove it, they’d get even more money (check out Halt and Catch Fire season 1, it’s mostly about that)
  • they could simply design it from scratch. without looking at what Fredo6 did, because they don’t want to be sued. They would hire lawyers to oversee the entire process, in case it (again, stalls and catches fire)

There is a similar situation in the world of Pokémon. I recently read that one of the main creators of Pokémon in recent years does not go on fan sites, social networks, etc. Because Nintendo’s fear is that the guy sees a design, an idea, and then, even without thinking, he adapts. and use it.
And they could end up getting sued by the fan for concept theft and making money off of it.

So there you have it, why is it so complex to develop things? Between licensing issues and existing stuff, you’re walking on eggs. I mean, do you know why no other 3D software has a pushpull tool (or at least until recently)? It is patented by Sketchup. So any rival company would have to buy a license (lol), steal it (even more so haha), or develop it from scratch again, and risk litigation.

My job is to use Sketchup, an excellent product, copy the graphic part of your pdf, convert it to a jpg to import it to SKU

Understood. However, it seems as if all the correct legal infrastructure is already in place, since SU for MAC already has PDF import (raster only though).

That being said, there are many extensions that do the same thing, or versions of it. How is that different from making an extension for PDF import?

If Trimble refuses to open his mouth and explain to all of us what is REALLY going on, all we can do is continue in the dark and assume that Trimble is deliberately avoiding the problem.

As I wrote before, that’s an Apple thing.

A bit more in depth clarification would be helpful. Is that possible?

It seems to me that vector pdf import in LayOut would make more sense than vector import in SketchUp.

For one thing, while there is a way to embed a 3D vector model in a pdf, at heart it’s a 2D format. They must exist I guess, but I have yet to find a pdf that uses 3D capability and common pdf apps can’t handle it.

SketchUp is always 3D, even if you’re drawing on a single plane. The only way to get multiple plans in pdf is if the document contains multiple pages, but each page is independent of the others. There is no concept of one page being above or below another. That’s why pdf apps display them sequentially.

Second, there is a better mix between the drawing features of LayOut and pdf than with SketchUp. Pdf includes many properties, such as line width and corner joins, that do not exist in SketchUp. In SketchUp, edges are thought of as face boundaries, not drawing lines.

Third, pdf rendering is based on the “painter’s algorithm” whereby things drawn later overlap and obscure things drawn earlier without any other interaction. Two intersecting lines do not intersect. A face that partially overlaps another face does not split it.

Pdf is actually a programming language that tells a printer or other 2D renderer how to output a page. That’s why so many applications other than PDF editors import only a raster image equivalent to the printed page. Vector scaling takes place during rendering; it is not available afterwards because it is equivalent to restarting the rendering process with a different initial scale.

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
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