This is the final of a series of four reviews that will cover what is contained in the Adobe Technical Communication Suite. Unlike the Adobe Creative Suite, the Technical Communication Suite is geared for technical communicators, help authors, instructional designers, and training professionals. The suite contains four products: FrameMaker, RoboHelp, Captivate, and Acrobat 3D. The goal of this series it to define what each product does and provide information of what the new version brings to the table.
What do you need to run Adobe Acrobat 8 3D? You need Windows, an Intel Pentium III or equivalent processor, Windows 2000 with SP4, XP SP2 or Vista, 512 MB RAM (1 GB recommended) , 800 x 600 (1,024 x 768 recommended), and 1.6 GB hard drive space, NVIDIA or ATI video card with pixel shader support, DirectX 8.1 or 9 is required for video hardware acceleration, and 1024×768 screen resolution.
Adobe Acrobat is a family of computer programs developed by Adobe Systems to view, create, and manage files that are in the Portable Document Format (.PDF). This version, Adobe Acrobat 8 3D is the most specialized of the product family in that, along with having all the features of the rest of the line, it also is capable of rendering 3D images within the PDF file. All versions of the Adobe Acrobat Reader from 7.1 and later are able to view the 3D files.
Acrobat was introduced in June of 1993 for the Macintosh and later for DOS and Windows 3.1. It wasn't until 1994 and version 2 that the reader was released free of charge. Version 8 of Acrobat was released in November of 2006. Adobe Acrobat 8 3D was released on May 31, 2007 and had the ability to produce embedded PRC data; a method to store 3D in a PDF file and Product and Manufacturing Information (PMI) which is used in 3D computer-aided design (CAD) systems.
Adobe Acrobat 8 3D lets CAD, CAM, and CAE users convert almost any CAD file to a compressed 3D PDF file so as to enable 3D based collaboration and CAD interoperability. By having the ability to share Adobe PDF files containing precise geometry and product manufacturing information with other users downstream, lets more users get involved with the manufacturing process without having to purchase CAD translators.
• Convert CAD files to 3D PDF containing precise CAD geometry that contains either tessellated (faceted) data or precise CAD model geometry.
• Export to neutral file formats – will save time and effort by eliminating the need to purchase CAD translators for each CAD format that you work with. By using Adobe Acrobat 8 3D to export CAD model data into a neutral file format such as STEP or IGES, you can provide files that can be used for downstream manufacturing processes. This will streamline your workflow and get to the manufacturing process faster and with more reliability.
• Share Product Manufacturing Information (PMI) – by using Adobe Acrobat 8 3D to distribute 3D designs that contain your PMI to your extended team and enable them to access this information within a PDF file, directly within the 3D file and from the assembly tree.
• Produce highly compressed 3D PDF files – will not only reduce the sizes of the files that are distributed, but also make them in a much more secure. The size of the files can be reduced by as much as 150 times smaller making them easier to share via email.
• Convert almost any CAD file to a 3D PDF – with new conversions that are available.
• Combine files from multiple applications – such as CAD files, office documents as well as spreadsheets and other rich media.
• Share your 3D designs with anyone – since all that they need is Adobe Acrobat Reader version 7.1 or greater. The will have full access to PMI Data, mark up, zoom, rotate, cross section, and much, much more.
• Create 3D cross section – and call attention to parts or sub-assemblies giving everyone a clearer understanding of how your project fits together.
• Reuse CAD design data in marketing and technical manuals – by using the Adobe Acrobat 8 3D toolkit to clean up CAD designs, add/modify lighting, materials, textures, or colors; create exploded views, and then save them as 3D objects.
• Generate assembly instructions – to produce quality technical documentation and communicate more effectively to anyone using the free reader.
• Create PDF files including 3D designs from Microsoft Office Documents – which allow you to easily insert 3D CAD designs into existing and new Office Documents and then convert them to PDF for easy distribution.
It is quite apparent that Adobe Acrobat 8 3D has had a lot of engineering work done to it, especially with regard to PRC and the massive file conversion capabilities. They are also putting a firm foot down within the engineering market.
I found that Adobe Acrobat 8 3D is a really exciting product to work with and the effect it can have on manufacture and design is enormous. When Acrobat started out it was a product that reproduced documents for easy transport. It has now grown to a product that promotes interactivity. Working with Adobe Acrobat 8 3D I see enormous potential as it sits right now, but also for the future. The way it works with the CAD documents, with interactivity, with RoboHelp, Captivate, and FrameMaker, as well as with all of the other Adobe products, and even products from other manufacturers, makes Acrobat a key linchpin product.
It is easy to mistake Adobe Acrobat as just a simple document transport utility, but that would be like placing focus on the train and forgetting that the train is nothing without the rails. Adobe Acrobat 8 3D, like the rest of the Acrobat family, is the support that links not only the Adobe family together, but many other products and people that rely on that transport to get the job done.
If you have the need to move your 3D images through your company, across town, or around the world, Adobe Acrobat 8 3D comes highly recommended as your transportation system.