C4D to 3D PDF



   Just a quick announcement to let people know that a 3D PDF exporter is nearing completion for a 1.0 release. We are still working away on it to fine tune a few things but have decided to put the word out now ahead of time. 
   You will be able to export all your geometry and textures from C4D out to a PDF file retaining the exact same hierarchy as was in C4D. No animation at this stage.
   For more info please visit the product page



Hey - I see the possibilities with this - not too sure who you’re aiming at, but being able to send PDF to clients, with images, text and now 3d is quite cool.

At the Melbourne C4D meet up a while ago Pixel showed how they used a 3D PDF on set to run through / and plan a live action sequence.

Keen to see this progress.


Getting the textures to stick has always been a pain for me but you samples look good. I am interested in this.


Yes the main use of a plugin such as this is to allow you to send your files to clients for feedback. Your clients can then also annotate (add comments) directly in the PDF file, save it, and send it back to you. All your client needs is a copy of Acrobat Reader.

The plugin also has a PRC importer and exporter. Currently it only supports tessellated data however. This will allow you to get assets directly from companies that use PRC files in their CAD pipeline to allow you to re-use those assets for creating promotional material.

In the attached screen shots is an image showing example client comments in a scene and how they would be displayed if you clicked on the comment in the PDF.

More information including videos and workflows will be added to the site in time.


very useful indeed. how about the file size? is there some sort of compression involved? i do a lot of product visualisations for audio equipment, and some c4d files can easily have 300mb and more, so if the pdf isn’t significantly smaller, it won’t be practical to send that to my clients.


very cool. count me in…exactly what i need. is there only uv mapping supported or also plane and all the other mapping types?


yes please!

how much geometry can it handle? What are the PDF file sizes like? Is it realistic to think I could stick a whole architectural project in with cameras and landscaping and have it the same basic size as the C4D file? How does it deal with instances? I’m assuming things like mograph need to be expanded?

I’ve been waiting for a 3D-PDF option from C4D that actually works.



Yes there is a lot of compression and optimization going on.

I am still working on more compression so the file sizes for geometry will get even smaller (much smaller infact). But to give you an idea of what is there so far, with standard compression I can shrink a 1.5 million quad polygon model down to 35Meg. The corresponding C4D file is 79Meg. And I expect the file sizes to be even smaller.

The largest factor in file sizes will be textures, but I will be including options to help you manage this.

All UV mapping types are supported. However they are all converted to object uvs during export.

Lots of objects works quite well in PDF files, but single piece huge models consisting of millions of polygons do not rotate too well in an Acrobat Reader.

Instances are still being worked on and I expect to have them working well soon.

I do think you will be able to export an entire architectural project out with all lights, cameras and landscape. However if the C4D parts are all procedural then it will not be the same file size. But even with expanded geometry I believe with the compression we can keep the file size down.

Mograph is currently expanded, however I will be working on instancing of these objects also.

The main goal is to have extremely optimized small file sizes.


hi there!
great work on the plugin. i’ve been searching for a long time to try and get something like this, as my clients want 3d pdf models all the time, and Acrobat is making it harder and harder to do with supported file types.

How’s the alpha / beta coming along?
Any way i can get my hands on an alpha at all?


Hi bahgoogen,

Version 1.0 of plugin was finished early this year but due to other work commitments I have not had the time to get it out yet. Hopefully I will have it out in the next month or 2.




Here is the Augenpulver Cartoon Turtle sample scene that ships with C4D, as a 3D PDF.


EDIT: The above document has been updated to correctly use Z Up instead of Y Up. So if you previously downloaded this file then it would be worth downloaded it again as the navigation in Acrobat Reader is now working correctly with the “Spin Tool” using a Z Up coordinate system.

Download the file and open it in Acrobat Reader. It will not work in a browser.

To view the scene you will need to allow it to be viewed by Acrobat Reader by clicking on the Options and trusting the document. Then you will need to click once on the page to start the 3D viewer.

If you are hesitant to trust a document from me then feel free to look me up on internet first “GameLogicDesign” and “Kent Barber”.

This document mainly shows that textures, geometry and phong normals are all working correctly.



Very nice kbar!

Will these comply with U3D or PRC standards?


Hi LonChaney,

It complies with PRC 8137 which is what Acrobat Reader currently supports. But there is also internal support for PRC 10001 (ISO 14739-1:2014) but since no readers currently support it I have not allowed it as an export option at this stage. I am also in communication with the ISO standard committee to resolve some issues with PRC 10001 and I have also added in my requests for future updates to this standard.

There is no support for U3D at this stage and I have no intention of adding support for it any time soon. I am mainly focusing PRC for now.

The exporter will export out a separate PRC file for you as well as the PDF file.



Excellent Kent, thank you for the info.
Do you plan on supporting either sequence or spin animations?


The first release will just focus on exporting 3d content. Future releases/updates will include more interactivity in the pdf document itself, such as the spin animations. I will be open to requests for features such as these once the first version is out the door.


– EDIT: Deleted message, and sent as email instead. –


4D Publish Version 1.1 will be released within the next couple of weeks.

Multi-Byte Character Set Support
This update includes a fix for MultiByte Character Sets so that you can use filenames and folder names that require multibyte characters support, such as Japanese.

Also in this update is the ability to set a Password to protect the file. Users will then be required to enter the password to open the PDF in Acrobat Reader.

Custom Templates
And lastly the largest part is a new system to handle Custom Templates. You will be able to create your own templates via a simple json file format. You can choose the template to use at export and select the images to use with the template. In future versions an editor will be included to allow easier creation.


Here is an example json file, the settings at export and the final image in the pdf. Images are scaled to fit the area being drawn to.


This is the image that shows how the layout will look, created in Photoshop. The coordinates of the drawn rectangles from the photoshop image are used to create the template. Full instructions on how to do this will be included in the documentation.


For those not familiar with 3D PDF workflows I will outline a few instances where they are useful for you as a user of Cinema 4D.

If you are a professional user, or freelancer, by incorporating 3D PDF documents into your skill set you could open up a new revenue stream for yourself and also help boost your clients workflows in the process.

Creating Digital Assets for a Client
You may be creating a model for a client. By saving out as a PDF file you can send the model to the client for them to look at. They can add notes directly into the PDF file itself to tell you what parts to change, what camera views they would prefer, and what additions to make on the model. They then simply save the pdf and send the file back to you. When you open the file you will have access to all of your clients notes and their saved camera views. Your clients will be able to view, and edit, the PDF using the free version for Adobe Acrobat Reader. No need for any other special software or a copy of Cinema 4D at all. Only Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Creating Marketing Material
Companies may want something more than just a 2D brochure for their clients. By incorporating 3D models into the PDF documents your clients will be able to show their users what their product really looks like by allowing them to navigate around in full 3D. You could incorporate high resolution product renders of the product as well as a full 3D model for people to have a look at and get a closer look. What does that Shoe look like from a different angle, how does that watch look really close up etc…

Creation of 3D Training Material
The Automotive and Aerospace industries use PDF files heavily in their workflows for creating end user documentation and training materials. Being able to show users the parts of an engine and how it works, in 3D, is much more intuitive than trying to work out a bunch of 2D technical drawings. 4D Publish will supply more tools to help with this workflow in future to allow easy creation of product documentation and training material.

Educational Material
Similar to the above example, you could work with clients to create 3D Educational material to help students learn about many subjects. A map of the human brain, parts of an engine, internal workings of a cell, navigation around a city etc…

I hope these small examples help you to get a feel for what could be done by introducing PDFs to your workflows.