PDF 2.0 adds STEP 3D model support

Excerpt: With the publication of ISO/TS 24064 PDF 2.0 now supports three 3D formats: U3D, PRC and STEP.

About the author: Peter Wyatt is the PDF Association’s CTO and an independent technology consultant with deep file format and parsing expertise, who is a developer and researcher actively working on PDF technologies … Read more

April 6, 2022
by Peter Wyatt

On April 3, 2022 the ISO sub-committee responsible for PDF (ISO TC 171 SC 2) reported results from the final ballot of the first extension technical specification (TS) that adds STEP 3D model support to PDF 2.0. ISO/TS 24064 Document management – Portable Document Format – 3D data streams conforming to the ISO 10303:242 was approved for publication without any negative votes; the published specification should be available very soon.

PDF 2.0 therefore now supports three 3D formats:

Engineering drawing and finished piece.All three interactive 3D visualization model formats can utilize PDF 2.0’s RichMedia annotation framework, but PDF 1.6 and PDF 1.7 files can only use the U3D format with 3D annotations.

The ISO working group responsible for PDF/Engineering (ISO TC 171 SC 2 WG 7) is now also researching the possible addition of the Khronos Group’s glTF 3D model format as a future PDF 2.0 extension.

If your organization or documents could benefit from adopting STEP 3D models in PDF then be sure to speak with your PDF vendor to confirm their support schedule for ISO/TS 24064 Document management – Portable Document Format – 3D data streams conforming to the ISO 10303:242.  All draft extension specifications are available to members of the PDF Association through our Category A liaison with ISO for review and comment by technical developers. Developers can also discuss these extensions in the appropriate PDF Association technical community. 

In upcoming articles, I will highlight some of the exciting new features in other PDF 2.0 extensions currently in their final ISO balloting phase, as well as a short series of technical articles on how to correctly declare, support and distinguish private data from PDF extensions in PDF processors.