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Speeding up PDF printing.



When I'm in top plan view of my 3D model and I print a pdf it's fairly quick.

But I find if I've created any views, for example an isometric view as a "convert copy to lines" using the hidden line render to show my client, when it comes to making a PDF of this it takes ages.

I'm using exactly the same settings for both, paper size, dpi etc. and I've even reduced both these in an attempt to speed things up without much impact.

It seems once you convert anything like a 3D model to line it takes an age to print. Is it just the shear number of lines created that the pdf printer sees and has to process that causes this slow down or how VW gives over the file info?

I know I could just do a hidden line render view

of my model, then pdf that but I've had experience of crashes during each part of the process with much wasted time going that route.

You have to wait ages for the hidden line render, so why not get something "permanent" out of it.I can add lines and delete unwanted ones, detail etc before pdf creation in this way.

Is it me, have I got a print problem in pdf or is it like this for everybody? It occurs in both my pdf printers. Adobe and pdf995.

When I look in the print processing area, this is Windows OS, the thing is ticking over really slowly, about 100k every couple of seconds, which when the file is 45 mb in the processing thats a long old wait.

Once they are done they open as pdf quickly and are small files, about 300K.

Anybody else experience the same?

Usually printing to A3 at 300 dpi.



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I can't because I'm still waiting for it to create the pdf !! ;~)

As I said in my original post, I guess its the shear number of lines it creates so I guess you're confirming that if its complex, a 3D model at about 45mbs, I'm going to have to wait.

Its about 30-35 minutes a pdf and although I can do other stuff, like this, while I wait, I'd rather be working on the file so as to get to bed at a reasonable time !!


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Originally posted by wv_vectorworker:

do a "convert copy to lines" on a complex object, then ungroup it, select all, and see how many objects in the group.

I am betting it will surprise you how many lines are created.

Not surprised, as I've seen the time an ungroup takes and the lines deselecting like ants crawling through my drawing.

I'd like it to get to the speed the equivalent sized full colour visual in Photoshop takes to pdf, about 5 seconds max.

Wishful thinking I guess. I think its a case of talking bitmap to print spooling, over vector line processed to bitmap then to spooling that gives the time difference. I don't know the correct process but I guess it's something like that.

The answer by the way, after an hours wait for pdf creation is - 130603 lines.

Another workround I've used to get a "visual result" to a client to view is an export to Artlantis and some basic lighting on the untextured model, render out and pdf. Quicker in these circumstances than waiting for the VW line pdf !!

All the best


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Hi Delmer

thanks for that, I'll check it out.

Hoping somebody would say "you need to do this ... blah blah.. postscript .. etc. and you'll have the line quality output you want and the speed."

It's late and I've still got three renders to sort before hitting the sack ...

Thanks again


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Alan, I don't have many answers for printing problems because I usually can't relate. Am I wrong or are most of the printing problems Mac related? (Maybe just most users have Macs?) The only time my pdfs slow down is in drawings completely hatch-laden, and even then no more than 30 seconds or so for a 30"x42".

If this helps here are my default distiller settings:

Print Quality 300dpi

ICM disabled

ICM Intent: Pictures

Download True Type as Softfont

Postscript optimized for speed

Postscript language level: 3

Others at typical defaults.

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I'm sure its to do with the fact I'm taking a 3D model and converting it to line that's the problem. Look at the number count from my last pdf.

I did a stint a Christmas time doing working drawings for an exhibition company. All 2D work from 3D visuals created by them in 3D Max(don't ask why not Vectorworks)

With a wealth of detail and up to ten drawing sheets the files still only came out at around 6 mb's. with print times and pdf creation almost an instant after hitting the print button.

I can't seem to get anything lower than about 35mb's for my stuff but it is about 90% 3D in the file.

Why is it the plans etc in 3D print so much quicker though, that's what I can't figure, its got to have even more lines because its viewed in wireframe.


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I'm sure you're right. There's a multiplication factor involved when a vector element is broken apart. A simple wall with a half dozen parameters becomes a multitudinous set of line segments compounded by cutouts, foreground objects and colinear items. Polylines will be a whole other level of added coplexity if there were many of those.

With a wireframe object its not the number of lines that causes file size explosion, but how those lines are registered by the program/computer. A wireframe box is a recorded as one object with length, width, height, position (& some incidentals). Convert it into lines and you have, what, 12 objects with their positions and lengths to record.

[ 06-29-2005, 09:46 AM: Message edited by: Delmer ]

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Make sure you've set the Vectorworks resolution (in the Print Dialog) to 300 for .pdf's. The default is 360dpi. For some reason, that extra 60 lines (or rather, dots) makes a huge difference when creating .pdf's. You'll get both smaller .pdf file size as well as quicker renders.

By the way, for complex pages I find it quicker to print to .ps (post script) and then use Adobe's Distiller to batch "distill" to .pdf. As an added bonus, this route yields even more condensed file sizes.

Good luck,

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