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Unable to extract images from PDF created in VW2015


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Apologies if this has already been logged but search for PDF is too short to return any results.

Probably user error but...in VW2015/RW on OSX 10.10

I created a large 300dpi A0 sheet with multiple hi-res rendered images and exported the sheet as PDF. The client wanted to copy the individual images into their own document.

I tried to copy each image from inside various versions/platforms of acrobat reader but even though the correct image area copied to clipboard, the pasted image was either blank or black.

In the end i managed to achieve this in the iOS dropbox app and paste to photo viewer then email, but it wasnt a great solution especially as i had to do it on a moving bus and knew at some point i would lose the 3G/4G signal.

Any idea what is going wrong? I tried a selection of images, ranging 2MB to 16MB. I wonder if images were too large to copy, it was simply user error or a bug. Im sure i have done this in VW2011.

I tried with default pdf export settings both with and without the bit to export layers.

The issue was worked around but it would be nice to know for next time.



Edited by IanH
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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee

If you're trying to copy images from another application and paste them into Vectorworks directly, it may have worked before but it wasn't a "supported" method and may have been broken by later changes. I have had a few users come across issue when they either updated Mac OS or Vectorworks versions, then suddenly the old combo they used stopped working. However, if you import the PDF, you can normally either crop the images you want, or ungroup the PDF to get the images individually.

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Thanks but the PDF was created in VW as an exported sheet later - no importing involved.The client wanted to copy/paste images from the pdf (by now exported to dropbox) into different apps but the images pasted as blank/black even though they were the correct size. The only app that I got to work was pdf viewer in the iOS dropbox app but then the problem was that i had to individually email 9 images/~40MB to the client whilst riding on a moving bus.

Edited by IanH
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Ian - awful problem!

I explored a little.

If your file is open in Acrobat Reader 11.0.06 (didn't look for most current)

• I can click an image to highlight and copy to clipboard. If I open that image in Preview via New from Clipboard, I get black. Same result as you.

• I drag a selection marquee around one of the images with selection tool. The image highlights, I copy to clipboard. If I open that image in Preview via New from Clipboard, I get a strange magnification of a cropped area of the orig image. Still not good.

• Edit>Create a Snapshot, drag a marquee. This selection is added to clipboard and creates a good image in Preview. But small. Best to zoom to fill screen, then snapshot the larger view. As far as I can tell, this is same as screenshot. This might work for your client.

• In the Adobe Reader Properties dialog of your file, Security tab, there are several Not Allowed items. Don't know if that's relevant.

If your file is open in Apple Preview, marquee select an image or other area and copy to clipboard. Open that in Preview via New from Clipboard to produce a good image of the selection. Screenshot again. Save that as PDF and it opens properly in Adobe Reader.

At this point, Inspector Clouseau would mutter "swine PDFs"!


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  • Vectorworks, Inc Employee
This feels like a good point to wish for "Export Rendered Viewports as Image Files" or "Export Camera Views as Rendered Image Files"....

The Export Image File command is awful. I wish it was as easy as in C4D.


Looks like we got that wishlisted from this:


It was focused on adding it to Publish, but I put in for it to be available in Export Image as well.

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