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Hidden Lines erroneously rendered in drawing PDF export.

Discussion in 'Using Alibre Design' started by danwilley, Mar 17, 2020.

  1. danwilley

    danwilley Member


    I am working on a project that has parts, intermediate assemblies... with top level assemblies incorporating the lower level assemblies and parts... essentially three levels of design. (Sorry to those that may already know this from my other posts. I want to make this thread stand alone for those reading this 6 months from now.) I have produced drawings at all three levels. I export those drawings as PDF documents. For the highest level (top) assemblies only, the drawings look great while in Alibre. But once I export those drawings as PDF files, the resultant PDF file renders all of the components with hidden lines visible. Looks horrible... see attached screen shots. What am I doing wrong?

    Alibre build: 20072


    Drawing in Alibre.JPG Drawing as PDF.JPG
  2. DavidJ

    DavidJ Alibre Super User Staff Member

    Did you 'publish to PDF', or did you use 'Print' ? If print, which virtual printer?
  3. danwilley

    danwilley Member


    I used 'Publish to PDF' from the Gem. After the process completes, the Adobe Reader is automatically launched (or I launch it manually at a later time)... and I print from the Adobe Reader.

    Your question made me think to look at my installed Adobe Ready version (not sure if it has anything to do with this problem) and I was on the Adobe release from February 4th, 2020. For completeness, I just installed the most recent Adobe release from March 5th, 2020 and regenerated the PDF using 'Publish to PDF". I got the same results.

    My most recent Windows 10 update occurred yesterday (Tuesday) 3/17/2020.

    Here is a portion of the current 'system report' from my installed Adobe Reader.

    Installed Acrobat: C:\Program Files (x86)\Adobe\Acrobat Reader DC\Reader\AcroRd32.exe
    Version: 20.6.20042.371103
    Creation Date: 2020/03/05
    Creation Time: 6:10:56 PM
    Locale: English (United States)
    Name: AMD Radeon HD 5700 Series
    Resolution: 1280 x 1024 x 60
    Bits per pixel: 32
    OS Manufacturer: Microsoft Corporation
    OS Name: Microsoft Windows 10
    OS Version: 10.0.18363 ​

  4. DavidJ

    DavidJ Alibre Super User Staff Member

    Try using Print instead - there are plenty of free PDF applications out there which install a 'virtual printer' (some will try to also install 'bonus' software that you don't want, so watch the options carefully when installing). Microsoft's 'Print to PDF' might work - but quite a few problems have been reported with it.

    Hopefully that will allow you to make progress.
  5. danwilley

    danwilley Member

    Hi David,

    Okay good news... I changed PDF writers and that fixed the problem. Thank you!

    I was using the "Built-In PDF Writer" which has this issue. (Using GEM->"Print" did not help.) I changed to the "Microsoft Print To PDF" and that works (using GEM->"Publish to PDF").

    To recap... all lower level parts and intermediate assemblies always printed okay. It was only the highest level assemblies (those assemblies that contain intermediate assemblies and parts) that had this issue.

    I attached a screen shot to help others see where to make this PDF writer change.
    From the Alibre Gem, select "System Options", then "Drawings.PDF".

    Alibre Design™ Expert, Build 20072

    PDF Writer Change.JPG
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2020
  6. JST

    JST Alibre Super User

    I have had the best results using "PDF995" and printing to it from the program. It shows up on the printer list. Never a problem.
  7. danwilley

    danwilley Member

    I guess I spoke too soon...

    Yesterday, I changed the PDF Writer (from "Built-in PDF Writer" to "Microsoft Print to PDF") which fixed the hidden line problem (see above). Today I am trying to generate the final set of PDF drawings to email to the client. But now all of the shaded views of parts and assemblies have a washed out look on the resultant PDF file. I tried another PDF Writer and it generates the same washed out PDFs.

    I have attached three screen shots to illustrate...

    1) The view from within the Alibre drawing editor.
    2) PDF as generated by the built-in PDF Writer which looks great. (As an intermediate assembly, it does not have the hidden line problem).
    3) PDF as generated by "Microsoft Print to PDF" (and another PDF printer). Washed out.

    Any ideas how to fix this?


    Drawing editor within Alibre.JPG

    As shown within the Alibre drawing editor.

    Built In PDF Writer.PDF.JPG

    Resultant PDF file as generated by Alibre built in PDF Writer. Looks great.

    Washed Out PDF.JPG

    As generated by "Microsoft Print to PDF" and another PDF writer. Washed out.
  8. danwilley

    danwilley Member

    Follow-up... I installed two other PDF file writers, "PDF995" and "CuteWriter"... "Microsoft Print to PDF" was already installed. I did orthogonal testing at all levels of parts, intermediate assemblies, and top level assemblies... with the "built in" PDF writer and the three installed PDF writers (Microsoft, PDF995 and CuteWriter) The results are the same for the three installed writers but some what reversed from the "Built in Writer".

    The summary of my testing is as follows:

    "Built-in PDF Writer"
    • Correct shading at all levels of parts/assemblies,
    • Incorrect rendering of hidden lines but only at top levels of assembly. Intermediate assemblies and low level parts are fine (no hidden lines).

    "Microsoft Print to PDF", "PDF995" and "CuteWriter"
    • Incorrect shading at all levels of of parts/assemblies.
    • Correct rendering of hidden lines at all level of parts/assemblies.

    So at this point after spending so many hours on this problem, I suppose I will have to use the "Built In PDF Writer" to generate PDFs for all intermediate assemblies and parts (because that writer produces correct shading), but switch to the "Microsoft PDF Writer" for all top level assemblies (because it renders correctly, no hidden lines, but has washed out shading.) I will just have to live with not so good looking top level PDF drawings, I guess.

    Thanks to those that have tried to help.

  9. Idahoan

    Idahoan Member

    Are you using legacy graphics or the updated HOOPS?

  10. danwilley

    danwilley Member

    Hi Dave,

    I am very new to the Alibre environment. How do I determine that (my apologies)?
    Just guessing...I grabbed a screen shot of my Alibre display settings. Does it answer your question?


    Display Settings.JPG
  11. idslk

    idslk Alibre Super User

    Hello Dan,


    and yes, it seems to be related to Hoops...

  12. danwilley

    danwilley Member

    Ok thanks. That box is unchecked so I am running Hoops.

    Hopefully the "Built in PDF Writer" function will be fixed in 21. Either through a tweak to the built in writer or maybe even to Hoops.

    Also to the Alibre product team... I do like the "Built in PDF Writer" functionality more than the other three writers I installed. (PDF995 suite however has a huge amount of ancillary function, but I am just talking basic PDF file generation). The built-in pre-loads the file name, and it allows you to append multiple sheet drawings to the same file. Simple things but it adds up when you are doing a 25+ sheet refresh. One added function I wish it had is the ability to PDF all sheets in an assembly with one action. (Maybe it does and I haven't discovered it yet.)

    albie0803 likes this.
  13. Idahoan

    Idahoan Member

    You may find that if you disable Hoops, at least some of your problems will go away; the light shading seems to be related to Hoops also.
    I too hope that the PDF issue gets fixed.

  14. JST

    JST Alibre Super User

    Yes... with PDF995, you can print the PDF one by one, BUT, you can assemble them, and anything else you want, together into a "project package" by combining many PDF pages into one PDF file, as well as the ability to extract pages from other PDFs, etc, etc.

    None of the last several Alibre versions have had a built-in that seemed to work right. Back during 3DS times, or thereabout, it did seem to work, and did 3D correctly. Not recently.

    I have had hidden line problems, but they have been in the program display. They have not cropped up in any actual paid work files, either in the display, or in printing. I have been using HOOPS, and PDF995, for whatever that is worth. Have not used shading, will have to check that out.

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