I often have to export a 3D graphics to a PDF file, to be opened and edited with my favorite vectorial application ('m using Intaglio, on OS X). I frequently get two problems (see the picture below, as seen in Intaglio) :

  1. 3D Surfaces are usually unusable. I'm getting tons of small triangles on top of many hidden triangles, and their borders are visible like shown on the picture below. This is a mess and there's nothing I can do with that sphere.

  2. After ungrouping, 3D curves turn out to be a huge collection of tiny bits, like shown below. Again, this is unproper for editing in my vector app (I usually want to change the thickness and color of the curve).

what a mess !

These problems don't occur with 2D graphics. Currently, the only -partial- solution I have is to export the picture as a PNG file at high resolution. But then I can't edit the curves thickness and colors in my vector app, so PNG (or JPG) isn't a real solution to me.

What are you doing to export 3D graphics in vectorial form, especially the 3D curves? (Actually, I rarelly use the 3D surfaces in vectorial form.)

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What version of Mathematica are you using? I'm asking because of this thread. In your case it would also seem easy enough to change the line thickness/color from within Mathematica instead of editing externally. I would strongly advise against putting 3D graphics into PDF documents, because they are a pain to scroll through for the reader. See my related arguments here. $\endgroup$ – Jens Mar 14 '16 at 0:10
  • $\begingroup$ @Jens, I have a good experience in PDF editing, to built pictures to be used in LaTeX. I don't have any figures which are a pain to scroll in the final LaTeX PDF file. Also, changing the curve color and thickness is much easier in my vector app than in MMA. Concerning thickness, MMA pictures are frequently unpredictable, once imported into my vector app. This is one good reason why I want to edit the vector file made with MMA (I'm still on MMA v7, by the way). $\endgroup$ – Cham Mar 14 '16 at 0:49
  • $\begingroup$ I don't have version 7, so I can't add anything, unfortunately. You should however search this site for possible solutions, maybe some of the answers can be applied to your specific plots (not sure because I don't know what code you used to generate the plots). $\endgroup$ – Jens Mar 14 '16 at 1:56
  • $\begingroup$ @Jens, it was a simple and standard plot, of a parametric sphere and an arbitrary curve, just for showing the two problems I'm experiencing with MMA's 3D graphics. Nothing serious. $\endgroup$ – Cham Mar 14 '16 at 2:19
  • $\begingroup$ I usually generate the 3D images for publications in MMA (from version 8 and up to the last). There is no problems with it after production of pdf even in case of big and complicated constructions. As I remember, MMA produces a bit another structure of EPS (and therefore PDF) than for example Photoshop, so it can be the reason for problems with another graphic-editors. $\endgroup$ – Rom38 Nov 30 '16 at 6:02

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