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dmuller

Import a vector file from Adobe Illustrator

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Please, can anyone tell me, in simple terms, how I go about importing a vector logo (very simple) into FormZ that can then be extruded as a solid.

 

I've read through the manual and searched online but cannot find a successful answer to this. I use Adobe CC, the latest version, nothing I save as an .ai file can be imported into FromZ (on a Mac).

 

Thanks,

 

David.

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Hi David,

 

Adobe has not documented their format for decades, so you have to save back to a very old version of .AI in order to import it into most non-Adobe products that can read AI files.  (Version 8 will work, but v3 also maintains color.)  

 

Better yet, just export a DWG from Illustrator, and import that.

 

Do either of those help?

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Thank you, yes, sort of. I can import a DWG but then I am unable to create a polygon faced object that can be extruded. Perhaps I need to go back and try again.

 

What happens at the moment is that the object is imported with a black surface (which makes it hard to read where the polygon boundaries are) and all the holes are also filled with polygons so that a simple extrude is impossible. I have to extrude the various parts individually then boolean parts from other parts and finally extrude the surfaces I want and then take a slice through to create a useable surface.

 

Really long winded.

 

Cheetah 3D on a Mac is a doddle by comparison as each vector shape create a new layer that you can assign polyplane too AND crucially, it recognises and honours the original fill and void in a shape.

 

What am I doing wrong?

Edited by dmuller

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Hi David,

 

DWG Imports automatically have their attributes set to Render as Shaded Surface = No (because you typically don't want all the closed shapes filled in), but you can just get the Pick Tool, Select All, and check that option (from the Attributes Tab of the Pick Options) to make your extrusions show up shaded (before or after extruding them).

 

Does that help?

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DWG seems a tidier way to import - thank you, it's shame the fill and void areas are still not recognised honoured though, in a complex vector file this is a pain to edit before use in FormZ. Is there a way to preserve this information at all?

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Posted (edited)

Holy thread resurrection Batman!

I still can't figure this 'Just select all and choose Shaded = Yes' advice and I'm trying to do this import business again.

My pick tool only has two options. http://prntscr.com/jfqx7o

 

If I select all, where do I select shaded 'Yes' - some of the advice given in this forum assumes the user knows every single details of an application, I use about thirty different applications in my day to day work, I cannot learn every single aspect of each one (try as I may).

 

Where is this 'shaded' option please? If it helps, please provide the menu and options ie. top menu bar/ edit/ unlock groups which will at least give me a chance to locate the options that are being referenced. Thanks in advance.

 

To be clear, all I wish to do is import the Adobe Illustrator paths, which appear in formz as outlines, and convert these to faces that can be extruded.

Edited by dmuller

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dmuller, 

 

the "shaded mode" is how your project window is viewed.  In the menu bar go to Display > Shaded Work.

 

With that being said..... 

It's been a while since I've tried this, but I've always had some difficulty importing .ai files cleanly into formZ.  In fact, I just did a test trying to import an .ai file from Illustrator CC into 8.5.7 and I am greeted with an error message.  Maybe 8.6.2 is better at handling these files, but I haven't tested it yet. 

 

However, I can import the file beautifully into Rhino 5.4.1 (mac).  I extruded my outlines there, then exported to FBX.  Open the FBX into formZ and I have a nice, clean, 3D logo.

 

If you have any other 3D programs at your disposal, I would recommend trying that route. 

 

 

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First, select your imported DWG objects with the Pick tool and then in the Tool Options palette check the option Render As Shaded Surface...

 

post-13-0-47396000-1525896377_thumb.png

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David,

 

I also still like to use Illustrator vector files for logos in FormZ.  Using .AI files, you need to save them back as v8 Illustrator files in Illustrator.  Then, with the importing using newer versions of FormZ there are a couple of extra steps you must do before you can extrude them. 

  1. After importing the file, you must select everything and then use the Close Line tool to get it to be a complete shape.
  2. Then you can use the Subtract tool to get the correct shapes cut out. 

It's a bunch of extra steps that weren't needed with the old AI file importer.  I'd like to know if we could have the AI import back from FormZ 6.7.3?  It worked perfectly. 

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Always trace of geometry from Illustrator. Its faster than you think, and you control the geometry intelligence yourself.

Export jpg from Illustrator. Billboard it in.

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Export out as version 8 ai. Newer ai files after that have garbage meta data that is used to talk back to Adobe for fonts, user, user id and every other piece of data mining garbage they can possibly think of tossing in.

 

There are many other better programs that produce cleaner files other than CC, Corel Draw, Affinity Designer, even Inkscape. I use CD for vector work and never have issues even on my laser.

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I still use CS4. I save everything to a v8 file and make sure before I do that masks and clipping paths are released. I have found that sometime these interfere with the generation of objects. I also change the import scale on the formZ side to a factor of 12. This will bring in vector art at a physical size of feet (meters)

 

Lately, I've found the DWG is cleaner in formZ v8. However in both cases, you do have to go back through an boolean difference the inset shapes in letters or patterns. Then you can extrude, reshape, etc. The Illustrator method always preserves the different object colors, but formZ v8 does not seem to always import them with HSV or RGB values that match. I'm accustomed to going in and simply rebuilding the material in formZ to my spec, as it still is assigned to the objects that were that color in Illustrator.

 

For context, this has been left this way since the early days of formZ. I understood that Adobe was not interested in providing code to ADS to make this easier. I keep my old (non subscription) illustrator running just for this purpose and have often asked designers to back save their vector files. (If its a CC file, older Illustrators wont open it. Another Adobe problem)

 

DWG/DXF is always a good alternative. It would be nice if Affinity and others exported a DWG and stayed current with it. I believe they have the same difficulty with Adobe providing code to be native. DWG vector exports can be very helpful for clean CNC pattern making.

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