August 8, 2012

Importing a pdf into Photoshop

The linework in a CAD PDF file is stored as vector data rather than raster data used by Photoshop, so when you bring the file into Photoshop, you will be given options on how want to import the PDF and convert the file. The import window also allows you to input a pixel resolution for the new imported file and double check the file size. Follow the steps below.

1. To convert a PDF file, simply open the file in Photoshop, File > Open. The Import PDF window will open. You can now name the new file if you'd like.

Photoshop Import PDF Window
2. Next, set the Crop To setting to Media Box. This will maintain the proper scale and paper size of your drawings as completed in CAD. The Bounding Box option will remove the surrounding white space around the object. Setting it to media box will make it easier to update the linework later with a new CAD PDF if needed. With Media Box selected, verify the Image Size with the original PDF. Changing the size here will affect image scale. 

3. Make sure Anti-Aliasing is checked to smooths the edges of the linework. If you don't select it, the imported image will be very grainy.
4. Adjust the Resolution or pixels per inch (ppi). The setting depends on how the final rendering is to be viewed. If viewed 11x17 or smaller a larger ppi is desired for close viewing (200-300ppi). Larger than 11x17 is meant to be viewed from further away (100-200ppi). Unless you are making a poster, use 300ppi.

5. Once completed, hit OK to rasterize the image.

6. When the file is imported, the background is transparent, shown by the checkerboard pattern. To help see the linework and begin the rendering process, create a solid background color. You can either create a new layer and paint it which ever color you would like or create a new solid fill layer Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color and select the color you want. Then drag it below the Linework layer so you can see it while editing. You can turn the background layer off before saving so it stays transparent to help you create final boards or your portfolio.

Create image background and send to back


Importing Issues and Hints

Sometimes when you import a pdf from AutoCAD and it is in landscape, the proportions will not stay correct and the scale will be off. Photoshop thinks it is in portrait, so it shrinks it to the smaller edge. If you find this is the case, make a new layout in CAD  being sure to make it portrait and try again. Remember that the page you make can be much larger than the size you need. This also allows you to erase the 'PRODUCED BY AN AUTODESK EDUCATIONAL PRODUCT' without it affecting your drawing.

Additional Information

If you are looking for a book on computer rendering, Bradley Cantrell and Wes Michaels' book, Digital Drawing for Landscape Architecture: Contemporary Techniques and Tools for Digital Representation in Site Design, even though it is for landscaping outlines the requirements and techniques for Photoshop rendering. I usually buy 'em from an amazon seller for cheaper. Always be sure check seller reviews!

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