Export to AI make modern (Wish)

I hope this old .eps / .ai format Rhino uses to export as Adobe Illustrator can be modernized in Rhino 6. I am not sure if this is related to Make2D, but it needs it. As someone who works between Rhino & Illustrator a lot, thanks,

From another thread …




An updated AI export and a native SVG export would be great, keeping smooth splines as smooth splines.
Affinity Designer can’t read the ages old AI Rhino exports (based on Illustrator 8 / EPS).
PDF is a kludge for this usecase and EMF is only available on Windows.



dont believe in particular.

but if a new ai export would be taken serious, i am all in.
exporting with this ancient post script is flawed since i got to know rhino.

From what I understand, exporting to a modern AI format is pretty much the same as exporting to PDF. A new PDF exporter is something that we have had in our sights for a long time. We’ve been structuring the code so this is more ‘possible’ to do right in the future.

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Thanks @stevebaer onwards and upwards!

I would like to revive this thread, since there is still no “seamless” way of exporting Rhino drawings to other programs that are not Illustrator - like Affinity Designer.

They just released their Publisher [InDesign alternative] so I decided to finally ditch Adobe, but to my surprise, I didn’t do the research well enough, and I’ve hit a brick wall.

I liked the way Rhino exports .ai files. You select what you need from your view > Export selected > [pick .ai] > Save - and that’s it. It opens the file and Illustrator converts it to a newer version.
No printing windows, no additional organizing work to “clean” the area of the print.
Everything is layered as it should, hatches are full fills [not segmented], lines are correct and without any distortions…

But this is not the case for Affinity Designer since it only supports “Illustrator 9 and above”.
This is one thread of many that talks about this issue and all of them are dead -

I understand that PDF is a viable option since McNeel did a nice job refining the PDF print, or SVG but it does not work as well as just exporting as .ai.

Serif [makers of Affinity Designer] for years are avoiding supporting .dwg filetypes, and as someone already contacted them from McNeel - they don’t want to releasae the sdk so that we can have a native support for their file type in Rhino.
Interestingly enough, they have a universal file type, the extensions .afdesign .afphoto .afpub are just so that the OS knows which program to open.

So I’d like to call for modernizing the .ai file export, since this would make many people happy, not just people using Affinity but Adobe users too.

I would really like to hear from someone from McNeel where we are at with modernizing the .ai export.

It would be nice to know what is wrong with PDF and SVG as options.

Thank you for replying.

First of all, as I said, exporting .ai file just saves a file that you open in Illustrator and it just works.

Exporting as pdf or svg, takes you to a printing window where you need to setup your export - it doesn’t work as “export selected” and it just takes the selected elements and saves them into a file.

I don’t really edit anything in Illustrator. I find Rhino it does an amazing vector work, but I need to take my documentation into a publishing program as InDesign [or Affinity Publisher], so that’s why I use the .ai file, so I can link it, and maybe do some edits or replacements later if needed.

Another thing is - yes, pdf export works quite fine, but svg for me is a disaster - polylines get broken up, fills don’t respect borders… honestly I don’t know why everyone is pushing for svg since I never had any satisfying experience with it.

This is a fresh example of an svg import into Affinity Designer.

I guess I will use pdf export for now, but when packaging a project, those extra steps in the printing window are killing me.
I really hope to get an updated version of .ai export + the fact that I’ve already bought Affinity Designer and Publisher, and found out just now when I finished the project and needed to start packaging that I couldn’t to what I used to be able to do effortlessly. :):sweat_smile:

That is one of the reasons I don’t package projects in Rhino’s native layouts - actually, mostly because after a lot of layouts [especially views with VisualARQ geometry] it becomes sooo slow, and publishing programs like InDesign enable you to have a higher level of graphic representation and flexibility.

This is something we can tune up to improve your workflow and I think we have a better chance of improving our PDF and SVG exporters than rewriting the AI exporter.

For the screenshot you posted were you exporting a curve or a polyline? I will try to repeat the on my computer.

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That would be great. I’d rather save a pdf file than an .ai, since you get a faster and easier preview.
Maybe “export selected” prints only the selected elements and sets the “print page” as big as the selection window is.

As for the screenshot - I always use polylines, but exporting it explodes every single line.

I was doing few tests with my logo and found few additional problems - I’ll attach the files.
Here is how it should look/how it looks inside rhino.
Each element is a block.

When I go “export selected” as pdf or svg it partially exports the elements and displaces the them.
This is in Affinity Designer. I don’t have Illustrator now to check if this is a problem with AD import or is a problem with the overall export.

Also, the “pinkish” color you see, is the selection color I’ve set in Rhino, so the export colors of the elements are changed in that color.

I’ve never had any problems with Illustrator, also, Illustrator handles blocks quite well, grouping them as it should, and keeping polylines.

Here are the files.
example.3dm (83.8 KB)
pdf test.pdf (1.7 KB)
I can’t upload the svg file here - I get:

Printing the viewport or printing the layout as pdf doesn’t show any problems.

But it still won’t print the A and the D. I guess because there are nested polylines inside the block.
If I put in the blocks as groups, only then it will print them.

Just chiming in as I was tagged on this new thread.

Has the export to PDF been improved since my original post or is it still an old ai - eps file type?

I never used Rhino to export to SVG and now I use SVG (web design) I do find Affinity Designers handling of them not very good. I do have the Affinity suite which I have been using off and on for over 2 years. Illustrator handles SVG so much better, for me. I wish I could ditch Adobe but clients use it so I have to.

Rhino and I assume Designer, with macros, are pretty easy to automate so maybe use that to convert from PDF toSVG in Designer?

I much prefer McNeel spend their resources on improving AI export than trying to incorporate afdesign files.

I will be testing out the new Beta 6 for Mac next week as I may be getting back into RhinoLand.

My 2¢ and Affinity / Serif are great products and I wish I could use them full time.


I agree - I, too, would rather see McNeel spend time improving the AI export, rather than incorporating an export/import for afdesign files, since, even tho I’d like to use Affinity Designer, much more people would benefit from update to the .ai system.

Also, I think it was @stevebaer himself, on some of the other topics I linked, related to this topic - which I have to commend - that wanted to talk to the people at Serif about implementing their file system into Rhino, and he did, but they said that they don’t want to release a public sdk.
Also, those are years old topics. Maybe they changed their mind by now.
But I still would say that I’d rather see a fast update to .ai, than waiting for a new .afdesigner implementation.

Rhino 6 supports PDF, SVG, and the old AI format. We haven’t done any work to support afdesign file import or export. We can improve both the workflow and quality of what ends up in Affinity Designer; we just need to understand what the problems are.

@ANDhitecture I am having trouble repeating the problem PDF export of the file that you attached. I ran PDF export on example.3dm and ended up with a PDF with all of the geometry in it. Did you do something different? I would like to try and repeat what you are doing.

Thanks @stevebaer, I don’t need Affinity Designer support per sa. At the time I poasted this I was doing a lot of drawing in Rhino exporting to AI & InDesign to present ideas to my boss & co-workers. It was Dan Belanger on the Mac Rhino side who mentioned the old EPS / AI format should be updated.

I never had any problems like the one mentioned with pdf or svg.


I didn’t do anything different. I just repeated it again and it still happening.
I don’t know why it’s printing it like that.

I have to note that I have never had problems with pdf printing before.

As for Affinity/Illustrator - I’m having doubts if I should continue with Affinity Designer, just because of the broken workflow with Rhino.
cont ------ Nope! Not gonna do that. CC is way too expensive. What have I been doing?!
Just have to work out how to manage and print svg files.

I switched to affnity, own the three designer, photo and publisher. Let me know if you need someone to test stuff with affinity.

I wonder why there is a problem at all. I thought illustrator files are basically just SVG files with adobe specific stuff added. So if rhino svg exports work with affinity, then .ai should more or less too. But maybe I’m totally wrong about this.

Focusing on *.ai support isn’t the right path anyway, imo. Just svg alone can do probably 99% of what one would need when importing from rhino to illustrator (or affinity). So the attention should go to *.svg, not *.ai. Most are probably not aware, that svg can do all this and think that they need .ai files.

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For me personally - I am very much aware that pdf or svg would work perfectly and yes - I would agree that focusing on bettering the svg export could be the way to go.

The only “problem” I have is just that I’d like to be able to “Export selected” elements as an file [.svg], so that Rhino saves them as any other file and not take me into a printing window.

I really don’t care what kind of file I’m saving as long as it does what I need it to do.
I just want an uninterrupted workflow - the way I have with exporting .ai files currently.

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yes, the print window is totally annoying and does not even give access to some of the svg header data / options I would expect / need in order to make it usefull (wanted to start a thread regarding this since forever, but never had the time to). I totally get your “problem” - I too hope this gets addressed sooner that later (RH6SRXX instead of RH7).

Good point. I use SVG more than AI nowadays.


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