Problem with colors when importing a PDF file

Fellow Rhino users,

I am facing a weird but really painful issue when importing PDF files into Rhino : sometimes but not always, the color of objects is changed during the import. For example, a curve which is blue in a PDF viewer will be black in Rhino. This is usually happening when the PDF has been generated through Illustrator. I attached two PDF giving me this problem to this post.

This is a real pain since we use Rhino for Laser Cutting Time estimation, which highly depends on the RVB of each curve/surface. I use Rhino 5 SR13 64-bit

Has anyone faced this issue before? I highly suspects it comes from the PDFReader Plug in which is not dealing correctly with color settings (RVB, CMYK). Is there another plug in to be used for that purpose?

Thanks for your help!


Color Issue 1.pdf (379.2 KB)
Color Issue 2.pdf (378.7 KB)

Hi Xavier - here’s what I get in V5 and 6/WIP both, so far:

The other file is all blue. Is that not what you’re seeing? Is PrintDisplay set by any chance?


Hello Pascal,
Yes that’s what I am seeing as well in Rhino. But what do you see in a regular PDF Reader like Foxit or Adobe?
The center part of the flower in blue should actually be black.

Thanks for your time

Hi Xavier - I see the closed curves with black fills and strokes both, no blue stroke on the one curve - is that the problem? But so far no curves that are blue in AI are black in Rhino. The small curve that is blue in Rhino has no separate outer curve like the other filled shapes in AI though, and has no stroke applied in AI.


Yes, that’s the issue : the color of the middle closed curve is changing from black to blue. I have never seen the other way around neither. I am not really proficient with AI but how can a black surface with no stroke becomes a blue curve in Rhino?

  • Xavier

Hi Xavier - that curve does not have a stroke applied at al, as far as I can see, in AI … why it is assigned blue in Rhino, I do not know . But, it is not a surface, it is a curve with a fill - Rhino currently only sees the curve.


Hmm, got it thanks. So every curve imported in RH should have a stroke otherwise it will pick a random color.

And what do you think about this one? It is a blue becoming black despite it does have a stroke in AI from what I see. It’s quite weird.

  • Xavier

Pochoir_Vectoriel_v0.2_1_2.pdf (11.2 KB)

Hi Xavier -
Yeah - thanks, this certainly looks incorrect to me. I’ll put it on the bug list. I can’t recall this coming up in the past, but I would think someone would have noticed! Thanks for the example.


Thanks Pascal, appreciate it!


Hello Pascal,

How are you doing? Is there any update on this issue? From the bug report on jetbrains, it looks like it has been fixed somewhere but is it commercial already? I tried with Rhino 6 WIP this morning but so far I only managed to crash it all the time I was trying to open PDFs.

I attached one of the multiple files giving me headaches. I think there is no dual color mode (created on RVB Mode, with RVB colors only) and still colors are changing when importing (Rhino 5) or shutting down (Rhino 6 WIP).

Thanks for your help!


Demo 25Mar2017-AI Processed.pdf (377.8 KB)

Hi Xavier - this file opens and looks the same in both V5 and V6 as far as I can see. No crashing… but no color either. Your earlier ‘pochoir’ file opens with the colors correct still, I think.


It shows with colors over here [red & blue? & black]

Hm. All black here (in Rhino - my pdf reader shows the color)


… and I presume that is considered a bug, right?
When I open it in Inkscape I can see the colors and also in the file preview in Windows Explorer the colors are there. Just not in Rhino.

Are you sending in crash reports? I’m not seeing crashes in the WIP with that file…

Rhino 5 will not be updated anymore. But, as you know, as long as you have a valid license for RH5 you can use the WIP for Rhino 6 until Rhino 6 is released.

Yes, I would say so - I’ll reopen the bug above…


Good morning guys,

Yep, I did it, just 15 minutes before posting to the forum. If you can’t find it just let me know, I can reproduce the bug and report it again. I am clicking on “send report” + send 3dm file but I am not sure something does happen afterward.

Ok, I got it, my question is, is it implemented on Rhino 6 WIP already? Since I got this crash, I couldn’t figure it out. Actually, what I just foundt is : all files which were giving me a color issue on Rhino 5 are now crashing Rhino 6 WIP on my computer. Including files above : Color Issue 1.pdf & Color Issue 2.pdf

Thanks for your time guys, this small issue is giving me a lot of headaches : a correct color code is needed for laser cutting files and I use Rhino to check them.

Have a nice day

RhinoCrashDump.3dm (10.4 KB)

I’m not sure what @ChrisK is doing differently but from what I see when I import those in the current WIP, there still is an issue with the colors. That is why Pascal reopened that bug report. The release target is set to 6.0 so that would mean that it will get attention rather soon-ish. It’s odd (to me) that this issue persists after a complete overhaul of the PDF system in Rhino, @stevebaer?

At any rate…

Exactly which steps do you have to take to make these files crash the WIP? I have opened and imported them and done a few things with the curves but this doesn’t take down the WIP here.

I’m not the recipient of those :wink: but I’m sure someone at McNeel will look into it.

I am doing it quite straightfowrard, open File > select PDF > choose units > crash. It’s weird that you cannot reproduce it.

Only the exporter has been overhauled. The importer has had improvements made, but is still primarily the same as it was in V5.

Thanks for the clarification!