Vector Output - a wish

I don’t often document projects in Rhino so I just realized that the only way to vector output a drawing is in display mode wireframe. All other including Technical and Rendered output only in raster.
This renders (no pun intended) the documentation of 3-dimensional pretty useless.

Am I missing something?
Is this in the roadmap?
Is there a specific reason why this is not possible?

This is correct, Wireframes are actual vector info, all other modes that create ‘lines’ are just creating the illusion of lines, not vectors and can therefore not be printed in vector mode.

Hi Nuno -
Apart from what Gijs said,

This is actively being looked at but it’s too early to tell when we will see this in Rhino. If you need this badly enough right now, you could look at the VisualARQ plug-in that offers vector output from shaded viewports.

It offers to output hidden line mode as vectors. But no color hatches and no automatic section lines.

To generate vector graphics of that kind is a hard problem, yet solvable. ArchiCAD does a very good job at this for example. It even supports vector drop shadows. Of course we want this, too! =}

One thing nobody achieved is add material’s textures to the vector graphics…


Hi @wim @Gijs and @Eugen
Thanks for the replies.

@Wim @Gijs
This is really disappointing. It should be a priority somehow and, in my ignorance, it does not feel too much of a stretch.
Here is a hack that I just came up with which seems to do the trick. I am not sure how good GP-4 is at rhino script or rhino python but here is my FAKECODE:

Duplicate all the viewports in layout
For each viewport
go inside
make display mode wireframe
make CPlane to view, and move it to a z lower than the last object in view (1)
make2D, select all (or in view), project to CPlane, Maintain Source layers, give layer a specific name.
end for each
For each viewport
Turn off all layers that are not in specific viewport layer or sublayers created above
for a flourishing touch 
make ClippingPlaneIntersections and Sublayers Print Width 0.7 
end For each
Print PDF
erase double viewports and specific layers created...

It actually works but with the rendered views the RhinoPDF it too big to upload, here goes without the rendered views.
230324 Windows_VECTOR TESTw.pdf (22.4 KB)

you can bring it to acrobat and export it to autoCAD…

a side question: is it not possible to make a PDF with the layers…
and another: it would be good to optimize the size of the PDF [edit] created by RhinoPDF [end edit see at end of post]
and another: wasn’t there a way that clipping clipped the surface thickness?

(1) moving to a lower z is to make sure it is in front of the clipping plane (if there is one)

EDIT: Actually the MicrosoftPDF Drive makes a PDF with the rendered views that is 10% of the size of the RhinoPDF drive!

Here it goes:
230324 Windows_VECTOR TESTmsf.pdf (4.2 MB)

Sorry for replying to an old thread, but I also have this wish of using vector lines in this way with other view types. Just wondering if this method still works, and if you could give some more information on how to run that code? Thanks!

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hi @Joshua_Beale
By FAKECODE, I meant literally that the code is fake.
I did try to run it in one of the AI machines and it did something that sort of works, but it is cumbersome, prone to mistakes and the resulting vectorial drawings are as clean as … well … the make2D.
However, there is the promise in Rhino8 of dynamic vectorial sections. I haven’t tried it and when I tried it in WIP was not really working but the start of this video looks promising, although I am not putting my hopes very high… it’s on my to do list to watch it full.
New in RHINO 8: Amazing Dynamic Sections and more! (

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To correct myself: Sketchup Layout does a very good job at exporting vector graphics plus the textures given by the object’s materials, as a background bitmap.
Pretty cool.


So I just tried the Section function in an existing model (i.e. without formattin all the hatches etc.)
The output PDF has some vectorial elements but only the elements that are on the layout (i.e. the label and text). All the (important) drawings is not vectorial is all part of a rendered pixelated image.
Is this as expected?
To be honest it is as I expected, but that is not what it is announced. Or am I missing something?

Hi Nuno -

I guess you forgot to upload the 3dm file? Did you put the details in a technical display mode?

Hi Wim,
I had not understood that it worked only in Technical Display Mode. So they way to add a rendered view is to duplicate the viewport in place and render it?.

I am sorry I am in the middle of juggling many balls so I haven’t had too much time to look into new Rhino 8 issues. a couple of more questions.
The resulting PDF does not seem to have layers. Is there a way of including them?
Is there a way of exporting vectorial, layered, clipped files from the dynamic section view? or is the Make2d path the only way?

Thanks, N

Hi Nuno -

I’m afraid it’s not clear to me what that means.
You mentioned a layout in your previous post in this thread. To add a new detail, you can either copy an existing detail on the layout or use the Detail > Add command.

If you require a detail in the Rendered display mode, then, yes, that won’t be exported as vector data.

In all my tests, layers are included in the PDF file. Could you post a simple 3dm file and the resulting PDF file?

Yes, as long as the view is in one of the technical display modes or a copy thereof.

Hi Wim
Sorry, I myself had to read it a few times to understand that sentence.
I meant to write: “So the way to add a rendered view [as a background and still have the vectorial lines], is to duplicate the viewport InPlace and [change it to rendered display mode]”

I tried the PDF and the layer are indeed there. What mislead me is that if I open the PDF in illustrator the Layers are gone… Any idea why?

I tried the ExportClippingdDrawings and it exports only the sectioned geometry, no hatches and no in-view geometry. I am assuming this is not the way to export a drawing. What’s the best way to export a drawing?

In testing this last steps a few strange things happen:

  1. When exporting if the file is already open, there is no warning that the file is already opened (both in 3dm and dwg)
  2. I have this geometry in the model

    The resulting geometry however is this:

Thanks, N

Hi Nuno -

That works, yes.

I’m afraid not. Adobe Acrobat Reader correctly shows the layers, but their Illustrator product apparently does not. You’d have to contact them about this.

When you haven’t created the drawings in a first step, then, yes, the ExportClippingDrawings command will only export the slice of a clipping plane.
When you first use ClippingDrawings to configure and create a drawing, that drawing will be used by the ExportClippingDrawings command.

I see there are no intersections with the 3 primitives that are shown in the first image, but to be able to find out what’s happening here, I’d need the 3dm file.

Hi Wim,
Ok I got it. You need to place the drawing with ClippingDrawings.

I think this is not possible but ideally we should place the drawing in the layout. Is that a possibility? It would keep the model clean (if you have a lot of drawings) and save a few steps because you then need to place it in the layout anyway.
A few other things:
it is really trick to place these drawings, because it take the centroid of the scene including the drawing therefor the insertion point is not always the same.
When I do a second clipping plane or section it considers the existing drawings. Is this expected? It becomes messy very fast.

The issue with the missing primitives seems to be that if you add geometry to the scene the drawings do not get updated. Is this expected?
240126 Section for Exporting.3dm (835.9 KB)

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Hi Wim,
A few more questions:

  • the view lines is not finding intersections.
  • Some spheres do not show on the background although their silhouette is partially visible.
  • The hatches are failing in some views.


Exactly my point! I asked for this a while ago and earned nothing but frowns.

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not from me :wink:

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Hi @wim
I tried the render/artic additional DetailView for background, the rendered/artic DetailView did not print.
It seemed like a few apparent bugs, but I think it boils down to one:

  1. When the options for Options>View>Display Modes>Rendered/Artic>Clipping Planes is set to Use section styles or simply to Show edges, the DetailView does not print in RhinoPDF.


I accidentally managed to place it on the Layout, and now I cannot get it out, I had the would thing already layouted and now it is not scaled and misplaced…

I don’t know if this is expected, but I think the drawing ended up in the layout when I UpdateClippingDrawings while on the layout, when the Section layers are not locked.