Vector PDF print - Transparent materials hide objects beyond

In the past few months there seems to have been an update which changed the way vector pdfs print transparent materials. Now objects behind transparent materials are often missing when printed, and perspective details on the non-active layout are missing lots of stuff when printed ‘all-layouts’ to vector pdf.

I often include perspective detail views on sheets with a arctic display style that shows the rendering materials. These are usually at least on the cover sheet and maybe an additional sheet that has perspectives.

I’ve created a test file and thrown a bunch of stuff in there. There are simple geometry (a sphere and a box), blocks (the piano and the kayaks), and visualarq elements (like the person, walls, and doors) surrounded by a mix of visualarq curtain wall elements and simple surfaces with the same glass material applied.

Within the past few months, there has been an issue that only the active layouts print correctly, and other layouts are missing a ton of geometry when printed using “all-layouts”. In the PdfRenderTransparencyAllLayouts.pdf, the second sheet was visible on the screen and the first sheet starts to miss a ton of geometry, mostly visualarq related objects it seems.

In maybe a related issue (or maybe not?), objects that should be visible through transparent materials are not printed. It seems pretty random, sometimes the objects get printed and sometimes not. In the PdfRenderTransparencyMissingObjects.pdf, on the second page you can see that its happening to blocks and the simple geometry. I first noticed it when visualarq walls behind glass wouldn’t print. But it doesn’t seem to be a visualarq problem and seems to be more related to the way transparent materials are printed in a vector format.
PdfRenderTransparencyAllLayouts.pdf (478.7 KB)
PdfRenderTransparencyMissingObjects.pdf (495.0 KB)
PdfRenderTransparencyTest.3dm (5.0 MB)
PerspectivePdf.pdf (331.6 KB)

This happens with any display style I’ve tested that uses the rendering materials in stead of an object’s color.

Other than visualarq, the plugins that don’t ship with rhino are turned off. System info is below:

Rhino 7 SR11 2021-10-20 (Rhino 7, 7.11.21293.09001, Git hash:master @ 972ac562128b307e99f15e56dd11586c73e91ecb)
License type: Commercial, build 2021-10-20
License details: Cloud Zoo

Windows 10.0.19043 SR0.0 or greater (Physical RAM: 48Gb)

Computer platform: DESKTOP

Standard graphics configuration.
Primary display and OpenGL: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (NVidia) Memory: 8GB, Driver date: 5-27-2021 (M-D-Y). OpenGL Ver: 4.6.0 NVIDIA 466.63
> Accelerated graphics device with 4 adapter port(s)
- Windows Main Display attached to adapter port #0
- Secondary monitor attached to adapter port #1

OpenGL Settings
Safe mode: Off
Use accelerated hardware modes: On
Redraw scene when viewports are exposed: On
Graphics level being used: OpenGL 4.6 (primary GPU’s maximum)

Anti-alias mode: 4x
Mip Map Filtering: Linear
Anisotropic Filtering Mode: High

Vendor Name: NVIDIA Corporation
Render version: 4.6
Shading Language: 4.60 NVIDIA
Driver Date: 5-27-2021
Driver Version:
Maximum Texture size: 32768 x 32768
Z-Buffer depth: 24 bits
Maximum Viewport size: 32768 x 32768
Total Video Memory: 8 GB

Rhino plugins that do not ship with Rhino
C:\Program Files\Rhino 7\Plug-ins\Tibidabo\Tibidabo.rhp “Tibidabo”
C:\Program Files\Rhino 7\Plug-ins\Tibidabo\VisualARQ.rhp “VisualARQ”

Rhino plugins that ship with Rhino
C:\Program Files\Rhino 7\Plug-ins\Commands.rhp “Commands” 7.11.21293.9001
C:\Program Files\Rhino 7\Plug-ins\WebBrowser.rhp “WebBrowser”
C:\Program Files\Rhino 7\Plug-ins\rdk.rhp “Renderer Development Kit”
C:\Program Files\Rhino 7\Plug-ins\RhinoScript.rhp “RhinoScript”
C:\Program Files\Rhino 7\Plug-ins\IdleProcessor.rhp “IdleProcessor”
C:\Program Files\Rhino 7\Plug-ins\RhinoRenderCycles.rhp “Rhino Render” 7.11.21293.9001
C:\Program Files\Rhino 7\Plug-ins\RhinoRender.rhp “Legacy Rhino Render”
C:\Program Files\Rhino 7\Plug-ins\rdk_etoui.rhp “RDK_EtoUI” 7.11.21293.9001
C:\Program Files\Rhino 7\Plug-ins\rdk_ui.rhp “Renderer Development Kit UI”
C:\Program Files\Rhino 7\Plug-ins\NamedSnapshots.rhp “Snapshots”
C:\Program Files\Rhino 7\Plug-ins\Alerter.rhp “Alerter”
C:\Program Files\Rhino 7\Plug-ins\IronPython\RhinoDLR_Python.rhp “IronPython” 7.11.21293.9001
C:\Program Files\Rhino 7\Plug-ins\RhinoCycles.rhp “RhinoCycles” 7.11.21293.9001
C:\Program Files\Rhino 7\Plug-ins\Grasshopper\GrasshopperPlugin.rhp “Grasshopper” 7.11.21293.9001
C:\Program Files\Rhino 7\Plug-ins\export_PDF.rhp “PDF Export” 7.11.21293.9001
C:\Program Files\Rhino 7\Plug-ins\Toolbars\Toolbars.rhp “Toolbars” 7.11.21293.9001
C:\Program Files\Rhino 7\Plug-ins\3dxrhino.rhp “3Dconnexion 3D Mouse”
C:\Program Files\Rhino 7\Plug-ins\Displacement.rhp “Displacement”

Thanks for any help.Arctic Material.ini (12.9 KB)
Shaded Material.ini (12.9 KB)

Hello - does the problem go away if VA is blocked in Options > Plug-ins page and Rhino closed and restarted?


It does seem to. I did a couple test pdf prints and can’t replicate the error when the visarq plugin is turned off, even though there is still visarq geometry in the model.
I’ll move it over to the visualarq category.

Hello @arcus,

I could reproduce the issue with VisualARQ; if I disable the plug-in, there are some texture problems but objects are not missing.

However, I would like to know, why do you need to print with vector output if you are printing using a Display mode with rendering materials?


Thanks for looking into that. Its really helpful to be able to put rendered views on construction document sheets as perspectives, rendered elevations, or rendered floor plans. These sheets also include other linework information, plans, sections, titleblocks, etc that need to be vector format.

For instance, this is a sheet that had to be submitted to a local design review board for approval. It needed to show the proposed exterior materials and how they are being used. It’s incredibly handy to be able to create all of this from a single design model without any outside rendering. I also like to include material-arctic views of the model in my construction document set so the folks building it can intuitively understand the final intent of the design.

Hi @arcus,

Ok, I understand. I have just added this issue to our list. We will keep you updated about it.

1 Like

Thanks so much!

Hi @arcus,

I’ve been debugging this issue, and this is a Rhino bug. Here is a couple of screenshots of Rhino (without VisualARQ being loaded):

Raster output:

Vector Outout:

As you can see, the transparency is not working fine also when VisualARQ is not loaded. I guess this is a problem with how objects are drawn, which is very important when there are transparent materials.

It is more noticeable when VisualARQ is loaded because VisualARQ objects are custom objects, and Rhinoi draws them in a different order.

I don’t know why it works fine in raster mode and not in vector mode. Take into account that both details on your layout will always be printed in “Raster”, even if you choose “Vector” because only “Wireframe” and “Hidden” support vector output.

Do you want me to report this issue to McNeel? I’ll need to share the 3DM file with them, but I guess there is no problem with that, as you posted here.



I see. Thanks for looking into that. If you could repost it to McNeel that would be great. It’s no problem to share the file, I specifically made it to test this issue.

Hi @arcus,

Here is the bug report in the McNeel bugtrack:



1 Like

Hi, we are seeing this Problem also in our technical drawings (without Visual Arq). Every time we try to print the Vector-PDF other objects disappear. This is very annoying and makes it impossible to work with glass-materials in technical descriptions. And like Arcus mentioned to get sharp and readable annotations/dimensions Vector Output is necessary. Will there be an update with a solution in the near future?