Adobe Illustrator is a 2D drawing and page designing program. Users of the program can generate open and closed paths and add text. Paths are defined by a series of connected segments. Each segment can be a straight line or a curved Bezier segment. Paths can be filled with a solid color or a pattern. Text elements in Illustrator can be placed at a point, inside a path, or along a path. The Illustrator file format describes the geometry and attributes of all paths and text elements in a PostScript® language page description. When imported into form•Z, the PostScript commands contained in the Illustrator file are interpreted and modeling objects are generated. Currently, form•Z imports Illustrator files versions 3 to 8, and exports Illustrator files version 3.


Illustrator paths can be composed of straight line segments and curved Bezier segments. When imported into the modeling environment, an Illustrator path is created as a composite curve.


Given the 2D character of the Illustrator file format and the 3D nature of the form•Z modeling structures, only 2D images of modeling scenes can be exported from the modeling environment and only surface objects can be imported into it.


As a comprehensive page design program, Illustrator offers a great variety of text attributes. Some of those attributes are not supported in form•Z, since they exceed the scope of a modeling program. When text elements are imported, those attributes are ignored for the generation of form•Z text. In addition, Illustrator text is stored both in a parametric form and in a final form, the latter of which is displayed on the screen. Since form•Z does not support several of the Illustrator text parameters, the final form representation of the text is used when importing. That is, all parts of a text element which share the same attributes are generated as separate form•Z entities. Illustrator also offers text which follows the shape of a path or fills the area of a path. When imported into form•Z, each part of the text which bends at a corner of a path or wraps to a new line will be generated as a separate text object in form•Z.


Importing Illustrator files

The Import Options: Illustrator dialog.

An Illustrator file is imported into the modeling environment of form•Z in the standard manner. The Import Options: Illustrator dialog contains some of the common options and a few format specific options, as follows:


Maintain Grouping: This option is only available when importing into a modeling project. When selected, the elements grouped in the Illustrator file will be grouped when imported into form•Z. Otherwise no groups will be generated.


Position On Current Reference Plane: With this option the 2D data in the Illustrator file will be placed on the current reference plane, which may even be an arbitrary plane. When this option is off, the Illustrator data is placed on the world XY plane.


Create Object Text From Text Elements: When this option is on text objects are created from the text elements contained in the imported Illustrator file.


Make Smooth Objects: When this option is on, which is the default, curves will be imported as smooth objects. Selecting this option for large files can greatly increase the import time. When this option is off, all entities will be imported as facetted.


Exporting Illustrator files

The content of a form•Z window is exported as an Illustrator file in the standard manner. The Export Options: Illustrator dialog only contains common options.


Saving an Illustrator file exports the content of the active window. When a modeling window is active, the 2D image which is currently displayed on the screen is exported, rather than the 3D representation of the modeling objects. However, since Adobe Illustrator does not support pixel images, pixel based renderings cannot be exported.