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AutoCAD -> PDF - > PSD (Photoshop with several layers)


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Anyone know if it possible to plot a PDF (or any otjer file format) that then can be opened in Photoshop but with layers.


Opening the PDF in Photoshop doesn't create layers it just merges all layers from in the CAD/PDF into 1 layer in PSD. 




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Take a look at the YouTube video entitled "How to Export AutoCAD to Layers [High Quality]."  AutoCAD to Photoshop with Layers.

Edited by ReMark
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Yeah that was exactly what I don't want to do.

Plotting each layer separately as a PDF and then importing them in. Too much tedious work when the PDF already has separated the layers in 1 file. So there should not be need to plot each layer separately. Just need Photoshop to open them as layers as well. But this might be more of a Photoshop issue than CAD. 


FunnY though its ADOBE PDF and ADOBE Photoshop but seems to be very limited opening options. 



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The youtube is friend it shows what you want, you can select all the pdfs made as single layers and bring into Photoshop. Can not get much simpler. Easy to convert an existing plot to pdf lisp to do say all layers on. Making individual pdfs and put in say drawinglocation/pdf



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You say, "select all pdf made" . I would have to make at least 10 PDFs in my case. So no not simple.


You also say make a lisp to make individual layers. 

Again making lisp are far from easy.


So can't understand how people don't see how much easier it would be to open a PDF that has all layers.

Save as PDF, done. Open in Photoshop. Two actions, no lips no multiple files required. PDF seems to already have the information, because when I open it with Adobe reader it has all the layers and they can be turned on and off. Strange Photoshop can't to the same. 


But moving this to a Photoshop forum. 

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Not happy? Lol you get some feedback and you think people are not happy. 


Never statet that I was not happy. Just dont think this is a CAD challenge any more, though I could be wrong. 

But the error could be at Photoshop but don't sure, so it's better ask at both places to be sure.


Though it seems like people just want to push their solution instead of looking for an answer how to save the pdf with all layers so it opens as layers in psd. 


But hey thanks for a possible solution. Just not the solution I was asking for. Should have been more clear in the first post.

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How about exporting as dxf and using Inkscape?


It is free and can import dxf files with layers.

You can do all sorts of fill colors/patterns, you can even use bitmaps as fills.

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Interesting, a DXF then open that file with Inkscape and I will see each layers. If that works it is a way to go. Though Inkscape is outside my company standard programs...  DXF will also make it harder to collaboration with other colleagues that would like to see the floor plan render. 


Cheers :) 


Waiting for a reply from the Adobe community. 

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I don't see this as any sort of AutoCAD problem, AutoCAD makes the layers, the ability of the layers to be in a PDF is all on Adobe, whether or not Photoshop can import all of the layers is once again, all on Adobe. 


If you are not willing to find another program or solution/work around, that's on you.


You could try Inkscape or Illustrator, not sure why DXF would be anymore of a problem than DWG>PDF, you still save the file to whatever you want afterwards. Photoshop is a raster program, AutoCAD is a vector, just like Illustrator/Inkscape. 


There is a way to mass import in Photoshop, but IIRC, the layers need to be individual files to start with.


Good luck with the Adobe community, I believe the same question or similar has been asked on there previously with the answers you already have received, import them individually.


BIGAL, posted your best solution using Photoshop


" convert an existing plot to pdf lisp to do say all layers on. Making individual pdfs and put in say drawinglocation/pdf"


If you ask nicely, I am sure someone here will help get you set up with the LISP. IIRC, Photoshop can import a multipage PDF with each page as a layer, so something to create that with each page a separate layer would cut down on the number of files.



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And also some more solutions AutoCAD to Photoshop with layers


Though AutoCAD is not the problem, it is the solution to this problem. I doubt if there is a better way than what has been given already, Adobe expects you to use Illustrator and Photoshop, I wouldn't count on them making a shortcut to bypass Illustrator.

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If anyone is interested for the explanation from ADOBE regarding PDF and "layers". They are technically not layers but more like groups that can be turned on and off at the PDF Adobe level. Hopefully something that will change in the future, it would for sure speed up the process between cad drawing and visualization rendering work.


"PDF uses the term layers in the Acrobat GUI, however they are called "Optional Content Groups" and act more like a filter than a layer. In PDF the layers don't control stacking "Z" order, they can filter content such as having all text on a "layer" or all raster images on a separate "layer" etc, independent of one element being in front of or behind another object."


Thanks for all the feedback peeps!


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It is the same with Illustrator, you can't bring PDF layers into that either!


I find it very strange that the people who invented PDF, don't have the same features in their software as other graphics companies.


Most other graphics software has the ability to convert optional content groups into layers, so it can be done.


I have been told that one of the reasons is that PDF's are supposedly a final format and that most Adobe products aren't PDF editors.


Strange that they aren't seeing how their format is being used and changing their software to include the way most people want to use it.


The PDF layer conversion for Illustrator has been going on for years, so they obviously aren't fussed about changing it.


Apropos nothing but you can open .dwg and .dxf in Illustrator, but only if you open it rather than import it, otherwise all the layers are turned into one!

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The layers in Photoshop and AutoCad may be two completely different animals.  I am not sure they were ever intended to be compatible.  I'd have to see how it may work.


Layers in AutoCad are optional when publishing.  A user can choose to include layer information in the published pdf doc.  If the user chooses so, the pdf layers will be exactly the same as when they were in AutoCad.  if the AutoCad layers are not exported to the pdf, then game over right there.   If you want layer info in Photoshop from AutoCad you definitely need to define them at the source and then keep them when creating the pdf.   Most AutoCad users do not include the layer data when publishing except by request simply because it accounts for close to two thirds of the data of an average drawing file.  It ain't easy to email a 15 meg or larger pdf.   OK OK drop box is still there. but 7 of 10 users don't have a work station that can manipulate humongous pdf files, especially while running AutoCad or Photoshop at the same time.


Now what happens in Photoshop, I don't know about.  You'd think that two different applications (Adobe pdf and Photoshop) from the same software vendor should be compatible with the layers simply sliding right in complete with names, colors, coordinates and all, but having spent 23 years writing code, I can tell you it don't happen by accident.

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