3D text colour error when exporting parallel projection to PDF

Hi folks,

I’m having trouble with the appearance of Sketchup’s 3D text when exporting to PDF (as a parallel projection). I use this full size PDF to print onto vinyl that is then applied to panel/object i’ve actually modeled in Sketchup. The 3D text is not extruded in sketchup… i’m just laying flat onto the surface of my model (which is essentially just a box - the vinyl is then applied to the faces).

Once exported, some letters are not coloured correctly - they have the background colour instead of the colour i have painted them within sketchup (just flat colours from the standard pallet). Sometimes the spaces in the middle of letters don’t show the background colour and instaed show the actual letter colour… i.e the letter “O” could be white on a green background… but the middle of the “O” shows as white also instead of the green background.

If i export as perspective however, everything is good… it only does this on parallel projection. But i need parallel for the vinyl print!

Any clues as to what is going on here?



It’s hard to tell exactly what you’ve got without seeing at least a screen shot but my furst guess is that you are seeing Z-fighting. Two face in the same plane cause trouble for the graphics card. It has a difficult time telling which face should be in front of which. Give the text some thickness and you won’t have that problem. The thickness won’t show in the export.

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Hi DaveR, thank you for looking at this for me. Here’s a couple of screen shots and i’ve added some depth to one of the “bad” letters… but its not fixed the issue:

  1. All correct in SketchUp (letter “O” has 3mm depth)

  2. Here’s the output in full size PDF (parallel projection)

  3. Here’s the output in full size PDF but perspective this time:

  4. Here’s the whole vinyl in this particular example… several letters with the issue (but only in the parallel projected PDF - even with depth on the letters):

hope the images help with my explanation.

It would be more useful to see the SKP file.

Out of curiosity, though, why are you using 3D text and SketchUp for this? I would make the text in LayOut instead.

That would be better. Even better than that would be to use design software (Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop or similar) to create a graphic, with type, that you can simply import into your model and apply as a texture.

Thanks DaveR & monospaced.

My Sketchup adventure started a few years ago just to do some simple illustrations of something i needed a supplier to build for me. I’m an electronics and software engineer so SketchUp suited me perfectly. I work for a small electronics company and so, as my “knowledge” of sketchup has grown, we’ve been able to do more in-house of the non-electronic/software elements of projects which has saved us considerable time. You’re right, i’m sure there are better packages. I just never considered that what i’m attempting to do is not “acceptable” - especially when i’m just using basic tools and features of Sketchup… i’m certainly not pushing any boundaries!! Sketchup allows me (or so i believed) to create my entire project in one package.

I do use layout… but i’ve never managed to find a way to export to a full size PDF. Its scaled to the template size isn’t it? I want it full size so then the printing company we use can just print it for me… no messing around.

You can change the paper size in Document Setup>Paper so that the paper is large enough to handle the model. Set the scale to 1:1 for the SketchUp viewport(s) if you are using SketchUp. Then export as PDF and send it off to the printer.

If you do this more than once, make your own custom template with the required paper size. I create plans for woodworking projects on Arch E paper so I made a template using that paper size. No messing around.

Ah excellent DaveR… i’ll give that a go. I knew it should be simple enough!

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