Generating vector 2D views of 3D models

The other day I found this interesting little trick with my friend Omar to get a precise vector 2D elevation view of a 3D model in blender. It implies a bit of swap work between applications but the result is just perfect.

  1. Export your blender model as .3ds

  1. Import that 3ds model in sketchup. Be sure to mark "merge coplanar faces" in the import options.

  2. Set yourself in front view, set the camera to "parallel projection" and print your view as a pdf file (on linux you must have the cups-pdf package installed for wine applications to see the pdf printer). Be sure to mark "Use high accuracy HLR" otherwise your pdf will contain bitmaps instead of vectors

  1. Open the resulted pdf file in inkscape (on linux you need the uniconvertor package for inkscape to be able to open pdf files), explode if needed (and remove filled areas if you wish, will make it load faster in blender afterwards) and save it as a svg file

  1. Open the svg file in blender, now you just need to scale it to the exact size of your model...