AutoCAD 2010/2011/2012

Active Member
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎06-27-2009
Message 1 of 27 (13,775 Views)

Plot Transparency and PDFs

13775 Views, 26 Replies
06-08-2011 08:16 PM

I am having a problem getting PDFs to plot when I have plot transparency on.



I use the dwg to pdf plot function and with plot transparency on... my hatches work perfectly but my PDFs appears very much screened.  (As a 50% or more screen would look) If I turn off the plot transparency, the pdf works perfectly but of course my hatch shades obliterate any line work beneath them.


I was able to convert the PDF to a .tiff, with a graphics program... increase the resolution to 600dpi and use imageattach to bring that in.  But it is an extra step for each insert and increased dpi = increased file size.


Other than increasing the resolution on the PDF has anyone found a way around this "screening" issue on PDFs when plotting with transparency on?


Issue is the same in R2011 & 2012.

New Member
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎10-09-2008
Message 2 of 27 (13,757 Views)

Re: Plot Transparency and PDFs

06-09-2011 07:32 AM in reply to: AndreasVasiliou

I am having the same issue.


Have you figured out a resolution or work around yet?



Active Member
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎06-27-2009
Message 3 of 27 (13,735 Views)

Re: Plot Transparency and PDFs

06-10-2011 03:03 AM in reply to: AndreasVasiliou

No. This exact question was submitted to the Civil 3D forum on 14 Apr 2010 and that question did not receive any replies.  So this issue has been there since R2011 and still no fix.


I hope that someone from Autodesk knows the answer to this.



Posts: 57
Registered: ‎11-04-2008
Message 4 of 27 (13,647 Views)

Re: Plot Transparency and PDFs

07-08-2011 12:01 PM in reply to: AndreasVasiliou

Here is the reasoning from our development team for this issue:


Transparency was one of the most popular requests from customers to be able to do in ACAD over the years—and it was not introduced into the product for many years because of the printing slowdown issues.  

Information from the engineers very often was that we had spent a lot of work optimizing our files to print as vector files—and that vector will print a lot faster than Raster plots.  When we use transparency in a drawing, the whole drawing is turned into a raster plot—even though the stored file is not that much bigger. 

During the most recent design cycle, our development team did a lot to improve the raster printing speeds and memory issues—but it was still a lot slower than vector printing. 

Because of the slowness, we had to add the ability to turn off transparency for printing for drawings if it was necessary—the transparency would still show up on screen, but not when printing.


Try unchecking 'Plot Transparency' in the plot dialog.

Bob Felton
Autodesk Product Support
Autodesk, Inc.

Valued Contributor
Posts: 53
Registered: ‎04-21-2008
Message 5 of 27 (13,533 Views)

Re: Plot Transparency and PDFs

08-05-2011 05:49 AM in reply to: Bob.Felton

Well that explains it - at first this was a huge problem for me, because I do a lot of design off of PDF files - seems to affet both raster and vector files.  


I have a workaround, hopefully it will help some of you, but it does require some other software.  GIMP is open source, not sure if you can open and edit PDF's with it, but I opened the drawings in photoshop and added a new white layer, made it 50% opacity (so it screened everything by 50%) then saved. 


This would not work with hatches, etc. unless you can deal with them being in the background, but it makes everything look grayscale since it shifts up the blacks.  As long as it's a base drawing you are trying to fade out this works fine.  


there is also the dwf printer.  I have not tried converting my pdf's to dwf's and using those to control transparency, but theoritically that may work?

Alan Neal, P.E.
Autodesk Infrastructure Suite Premium 2012/2013
Windows 7, x64
Xeon E31225 w/ Quadro 600
Product Support
Posts: 232
Registered: ‎12-02-2008
Message 6 of 27 (13,520 Views)

Re: Plot Transparency and PDFs

08-05-2011 08:50 AM in reply to: jalneal

Please see the following post to see if it may provide a solution:​-with-hatch-transparency-while-exporting-to-PDF-o...

Shawn Niles
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎10-20-2011
Message 7 of 27 (12,838 Views)

Re: Plot Transparency and PDFs

12-16-2011 11:50 AM in reply to: AndreasVasiliou

I have the same question. It seems the PDF attached has a transparency property preset to 50 or whatever.

Active Member
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎07-08-2012
Message 8 of 27 (10,736 Views)

Re: Plot Transparency and PDFs

08-09-2012 07:26 PM in reply to: AndreasVasiliou



I am having a similar problem. But it is doing it to my hardcopy prints - the hatch is fine but the rest of the drawing is faded.

I read this thread and decided to see if the pdf was the same...


So I printed to pdf using dwgtopdf at 300dpi and then printed the pdf and it was ok?

Surprisingly the hardcopy print from the pdf was better than the one straight from AutoCAD 2012?!?


Am I the only one having this issue?

Is the only solution really not to use transparency?



*Expert Elite*
Posts: 8,458
Registered: ‎06-29-2007
Message 9 of 27 (10,731 Views)

Re: Plot Transparency and PDFs

08-09-2012 11:36 PM in reply to: mathew.neilson



>> Surprisingly the hardcopy print from the pdf was better than the one straight from AutoCAD 2012?!?

I would then check the options within the printerdriver, are three any quality-settings or color-correction-settings or paper-type-settings or .... (maybe the PDF-viewer that you used for printing has other settings than you activated from the AutoCAD-pc3-file).


>> Is the only solution really not to use transparency?

The source of the problem is that no printer (at least I don't know any) have the option to plot vectors transparent. As long as the printers/plotters don't support that, the calculation of color/transparency mixing has to be done on the pc and the result creates a raster-image that is then sent to the output-device..


I would not say that "not to use transparency" is the only solution. If you need it you should find out your ways (for your equipment) to make the best out of it. So I mostly use DWF set to 400 or 600dpi (instead of PDF) and use then DesignReview to send the file to the output-device. For my equipment it's the best option.


- alfred -

Ingenieur Studio HOLLAUS ...
Valued Mentor
Posts: 359
Registered: ‎01-12-2008
Message 10 of 27 (4,652 Views)

Re: Plot Transparency and PDFs

09-03-2013 06:06 AM in reply to: AndreasVasiliou
Is any fix or workaround for this problem.
Sometimes while printing this happens to me as well.

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