One of the world’s most popular creative software suites just dialed into a hot trend: 3D printing. Adobe Photoshop is a favorite among designers and creative types using it for 2 dimensional work, but the software giant announced major support for 3D printers this week via an update to Photoshop CC (short for Creative Cloud). In that release, they also announced a direct connection to the rapidly growing 3D printing bureau, Shapeways, which will make it easy for consumers and businesses to test out 3d printing.
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Adobe is simplifying the 3D print process, but these specific capabilities exist within the cloud version of Photoshop, not the stand-alone desktop software. According to the release and site, there is a free 30-day trial and plans start at $9.99/month for individual cloud access to one software solution, such as, Photoshop or Illustrator for example.
3D printing has suffered a bit from difficulties in moving from the digital model, or file, to the printer. Adobe is taking some or all of the guess work out of the process. Existing Photoshop users will not find it difficult to move from 2D to 3D. Users create new 3D models from 2D images using extrude, twist and pinch tools that are then ready to print in 3D. Considering that Adobe has a large user base, this is a big boon for 3d printing advocates and growth.
With today’s release of Photoshop CC, designs can be printed to a locally connected 3D printer or via built-in access to popular online 3D print services. Photoshop CC supports the most popular desktop 3D printers, such as the MakerBot Replicator (owned by Stratasys), and also supports the full range of high quality materials available on Shapeways — the 3D printing community and marketplace — including ceramics, metals, and full color sandstone. Additionally, Photoshop users can now directly upload their 3D models to the Sketchfab 3D publishing service, and embed them in their Behance profile (a social network for creatives).
The tie to Shapeways is what stands out for me. It’s brilliant. Since most businesses (and consumers) have limited knowledge or even awareness of 3D printing, they are not going to purchase a 3D printer in the near term. I would be willing to bet that many Adobe users are not familiar with Shapeways and this announcement gives them a direct and affordable (relatively so) way to test the concept.
For designers who are considering 3d models, Christine Jennings shares many of the technical details of this release in her blog post: Adobe Creative Cloud — A Platform for Innovation. In the news release, Adobe shared two examples that can give you an idea of what’s possible:
- Paul Liaw, jewelry designer and sculptor.
- Veronica De La Rosa, industrial designer,FATHOM, a product development company and 3D printing specialist.
- Shapeways has a wide range of products and items in its gallery, too.
- If you are looking for 3D models to print, check out Sketchfab. They created the Adobe ampersand to commemorate the launch.
Other software players and operating systems are also paying close attention to how users are operating from the cloud and mobile devices, among them, Microsoft built in 3d printer support into Windows 8. Autodesk launched 123D Catch for 3d models powered by the cloud. 3D Systems has its Cube printer and a cloud-printing service. Cloud service for 3D printing is expected to grow, but Adobe has increased awareness and enthusiasm for 3D printing with this smart software addition/update.
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