Adobe Photoshop’s introduction of 3D printing has propelled the already formidable software right out into the future. The Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) will be updated to include tools that will help graphic designers transition from creating 2D objects to 3D ones. A free 30-day trial offers designers a chance to try it out and then plans start at $9.99 per month for individual access. 3D printing tools will only be available in the CC version of Adobe Photoshop and not the standalone desktop version.
This radical enhancement is a boon for graphic designers who are already familiar with how to use Adobe Photoshop. With the company turning twenty-four years old on February 19, 2014 and having 5.6 million Facebook fans worldwide, it’s safe to say that there are solid numbers of users who will benefit from this update.
In addition to the already familiar user interface that Photoshop provides, the actual physical 3D printing process will also be simplified as it provides designers with numerous options for printing. Local printing options will of course be available, however so will built-in access to several popular 3D print services. For instance, one way Adobe Photoshop CC will benefit is from having a built-in connection to Shapeways, the 3D printing community. Here the program and its users will have access to ceramics, metals and full color sandstone.
While this addition to the Adobe Photoshop CC is certainly a nice enhancement, 3D tools have already existed within Photoshop for years that have allowed users to create 3D content from scratch. This addition to the CC simply plays to Adobe’s belief that most users will want to import 3D content that already exists from 3D scanners or 3D modelling software and provides tools to make this possible. Once designs have been imported, auto mesh repair and other Photoshop features will be able to enhance the 3D model into the perfect design that its creators imagined. These specific features and more have fanatics excited as Adobe Photoshop introduces the type of 3D printing taylor made for consumer desires.
After the final product has been developed, it can be saved in five different file formats for 3D printing which include 3DS, Collada, KMZ, OBJ and STL. From there, it can either be printed to a locally connected MakerBot Replicator or uploaded to the Sketchfab 3D publishing service. Both of these are powerful new options now that Adobe Photoshop has introduced 3D printing.
It’s difficult but at the same time, exciting to imagine the possible creations that can and will no doubt be developed by graphic designers once 3D printing becomes more accessible to the general public. Those who have already had access to 3D printing have been able to create old fashioned musical records, custom busts of themselves or their significant others and even engagement rings. It’s also entirely possible to print the parts required to build 3D printers which leads to the thrilling possibility of self-replicating machines. This is something which is a breakthrough for technology and manufacturing but could also prove disastrous in the machine uprising depicted in many science fiction stories.
One has to wonder, as Adobe Photoshop introduces 3D printing, whether this will be the catalyst that makes 3D printing go mainstream. It currently costs anywhere from between $300 – $2,800 to purchase a 3D printer which is still a substantial cost for the average consumer.
By Jonathan Holowka