Adobe is cranking up the buzz around Photoshop CC, its flagship imaging app, with the debut of new 3D printing capabilities. Photoshop artists can now easily refine, preview, prepare, and print 3D designs to a 3D printer right from Photoshop CC.
This launch into the 3D printing space is part of a larger round of upgrades to its Creative Cloud designer and photography apps.
To facilitate the printing of 3D content, Adobe announced it has partnered with MakerBot for 3D printers, Shapeways for 3D materials, and Sketchfab for embedded interactive 3D online viewing of models within its Behance website option.
"On the horizon is an inflection point in the 3D market with consumer uptake and usage of 3D printing technologies and consumption of 3D printing devices that people can purchase and install in their homes," said Andy Lauta, Photoshop product manager, in a demo of the new features. "We view 3D printing as a content business and it will be driven by the availability of compelling content, and we are enabling our core user base to create compelling content that will drive consumers to adopt 3D printing."
Also available to subscribers are 20 new features spanning Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, in-program access to more than 800 Typekit fonts, and updates to the Muse Web design program.
All these upgrades are available now and are free for Creative Cloud subscribers. To encourage more people to sign up for subscriptions, the company has extended the 30-day free trial for anyone who has shown interest (dating back to May 2012), but not yet taken the plunge.
While Photoshop has offered a 3D component for years — as part of the Photoshop Extended version of the program, which was eventually folded into the main version — 3D has evolved from a rather narrow focus of medical imaging and product packaging to consumer creation of 3D objects and the wider availability and application of 3D to mainstream designers, and even to some consumers.
That coincides with the burgeoning popularity of 3D printing, and the technology is finally starting to emerge as a consumer resource. Adobe aims to bridge what it calls the "3D software gap" between creation of 3D objects and actual production of viable products and services.
3D printing is challenging because the models used to print are not always up to the task: There may be holes in the mesh, or the object walls can't stand up to the chosen materials, or the structures are not strong enough to support the model. "Overcoming the flaws in a 3D model is a huge burden for people who don't understand the complexity of printers or who are not material scientists, so much time is spent trying to correct errors," Lauta said. Thus Photoshop's 3D utility aims at "single click easy" printing for a range of local printers and online services. "Creatives should focus on creatvity and not spend time on technical issues of materials and printing technologies."
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