Anyone who has worked with 3D Printing over a period of time most likely finds that the biggest challenge is not getting the 3D Printer itself to work, but in fact getting a cool design to print properly. The interface between a CAD file and the specific printer’s machine code is a big challenge and Adobe has just unveiled an update to Photoshop Creative Cloud to make this transition easy for 3D Printing.
Photoshop and other Adobe software tools has been the mainstay of the design world for years and are the gold standard in terms of extensive capabilities for professionals. So this addition of a 3D Printing tool to Photoshop is further evidence the technology is moving more and more into the mainstream. Of course, how could any company with Adobe’s extensive software skills not take advantage of a huge market need in a growing industry?
As I often write, if 3D Printing is to really take off, it has to be easy for the man or woman on the street. The minute a design fails, a new designer assumes the technology is too hard to use. And if it takes more time to make the machine work than to think up the design, in fact the technology is not ready for prime time. In automating the print process, Adobe has eliminated what took even seasoned professionals hours of work. Simply hit Print and Photoshop does the rest.
Adobe heard a customer need and to their credit worked to solve the problem. Photoshop’s Lead Scientist Pete Falco and Senior Product Manager Zorana Gee did substantial market research with schools, universities and design agencies in the UK to learn just what was needed. Mr. Falco’s own kids play with 3DPrinting and on the Adobe blog he says: ““My son built a crude model in Minecraft and we recently extracted and 3D printed it using Photoshop. He was really excited about it because the physical print brought his character to life. You can imagine it’s the same feeling that artists feel when they see their designs turn into a physical object. There’s something compelling about holding an object you created in your hands.”
Adobe has partnered with MakerBot and Shapeways but the Photoshop Creative Cloud update is supposed to work with “most popular desktop 3D Printers” according to the website. It will be interesting to try with our other printers to test it out. Watch this space for updates!
In the meantime, you can try the new Photoshop CC update yourself with a free trial. One of the great features of the Creative Cloud is the affordable monthly pricing. Adobe professional products used to be prohibitively expensive but the Photoshop only option is around $20/month, a huge improvement from the $500 or $600 price tag of a few years ago for software. And for more detail, here’s a link to the Adobe Blog Post.