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Adobe Photoshop Will Drive Use of 3D Printers by Your Business

by Pete Basiliere  |  January 16, 2014  |  Submit a Comment

Adobe Photoshop has long been a tool of choice for designers and creative types who are creating 2D and 3D images. But those images, even when in 3D, were typically viewed by consumers and customers in 2D – on either a piece of paper or a display.

Adobe today unveiled new 3D printing capabilities in Photoshop Creative Cloud (CC). Available immediately, the new 3D printing capabilities integrated into Photoshop enable Creative Cloud members to build, refine, preview, prepare and print 3D designs.

Photoshop CC supports 3D printers that are popular with a widening range of consumers and enterprises such as MakerBot’s Replicator as well as marketplaces and creative communities like Shapeways. In fact, the output file format selection means that almost any 3D printer will be able to print Photoshop CC output.

While certainly creatives will use Photoshop CC to design 3D printable items from scratch, they will also have the ability to work with computer-aided design (CAD) files to improve the final look and feel of the item. Imagine the ability to “touch up” a file designed by an engineer with a bit of flair provided by a creative person . . .

Image Source: Adobe (January 2014)

Image source: Adobe (January 2014)

Importantly, Adobe says that Photoshop CC enables “Automated mesh repair and support structure generation (to) ensure models will be produced reliably, while accurate previews allow creatives to submit print jobs with confidence.” I participated in a pre-release briefing by Adobe on this news. Few details were available about the technology behind the mesh repair and support generation code so time and use will be the best test of this potentially high-value functionality.

Why is this news important to you?

First and foremost, a large number of creatives and designers will now have a familiar and powerful tool, one they already use to model and craft images ranging from the mundane to the truly imaginative, that gives them a choice of output: 2D or 3D or both. Their creativity will be unleashed.

Second, the ability to readily output from Photoshop CC to a 3D printer will drive enterprise use of 3D printing for conceptualization, prototyping and even finished goods manufacturing.

I have said for the last six months that 3D printing is at its inflection point. Shipments of 3D printers are taking off and are poised for a “hockey stick” growth curve.

Adobe Photoshop CC with 3D print file output is another reason to believe Gartner’s predictions for high double-digit growth in 3D printer shipments and sales will be realized.


Tags: 3-d-print  3d-printer  adobe  cad  computer-aided-design  digital-printing  makerbot  photoshop  photoshop-cc  shapeways  

Pete Basiliere
Research Vice President
10 years at Gartner
16 years IT Industry

Mr. Basiliere provides research-based insights on 3D printing, digital printing systems and software applications, customer communications management (CCM), strategic document outsourcing (SDO) and automated document factory (ADF) best practices, go-to-market strategies, and technology trends. Read Full Bio

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