With the latest release of Photoshop CC (and frankly, now with the subscription model and frequent updates, I don’t know how I’m going to keep up with the reviews), Adobe is trying to infiltrate the burgeoning industry of 3D printing. I’m a little confused as to why Photoshop was the tool of choice for this venture. It doesn’t seem like the new 3D Printing tools feel quite as home with the rest of the established image manipulation toolset. Yes, Photoshop has some 3D painting tools hidden away in there, but the software isn’t really known for those.
That said, the new features are pretty cool, and pretty insightful given that with low-cost printers like Makerbot and service bureaus like Shapeways, the market is going to be flooded with artists who are just dipping their toes in the water. These artists will have no experience with the intricacies and requirements for 3D printing – heck, I can barely get my inkjet printer to work on a consistent basis.
The Photoshop tools are very much analysis tools for 3D meshes rather than something to build meshes. It will go through and do a check for mesh errors, thickness, support structures and scaffolding, and make sure the mesh is water tight. This is all old hat for the pros who have had access to 3D printing for decades, but us new guys are going to benefit greatly for something to check these things for us.
When we are ready to print, drivers are already there for the MakerBot Replicator 2 and 2x, 3D Systems Cube, and ZCorp Full Color – with more on the way. Or you can simply export out to an .stl file to take to you local neighborhood 3D print shop. And if you choose to go with an online service, like Shapeways, Photoshop will give you material choices and provide pricing estimates.
Yeah folks, get on this bandwagon. It’s not going away. We’ll probably be using it to print our lunch pretty soon. And until you know all the ins and outs, Adobe has created these tools so you don’t have to worry about the formalities of 3D printings, and instead just make cool things to print.