At the beginning of the year, Adobe began adding support for 3D printing to it’s subscription-based Photoshop CC program and has continued to tweak and update it regularly since. Their latest update is may be their most useful, as it expanded the 3D printing tasks available and created an integrated 3D printing workflow that could eventually render other workflows obsolete.
The update 2014.1 included drastically improved support for 3D scanners, deeper almost seamless integration with existing CAD workflows, and streamlined 3D painting that works considerably better than it used to.
Photoshop CC now also supports MakerBot 5th Gen 3D Printers, so you can send prints directly to the machine without having to use a different program to start your print. They’ve also included the ability to combine multiple 3D objects onto a single printbed.
Additionally Photoshop CC also is now compatible with 3D file formats VRML, U3D, PLY and IGES and will allow Japanese users to quickly upload 3D models to popular 3D printing service DMM.com. This may mean that more direct upload options will be available for more 3D printing services. While that depends entirely on each company and their willingness to work with Adobe, it’s probably an eventuality at this point.
Overall, I think it’s fantastic that Photoshop is embracing 3D printing so readily; however, it still doesn’t make their new monthly subscription scheme any more palatable. Especially, when there are several free options that perform many of the same tasks. Still, Photoshop is the most widely used and powerful image editing program on the market, and integrating 3D printing into their program is a clear sign that the technology is rapidly becoming a priority for a lot of their customers.
You can learn more about using Photoshop CC by testing out this free hand-ons tutorial, and using this Adobe Photoshop cheat sheet. You can learn more about their latest updates on Adobe’s website, and if you’re interested in some of the non-3DP options included in the update, Ars Technica did a fantastic write up of the good and the bad.