While there’s a range of 3D printing software out there, they are generally developed by printer manufacturers rather than software developers.
On the one hand, that’s not only logical, but a good thing, as it ensures complete adherence to the printer’s capabilities and limitations.
However, it’s also problematic, as it means that people using multiple 3D printers have to learn to use yet another software suite, and fill up their bulging hard drives even further.
Adobe has taken a step that will counteract the negatives here – they’ve announced their very own 3D printing software.
A Look at the New Development
Adobe has been around for a long time. The company’s photo editing software has become the industry standard for professionals ranging from photographers to graphic artists and designers.
Of course, Adobe offers far more than just Photoshop, but the big news is with Photoshop CC, which will include “3D printer-friendly” capabilities.
The announcement came at the company’s Creativity Conference in early October, 2014, and was hailed as a milestone release of the Creative Cloud software bundle.
While the new CC bundle offers a very wide range of new capabilities, features and collaborative solutions for creative professionals, it’s the 3D printing abilities that are getting most people excited.
One of the most exciting capabilities with the new release is the enhanced support for 3D PDF files. These can be viewed and manipulated in Reader, just like standard PDF files, and make sharing 3D models with colleagues, partners and friends simpler and easier than ever.
Also on offer is the ability to read COLLADA files right in Photoshop. This provides users with more options for working with their 3D renderings, including the ability to import animation, rigging data, and then continuing to work within the same Photoshop file.
This is great news for those who are using Mixamo to create 3D custom characters, and both Adobe and Mixamo are working to provide users with the ability to download those custom creations as COLLADA files for importation and then printing right through Photoshop.
Mixamo even offers an online tutorial to help users make the process as seamless as possible.
The new features also allow for easier printing through both Makerbot and Ultimaker printers, although new printers will become compatible over time.
Other updates with the new version of CC include a range of updated tools, as well as an entirely new layout that makes using the various tools and features more intuitive for new users, without handicapping veteran users badly.
When Will the New Features Be Available?
If you’re waiting to download Photoshop CC, now’s the time. The new capabilities went live at the conference, and are already available for developers.
This is great news for anyone who knows Photoshop well and doesn’t want the hassle involved with 3D printer-specific software (although some software, including drivers and printing interfaces, will still be necessary).