Adobe Buys Mixamo, Photoshop 3D gets a boost
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Published on June 4, 2015
This week Adobe announced they purchased Mixamo and plan to integrate the newly acquired 3D animation technology into Photoshop. With this announcement, Adobe adds to previously announced 3D enhancements for Photoshop, and we expect to be adding new training modules to the Photoshop courses at AGI to include these new features once they are added.
Mixamo is focused on 3D character animation, which, when coupled with Photoshop, should enable you to create highly customized 3D characters that can then be animated. Mixamo provides for creating customized 3D characters with their Fuse application, a stand-alone tool that lets users mix characters, clothing, and body parts. Enabling the use of Photoshop tools on any of these components, or the finished product, will offer unlimited creative flexibility for creating 3D characters.
Just as Mixamo will benefit from the ability to access Photoshop’s tools for editing and customizing characters and backgrounds, we expect Photoshop will benefit from Mixamo’s 3D experience. For example, the ability to create a mesh on a 2D object before converting it to 3D is currently a manual process within Photoshop, while Mixamo has tools for creating a mesh automatically. Additionally, being able to access the large library of existing, royalty-free 3D models from the Mixamo library will be appealing to Photoshop users.
The ability to more easily integrate animation with still images provides another compelling reason to put these two applications together. Existing 3D layers are compatible with Photoshop, allowing for the use of Photoshop capabilities such as adjustment layers and layer masks for 3D objects placed into Photoshop. Being able to further integrate these tools to produce a more streamlined 3D workflow using Photoshop will be beneficial for everyone from artists and game designers through architecture professionals and product designers.
Animation professionals may have expected to see Adobe decide to integrate these animation tools into After Effects. Yet the tools from Mixamo are more focused on ease of use and automation. The 3D, animation, and effects capabilities of After Effects are useful, especially for broadcast. At least one instructor that teaches After Effects courses expects that integration with After Effects will eventually occur. Yet at the current time the idea of bringing 3D to the mass-audience of Photoshop makes sense as there are many Photoshop users who will benefit from these additional capabilities.
About the author
Jennifer Smith is a user experience designer, Photoshop expert, educator and author based in Boston. She is the author of more than 20 books on design tools and processes, including Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies, Adobe Creative Cloud Digital Classroom, and Photoshop Digital Classroom. She has been awarded a Microsoft MVP three times for her work with user experience design in creating apps for touch, desktop, and mobile devices.
Jennifer delivers UX training and UX consulting for large Fortune 100 companies, small start-ups, and independent software vendors. She has been hired by Adobe and Microsoft to deliver training workshops to their staff, and has traveled to Asia, Europe, India, the Middle East, and across the U.S. to deliver courses and assist on UX design projects. She has extensive knowledge of modern Windows UX Design, having worked closely with the Windows team to create educational material and deliver UX workshops to key partners globally on behalf of Microsoft. Jennifer works with a wide range of prototyping tools including Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, Blend for Visual Studio, and Balsamiq.