While most learn Photoshop for retouching images or creating effects, more and more designers are discovering the growing Photoshop 3D capabilities which are about to become even greater.  Although some additional Photoshop training may be required to learn these advanced capabilities, they can be quite useful. The new Photoshop 3D functionality is for more than just artwork, it can assist with product design and prototyping. When combined with 3D printing, this functionality can save businesses a significant amount of time and money.

At a show this week in New York, Adobe previewed some Photoshop 3D capabilities they will soon be making available. This preview of Photoshop’s capabilities shows that Adobe is working to keep itself relevant as design moves from 2D to 3D.

One area in which Photoshop 3D functionality is changing is to make it easier to share and print files. This is happening with 3D mesh simplification. A frequent problem with 3D models involves the high resolution and complex geometry of the designs. These often don’t translate well when sent from the Photoshop 3D designed file to the low resolution 3D printer. Similarly, the complex files often have problems if shared with users who are working on computers that are less powerful than the one used to create the file. While the Photoshop 3D artist may have a high-end computer, the person reviewing a file may not have a computer with adequate processing power to even view a complex 3D model. The 3D mesh simplification will also make it easier to share Photoshop 3D files. This occurs by using this new capability in Photoshop to reducing the number of polygons that exist in a 3D mesh before sharing a file, which enables the files to process faster when printing or viewing.

Other areas of expanded Photoshop’s 3D capabilities include the ability to create and apply 3D bump maps, which add texture to 3D objects using photos. Photoshop converts textures to bump maps. You can then control the height as well as the depth of these 3D objects to customize them.

Another added capability is the capability to edit the colors of 3D scans using a conversion to Photoshop Texture. This solves the problem of vertex color not being compatible, which is an important item to address because this is the way 3D scans carry color information.

Adobe also showed-off how the new Photoshop 3D capabilities might be used with some 3D printed artwork from an artist, James Stewart and a designer, Francois Veraart.

Photoshop 3D capabilities expanded