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Adobe Creative Cloud to support 3-D printing technology

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› Adobe Creative Cloud to support 3-D printing technology
  • Published on January 16, 2014

Over the years, the Adobe Creative Cloud, formerly known as the Creative Suite, has undergone a series of transformational changes. From the transition from traditional software package to cloud-based subscription service to the introduction of 3-D functionality inside Photoshop, the Creative Cloud bears only a passing resemblance to its forebears. However, Adobe is once again pushing the boundaries of what its software can accomplish with the integration of support for 3-D printing technology, ZDNet reported.

Market expansion
Although limited 3-D functionality has been present in Photoshop for some time, Adobe's plans mark the first major upgrade of the Creative Cloud to cater specifically to the needs of designers working with the technology. The new features will be added to Creative Cloud subscribers' software as part of a wider upgrade rollout, and incorporate tools to design, build, preview and print 3-D models from within Adobe software.

To accomplish this ambitious upgrade, Adobe has partnered with Shapeways, one of the world's largest online marketplaces for 3-D models, and MakerBot, the Brooklyn-based company that manufactures the Replicator 2, one of the higher-end 3-D printers available on the market.

A new "scaffolding" tool is among the additions that Adobe unveiled. The technology allows designers to incorporate virtual support structures when creating digital models to provide the finished product with greater support during the printing process and prevent collapsing. In addition, Adobe will support a range of 3-D printing materials, including ceramics, metals and sandstone. Users who do not have access to their own 3-D printer will be able to create their designs before placing an order with Shapeways, which will then physically print the model and ship it to customers.

Despite its partnership with MakerBot, Adobe claims that numerous other makes and models of 3-D printers will be supported, and users will also have the option to create their own custom file types to suit their hardware. Regardless of which platform users opt for, the Adobe Creative Cloud will produce models in many of the most common 3-D file formats, including .obj, .stl, .3ds.

A brave new world
Although 3-D printing functionality within the Creative Cloud is still in its nascent stages, TechCrunch expects that the move to support greater 3-D tools in the software will allow many designers to embrace and experiment with the technology for the first time. 

However, the inclusion of 3-D printing tools is not the only major upgrade to Photoshop that aspiring designers can expect from Adobe. The news source reports that the rollout will also include the highly anticipated Perspective Warp tool to Photoshop, which enables users to create compositions using digital media with differing perspectives. The tool allows designers to create more realistic imagery and align assets with one another through gentle manipulation of a grid on the X, Y and Z axes. Perspective Warp could be particularly helpful when correcting images with lens distortion, in addition to its significant potential for compositing.

Adobe has also streamlined and tweaked its Mercury Graphics Engine for superior performance when utilizing GPU-intensive features such as Smart Sharpen, Liquify and Puppet Warp, CNET reported. OpenCL support has also been added, and Photoshop will finally support linked file and object placement, a feature that experienced Photoshop pros have been waiting for and one that InDesign and Illustrator users have enjoyed for many years.

With such major changes to the Creative Cloud, the best way to get your feet wet with this powerful software is by taking Adobe training at the American Graphics Institute. Our instructors have years of professional experience in the creative industries and can help you master the fundamentals of Adobe software to bring your creativity to life.

About the author

is president of American Graphics Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. He is the creator and editor of the Digital Classroom book series. At American Graphics Institute, he provides strategic technology consulting to marketing professionals, publishers and to large technology companies including Google, Apple, and Microsoft. He delivers workshops relating to digital marketing, web analytics, SEO, and SEM. He is also the author of more than 10 books on electronic publishing tools and technologies, including the Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies. Christopher did his undergraduate studies the at the University of Minnesota, and then worked for Quark, Inc. prior to joining American Graphics Institute where he has worked for 20 years.