Adobe is hopping on the 3D printing bandwagon by adding support for 3D models and designs and may help take the market beyond hobbyists.
In an update to Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud, the company said it will integrate 3D printing functionality as part of a broader feature rollout. In a nutshell, Creative Cloud subscribers can now build, preview, prep and print 3D designs. ZDNet's Charles McLellan of Adobe's new Creative Cloud features.
The 3D printing market is expected to be one of the more notable tech sectors for 2014. What remains to be seen is how consumers and do-it-yourself product makers buy up 3D printers. In the industrial sector, 3D printing promises to revamp supply chains and allow enterprises to create custom parts on the fly.
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Adobe, with its core audience of designers, is aiming to be a 3D printing enabler. Adobe's argument is that existing 3D modeling tools aren't refined enough to produce high-quality work. Adobe said Photoshop Creative Cloud will support most of the popular 3D printers and materials such as ceramics, metals and sandstone. At the very least, Adobe is introducing 3D printing possibilities to its millions of Creative Cloud subscribers. That move alone will broaden the market.
Shapeways, a 3D printing marketplace, and Makerbot, which makes the Makerbot Replicator, were two named partners plugged into Adobe's latest release.
In addition, Adobe has built in tools to texture 3D models and include scaffolding to prevent the model from collapsing when printing. By automating scaffolding and spotting troublespots with models Adobe is taking a lot of the headaches out of 3D printing and modeling. If you don't own a 3D printer, Adobe Photoshop CC can output a job to Shapeways for production and have it delivered to you.
Overall, Creative Cloud subscribers are likely to at least give Adobe's new features a whirl just as an introduction to 3D printing.