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As 3D printing technology evolves to become one of the most promising cutting-edge technologies in the 3D industry, it is an amazing surprise to discover that Adobe’s newly updated version of Photoshop CC supports 3D printing. Along with the new updates of Photoshop features covered in Nicole Spiegel-Gotsch’s article, “New Drool-Worthy Adobe Creative Cloud Features,” the new Photoshop CC update includes 3D printing support.

The 3D printing feature allows you to print your 3D project from Photoshop with commonly used printer profiles or services such as Shapeways.com. As many designers do not have a 3D printer available, they can use the Shapeways service to print their model and ship it to themselves. Furthermore, you can sell your printed 3D model using Shapeways’ marketplace.

You can also download updated printer profiles from the Photoshop 3D website. After importing an external 3D model or creating a 3D model inside Photoshop, you can prepare it for 3D printing by previewing the model and choosing the desired printer profile and material to be used in printing the model. You can also choose to print the model with its current colors or use the default color of the printing material. Once the model is ready for printing, you can simply press the Start Printing button to send the model to the printer.

In this tutorial, we will go through the 3D printing process in Photoshop using a 3D airplane model imported to Photoshop in 3DS format. Then we will send it to the Shapeways printing service.

Step 1

First, open a new Photoshop document and, from the 3D menu, choose New 3D Layer from File. In this example, I am using a free model of an airplane from the following link.

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Step 2

The New dialog box appears to let you set the 3D scene size and measurements. I will keep the 3D Unit and size the same and click OK.

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Step 3

Use 3D Rotation to rotate the 3D model as in the figure below.

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Step 4

In the 3D panel, click on the Show All Materials icon to display the materials applied to the model. Select the Ceramikas_yellow material.

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Step 5

From the Properties panel, click the arrow next to Diffuse, choose Replace Texture and navigate to the texture map in the model folder.

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Step 6

From the 3D menu, choose 3D Print Setting to open the 3D print properties.

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Step 7

In the Print To option, choose Shapeways.com to integrate the 3D printing with the Shapeways.com website options.

From the Printer, choose the material you would like to use; for example, Alumide.

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Step 8

Then click Scale to Print Volume to fit the model size in the printer space. And click the Send to Printer icon in the bottom of the Properties panel.

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Step 9

An alert message appears to let you know that the estimate price may differ from the purchase price of the model. Click OK.

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Step 10

The Photoshop 3D Printing Settings dialog box appears to display a summary of the model details. Click Export to save the model in STL format so you can upload it to Shapeways.com.

An alert message appears to direct you to the Shapeways.com website to complete the upload process.

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At this stage, we are done with the Photoshop part. Photoshop directs you to the Shapeways.com site, where you can complete the upload process as follows:

Step 11

Login with your site credentials or create a new account. Click Select File, navigate to the STL.ZIP file and click Upload.

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Step 12

The Edit Model page appears to let you choose from the different printing materials and preview it on the model. Also, you can set other settings such as model information.

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Step 13

Click on View Product to preview the 3D model’s final look. Then you can return and click Save Changes to complete the model payment process.

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Now you can either pay for the printing of the model and choose to ship it to your doorstep or create your own products store and start selling your own real products such as jewelry, office stationary, mugs and more.

The new 3D printing feature in Photoshop CC opens the door to more opportunities for designers to take their 3D designs to the next level and allows them to bring 3D designs to real life and turns them into profitable products that can be sold either online or through brick-and-mortar stores.

If you try the 3D printing technology, especially with Photoshop, share with us your ideas and your expectations about this new trend.