Post Production

3D printing in Photoshop CC

There's a nice update to Photoshop CC now available as part of Creative Cloud for Designers (see resource summary), with new features also for Illustrator and InDesign. Photoshop users experienced several hiccups in 3D in the last several years (and loss of AE integration), but since this update includes revisions to 3D features, especially for 3D printing, it might be a time to look at these features again.

Rather than a full-featured creation tool, like Maya (see on Maya and Shapeways), perhaps Photoshop CC is positioned as a tool to easily import, refine, and now print on a 3D printer.

Product Manager Stephen Nielson shares his overview:


Photoshop CC (2014.1) is an August update with 3D printing features and enhancements that expand support for workflo and new 3D printers and 3D print services. For details, see New 3D printing features and enhancements in Photoshop CC at Adobe and Photoshop Help / New features summary (2014 & 2014.1).

Some background on 3D printing seems requisite, so here's video from MakerBot, a company that makes 3D printers and scanners, and video from Shapeways, a printing and sales service that offers a fuller range of source materials. There's a ton more, but seeing just one of the Creator's Project 3D printing videos should fill out the background.



[Later] 3D Printing is Revolutionizing Special Effects by Legacy Effects looks at how 3D printing has changed the world of special effects:


Below is Henry Segerman talking about his adventures in stereographic projection, as well as some of the things he sells on Shapeways.

There must also be some physical graffiti out there somewhere, since it was featured in Adobe Inspire and in various 3D installations and designs showcased in Urban Calligraphy and Beyond. One example is from Graffiti Analysis: Evan Roth’s 3D Printed Study on the Motion of Graffiti from SolidSmack. Graffiti Analysis and the Graffiti Markup Language are not new (AEP archive), and were also featured on the Shapeways blog in Graffiti Analysis: 3D Printed Tags.


For a nice overview, see The State of 3D Printing and Scanning After CES 2014: The Push For Mainstreaming Begins, from the experts at Make.


These are the main 3D imaging enhancements in Photoshop CC | January 2014:

  • You can now share 3D layers using Sketchfab, a Web service to publish and display interactive 3D models. In Photoshop, select 3D > Share 3D Layer On Sketchfab.
  • You can now regenerate UV maps for objects and materials in the selected 3D layer. This option is particularly useful for reparameterizing 3D objects downloaded from the Internet. In Photoshop, select 3D > Regenerate UVs.
  • You can now easily group all objects in a scene. In Photoshop, select 3D > Group All Objects In Scene.
  • You can now apply a cross section to a 3D model. For details, see this FAQ.
  • The 3D menu now features a handy option to unify all elements of a 3D scene and make the scene watertight. Select 3D > Unify Scene For 3D Printing.
  • The 3D engine in Photoshop CC will need a minimum of 512MB of VRAM on the graphics card, which must also be “dedicated.”
  • Photoshop currently supports these 3D printers: 3D Systems Cube, MakerBot, Replicator 2, MakerBot Replicator 2x, ZCorp Full Color. Additionally, Photoshop supports several profiles.
  • Support was later added for Mcor IRIS, which prints on normal paper at full color.


There's no word yet on supported for 3D food printing! According to The Verge, “3D Systems' ChefJet and ChefJet Pro are billed as the 'world's first and only professional-certified, kitchen-ready 3D food printers'… planned for release in the second half of this year.”


Here's a few other sources offer more detail:


Finally, since Photoshop and other applications are adding more GPU-based features (Smart Sharpen, etc.), After Effects and Premiere could run into conflicts over unreleased VRAM. Even internet browsers like Google Chrome might be of concern, though disabling GPU in Chrome might be an experimental feature now. For After Effects, simply quitting other apps is a simple solution.

Recent Creative Cloud bug fixes have smoothed over the issue, as noted by AE Patron Saint Todd Kopriva (to borrow a phrase) in a warning that the GPU accelerated ray-traced 3D renderer does not have enough free memory to operate:
“When the GPU acceleration of the ray-traced 3D renderer is disabled, the CPU version of the ray-traced 3D renderer will operate.
The message about the GPU-accelerated ray-traced 3D renderer not having enough free memory to operate is because of a change in After Effects CC (12.1) to actually warn you when your computer was in a dangerously low VRAM state. In After Effects CC (12.0) and After Effects CS6 (11.0), a computer with very little VRAM could still try to use the GPU accelerated ray-traced 3D renderer, but it would very, very, very often crash. So, now, After Effects CC (12.1) is just detecting the condition that would lead to a crash, telling you about it, and disabling the GPU acceleration until you have dealt with the problem.
So, how do you deal with this low-memory condition? You free up VRAM. This means closing all applicaitons that use GPU memory, which includes web browsers (yes, web browsers these days use the GPU). It also means disconnecting additional monitors, each of which uses a lot of VRAM. In some cases, restarting the computer is necessary.”


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Rich Young is a long-time After Effects user from the San Francisco Bay Area. His After Effects and Premiere Pro round-ups provide viewers with an easy-to-digest summary of developments. He also supplies info and links…

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