Learn the basics of creating, importing and manipulating 3D in Photoshop CC. Then learn how to easily 3D print an iPhone case using Photoshop CC. And you don’t even need a 3D printer. 🙂

Full Transcript:

I love how Photoshop CC has 3D printing integrated because it allows me to take anything I create in Photoshop and not only make it 3D, but also print it out and make a real-world object out of it. I’m going to focus on 3D printing.

Actually I just want to look at this flat design, just to show you that you can take anything that’s a flat design in Photoshop and extrude it. Regardless of your design, you don’t want to take an object and then print it with it standing up like this. Quite frankly, printers work from the ground up.

Actually, I want to lay this on the ground. So, selecting this design, rotate it 90 degrees. Click the “Move To Ground” button, so that it’s laying flat.

How do we do 3D printing? Let me switch to this iPhone case I’ve been working on. You can see if I View > Show > 3D Ground Plane, that it is actually on the ground plane. In fact, not only that, I am showing the dimensions on the canvas, so that I know what size it is going to print out at. Keep in mind that it actually will be printed with the design facing down. That’s exactly what I want.

Alright, when it comes to 3D printing, if I have that scene selected, you can select the button, 3D Print Settings. Click that. Disregard the color, it doesn’t matter, it’s just dependent upon your 3D printer, whichever color you have loaded there. In fact if you have a 3D printer connected, you can select it there too. It will give you the print size and the actual print bed size, the your space you can print in. Not only that; it’s going to provide the surface details, include all the various support structures, and all that stuff that makes it a successful print.

Well, at this point, let’s go ahead and click Start Print. It [Photoshop] will go through and unify that scene, take multiple meshes and combine them into one mesh making it one solid object, thicken the walls, and repair meshes. It does all of that work so I don’t have to.

Alright, here’s my object. A couple of things have happened. In fact it looks a little unique. You can see the original mesh, which is green. Notice I can click on Raytrace Preview to get a more accurate preview of this particular object. I’m also noticing this orange color right down here. What is that? Well, that’s the raft. I’ll actually turn that off and you can see I can print the raft, which will print out one layer, so that this design will get positioned and printed out exactly right.

There’s some other things going on here as well. If I rotate this around, notice how I can manipulate and zoom in. For instance, what do I have here? That’s the scaffolding. So I can turn that on and off. The 3D printers can’t print in mid-air, if you will. To print out this bar, it has to build up this scaffolding and then it can print that particular part. So it’s great that this is actually integrated; Photoshop adds it for me so that I don’t have to put it in there. Now this is going to lead to a successful print for me. Also notice the walls are thickened in some spots; that’s what’s blue. Again, these lead to a successful print.

Now you can click Print or Export to export out the STL file to print it out later. But what if you have a 3D printer? I’m going to click cancel. Check this out, I can take this iPhone case, and send it to Shapeways or Sculpteo, two companies that will do the fulfillment for me. This is great. I can select Sculpteo based in Europe, and I can go into the Printer details and see all the materials. So I can print in Ceramics, Multicolor (this is key, as Photoshop allows for printing in Multicolor), different Plastics, different Resins, Waxes, Silvers, Metals. In fact, I’m going to switch this to Shapeways, based in Brooklyn, NY. You can see the Ceramics, 14 Carat Gold, Silver, Steel materials, you name it, they have it. They have Full Color Sandstone so that I can create something with full color and print it out as well.

Keep in mind, it changes the visual representation. For gold-plated this may be a little large for that printer, so change the material to Coral Red Strong & Flexible Plastic, that’s what I want. You can see it will easily fit. It will add all those details, anything I’ve refined, even if I had a bump map in here or texture, it will get printed out accordingly. Again, the great thing is I can come right down here and click, Start Print.

It will go through the same process of unifying the scene, making it one solid mesh, repairing it where it needs to be repaired. Here you get the representation as well. Right over here is a summary of how much it will cost: around $20.00 for this plastic case. That’s all based on the amount and type of material you use. But you can see that it thickened all of these walls so that it will be a successful print. All I need to do is click Export. It will export out the STL file, that’s a 3D file for 3D printers. Then it asks me to complete the order by going to the Shapeways site.

At the Shapeways site, click Upload. Locate that particular file. Select upload and the object is now on the Shapeways site, where I select the material I want it printed in. I encourage you to peruse the Shapeways site for all the materials, as well as Sculpteo’s. I’ve selected the Red – Strong & Flexible Plastic material.

You can see it created and printed in Photoshop, fulfilled by Shapeways. Go ahead and try it for yourself today.