Archive for October, 2014

#CreativeFriday – Animating a Rigged Character for Photoshop CC using Mixamo

Creative Cloud 2014.2 update that was released at AdobeMAX introduced lots of enhancements to the Creative Cloud desktop apps, as well as the introduction of new tablet applications, all of which enable the Creative user to extend their creative identity and to create content on a mobile device. Photoshop CC 2014.2 had some amazing enhancements, with the inclusion of the ability to import Collada models and to play back the animation on the Photoshop timeline. To create the rigging and animation, there are special tools, like Cinema 4D (as one example). Rigging can be quite time consuming, to support this new feature, Adobe have also partnered with a company called Mixamo. The Mixamo service has been designed to allow anyone to automatically rig and animate a model and then bring this into Photoshop as an animated Collada file.

Mixamo can be found at


Let us focus on rigging a character that already exists in Mixamo, its a fast and reliable way to have a fully animated rigged model. Before you do anything, you might want to create a new account to get started.

Rigging of a character in Mixamo can be found under the Create menu and selecting Character Collection at the top of the screen.

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 Lots of standard rigged models will be displayed and are selectable for animation.

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Once you have chosen a model from the huge selection that Mixamo provides, then the model will be shown in the animation grid, at this point various pre-built animations can be selected for a wide range of actions. Before any animations can be added you will see the starting animation screen. this is show the initial model, and in this case, no animations have been applied, so nothing will happen.


Once a new animation is selected, the right hand screen will turn into a search panel, this can be used to find a pre-built animation.  Words like   walk, jump, attack etc can be used to filter the list.

In the following screen shot, the keyword fall has been used and a range of different animations are shown. If you hover over the thumbnail, the animation will play on the canned charter, to give an idea of the movement.In the following example, 5 animations have been selected.


Each animation can be customised by using the right hand panel, once the animation has been selected.

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Once the animations have been added (in the screen shot below, a few have been added for the animation that is required), the file can be paid for and downloaded in the required formation, for Photoshop DAE will need to be used for the animation to be supported. The beauty of this system is that you just pay for the animations that have been applied to the model.


The system will keep previous animations for you on your account, ready for download. Also this panel is useful to specify the quality of the textures, as well as other model properties for the download. At the bottom of the screen, an output format will need to be selected( for Photoshop Collada will need to be selected).


Once downloaded the object and materials will be stored as a DAE file as well as associated model textures. At this point, the DAE file can be logged into Photoshop CC 2014.2.


once the file is loaded into Photoshop, the new canvas dialog will be shown.



Once the file has been loaded, the timeline panel will open and the model will be displayed on the canvas. At this point, the space bar or the play icon on the time line can be selected.



To see the final animation, you can play the following video (there is no music to the video, but it’s not very long).


Once the animation is in Photoshop the file can be combed into a scene
Also, the model can be printed in a pose along the animation. To do this, just move the playhead (blue element on the timeline, within the red marked area) and print the menu option 3D / 3D Print Settings (marked in yellow below).
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Once the Photoshop Print pipeline has completed, the Photoshop 3D Printer preview will be displayed (in the example, a ZCorp full colour sandstone printer has been chosen).
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There are many other things you can do with the Maximo service, one of them is upload your own rigged character and animate it. This will be covered in a future post. Why not have a trial with the Mixamo site.
Releated Posts

Photoshop CC 2014.2 Update

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CC 2014.2

Today Adobe released Photoshop CC 2014.2, this post covers the updates to this amazing release, there will be upcoming posts covering some of the items in much more detail.
Creative Cloud Libraries 

This new addition to the Creative Cloud will allow you to download graphics from the Adobe Market and have them available to inside both Illustrator and Photoshop. The Libraries panel also allows you to add fonts, graphics, PSD’s, colours etc all within the Photoshop and Illustrators. Any content here will be synced automatically to your Creative Cloud storage area. This feature is a wonderful enhancement if you have ever wanted to have a global set of favourites to your workflow. Of course you can create new libraries at any time to organise your content based on your preference

New Welcome screen

Have you ever wanted to learn new features and techniques straight from within Photoshop? The new welcome screen will present videos to you based on the activities and features that you use.

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Extract Assets

There is a new menu option called Extract Assets, this option is available under the File menu. The primary use for Extract is to pull assets from the PSD comp, especially usefull for Web designers.

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Improved Guides

The new guides feature enables new guides to be created from existing shapes on the canvas, or the ability to create new guides from a template that can be designed on the fly.

New Guides from Shape is available from the View menu option

If all layers are selected, then associated shapes will be included.

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If just one is selected, then the menu item will create guides from just that one

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New Guides Layout is available from the View menu option

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Windows Touch

The experimental touch features have now moved into the main line and will be enabled for touch based systems. This includes the Microsoft Surface Pro 3.
3D Printing

Photoshop now has the ability to read COLLADA rigged and animation data. This feature is available on the timeline, it allows you to pose the model at a certain point, then print it. This feature will be covered in more detailed in a later post.


Photoshop CC also supports the option to export 3D PDF’s. The Export 3D PDF option is available from the 3D menu. Selecting this option will output a PDF with all of the 3D PDF controls enabled.

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Focus Area

The Focus Area feature has had a performance boost, which is down to the Mercury Graphics Engine

Other feature improvements and JDIs 

Scripted Patterns

Scripted patterns have been moved to the Filter menu (Filter / Render / ). The different options have the same names as before Flame, Tree and Picture Frame.

The Flame option is a new addition and allows you to create a flame on a path or multiple paths..

Fill and Fill Path

Both of these options have had the UI improved.

Default Settings for Layer Styles

So that Photoshop CC makes objects more realistic and modern, default values for Layer Styles have been changed to be more conservative. This will give you a great look of elements like drop shadow out of the box.

Updated and new document presets and default document size


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Mobile app design

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Film & Video

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Updated default Pattern presets

You can find the new and updated patterns under Layer Styles.

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Move Tool

Holding the CMD (Mac) /CTRL (Pc)  with Move tool selected toggles Auto-Select for objects on the canvas


If this change does not suit your workflow, there is a workaround which should support the previous behaviour.

-Uncheck auto-select, don’t hold down CMD to select items In the current layers… just use CMD click to define the’ layers you wish to select.
‘We used to select our layers in the layers panel, and then use the move tool while holding CMD to drag them all at once without needing to actually target the layers with the mouse.’
So in the case above… you CMD select your layers… then DON’T hold CMD to drag them all at once. No arrows required.


Locking and unlocking layers shortcut keys have been added

  • New keyboard shortcut to toggle lock selected layers (CMD/CTRL + “/”)
  • New keyboard shortcut to unlock all layers (CMD/CTRL + Opt/Alt + “/”)
  • New keyboard shortcut to show/hide selected layers (CMD/CTRL + “,”)
  • New keyboard shortcut to unhide all layers (CMD/CTRL + Opt/Alt + “,”)

New menu item to collapse all Layer Groups.

You can find this option in the fly out menu of the Layers panel

Save operation now recorded in the History panel

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New Preference to enabling overscrolling 

This feature allows you to scroll past the usual borders of an image when it’s in full view.

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Overscroll = OFF

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Overscroll = ON, the additional scroll bars are shown in red below.

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Improved display of Properties panel for Live Shapes
Added transparency support for copy/paste from Photoshop to other applications (Mac only)

New edge padding option for Select > Modify commands

This option allows you to choose if the selection modification will go outside of the canvas edge or not. There is now a check box controller on each of the participating options under the Select /Modify option. The check box is turned off by default.

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Adaptation and Structure for Content-aware Patch and Move have been moved from a combo box to inline

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Structure adaption for Content-aware Patch and Move have been increased from 1-5 to 1-7

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Adobe Color panel (formerly Kuler) is now included with the shipping version

Size of the Preferences, Keyboard Shortcuts and Menus dialogs have been adjusted to fit wide-screens 

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#CreativeFriday – Introduction to 3D and 3D Printing with Photoshop CC

Adobe Photoshop CC is a well-known, best in class solution for designers and artists in their 2D work.  Photoshop touches every element of the creative process, and is used world over for everything from photograph retouching, image compositing, finishing 3D models created in traditional 3D software applications, as well as digital art work and web site design. Photoshop CC includes a 3D component, which can be used for importing 3D models, creating 3D models from a variety of 2D tools, and since January 2014 includes ability to make watertight 3D printable object and print.

3D capabilities were introduced in Photoshop in CS3, and in CS6 the Photoshop 3D engine was enhanced to include more robust technology foundation to address modern expectations, as well as a more intuitive way for Photoshop professionals to work in 3D.

When Adobe released Creative Cloud, a market shift in the 3D printing world was starting to happen. Desktop 3D printing began to explode and initiatives like Rep Rap and companies like Makerbot were growing in popularity – they had found a way to bring this technology to the desktop of the creative or the home user. At the same time, service bureaus like Shapeways, Sculpteo and others were growing with requests from creative professionals, but experiencing a large number of models that needed additional work to allow them to be printed, or in the extreme case, were not printable and had to be sent back to the designer.

Over the last few years, there have been amazing advancements in innovation, both in the hardware and in materials used in 3D printing. However, the software tools that enable 3D printing had not advanced in the same way and, in particular, weren’t meeting the expectations of a new breed of customer, namely the creative professional. Advancements in the 3D printing industry are moving at a rapid pace, and as the creative professional becomes fully engaged at the start of the process; the demand for full colour 3D printing is growing. The industry already has some full colour capable printers i.e. the ZCORP full colour sandstone printer, the MCOR paper based printer, and more recently the Connex 3 full colour plastic printer from Stratasys. Still, ensuring amazing colour results on these printers can be difficult.

Adobe had seen this type of issue before. Prior to 1982, printing anything other than text on paper was a challenging and expensive task – specialist companies were needed to print graphics and artwork. In 1982 Adobe released PostScript, which revolutionised the printing industry and allowed anyone to print visually rich documents reliably to a wide range of devices and technologies whilst maintaining the high quality and performance.

In 1993 Adobe Systems released the Portable Document Format (PDF), which is now an open standard for electronic document exchange maintained by the International Organization for Standardisation (ISO). The beauty of the PDF format is that when a document is converted to PDF, they look just like they would if printed. But unlike printed documents, PDF files can contain clickable links and buttons, form fields, video, and audio — as well as logic to help automate routine business processes. When you share a PDF file, virtually anyone can read it using free Adobe Reader® software or the Adobe Reader mobile app.

As of January 2014, the 3D printing challenge was the same as the paper printing problem back in 1982, especially for the creative professional. So much is possible, but achieving high-quality results requires specialised knowledge and time to get a 3D designs in a state that they are ready to print. In January 2014 Adobe released Photoshop CC with a built-in 3D printing engine, with the objective to make 3D printing as easy as printing in 2D, trying to replicate CTRL+P for 3D print. Also, with an industry that is innovating as fast as the 3D printing industry is, having an application delivery model like the Creative Cloud, to bring new technology, features and software updates to the subscriber is a requirement to keep pace with the activity and advancements in the industry. This approach to software delivery enables the creative professionals around the world to keep up with and exceeds their client and customer demands, as well as bringing their designs to life.

The primary objective for including 3D Printing in Photoshop and enabling a CTRL+P for 3D print, is to make the model preparation easy and provide an automated approach to model repair. Just to highlight a few of the elements that need to be validated with a 3D model before it can be printed: –


  • There maybe no open holes in the mesh
  • The walls that have been created must be thick enough for the printer / material combination
  • There can be no floating polygons
  • There can be no inverted normals
  • In many 3D printers, such as desktop FDM-based devices like the MakerBot, supports might need to be created to support the model during the build phase.
  • Models can only have one mesh
  • Models need to be of a maximum size, depending on the printer.
  • Model must be watertight
  • + Others

All of this needs to be worked out before a successful print can be made. Unless these criteria have been met, it may take numerous attempts to achieve in a fully printable model.


The Photoshop platform has a unique way of solving complex problems with an intuitive interface, powerful and elegant controls and a philosophy for simplying the creative process. The 3D printing engine inside Photoshop has been created to support printer profiles (similar to the way that 2D printer drivers), which describe the specific printer and material attributes. Once a model is loaded into Photoshop CC, it can then be processed and fixed with the Photoshop 3D printing pipeline and an output file created. Each printer and material combination may have a specific file type that is needed for a print. I.e. some printers need just an STL file, whilst colour printers might require a VRML or a WRL file. Photoshop CC is able to create the exact file type that the printer requires to correctly build the model and hold any additional information (like colour and textures).

One of the main reasons that Photoshop is used the world over, is the full colour engine in combination with the powerful 2D imaging and editing tools and brushes. These powerful 2D tools can be used directly on your 3D models or on the unwrapped mesh to paint, repair textures and make your models look even more amazing. Photoshop CC comes with full colour profiles for the ZCorp and MCOR printers, as well as the full colour printers available with the Sculpteo and Shapeways service.

At the London leg of the 3D Printshow, Adobe showcased some experimental technology that its scientists are working on in the lab. This experimental project has the ability to enable the artists to paint in continuous full colour using the brushes as well as the other tools, including colour gradients and output to the Stratasys Connex 3.

The 3D Printing industry is moving and innovating extremely quickly, especially in the areas of hardware and materials. With the emergence and growing requirements of full colour, as well as a growing and accessible range of content for personalization, Photoshop CC is one of the best tools to load your models, paint and personalise them using the familiar Photoshop user experience and make them looking even more amazing.

The video accompanying this article shows how a model can be imported into Photoshop CC, then printed to a local desktop printer, output as a standard STL file, but also print to a Shapeways or Sculpteo service.


Lightroom Mobile – Iceland by Aaron Grimes

A great video showing Lightroom mobile in use in Iceland, Aaron Grimes.

‘You Are How You Eat!’ A 3D design contest.

We’re excited to announce the ‘You Are How You Eat’ 3D design contest from Design Milk, co-sponsored by Adobe! This contest challenges designers to think past the traditional knife, fork, spoon (or even chopsticks) utensils and re-imagine how we eat our food. The designer who designs a more efficient, more imaginative or more beautiful way to put food in our mouths with a 3D printable design will win $1,000, a 1 year subscription to the Creative Cloud and a $200 credit to Shapeways so they can 3D print their new-school utensil(s) and be the first to use them!
NOTE: This contest is open only to U.S. residents.
More information can be found by following this link.

Are you attending Adobe MAX? No, then why not join the live stream.

As you may probably know Adobe MAX 2014 (The Creativity Conference), is just around the corner and it looks like it’s going to be another amazing event.

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If you are not able to make it in person, then you do have the opportunity to join in wherever you are by signing up for the live stream here.