Stratasys Creative Colours powered by the Adobe 3D Color Print Engine technology
At the Adobe Max event in October 2015, Stratasys and Adobe unveiled a joint vision for re-producing fully managed continuous colour 3D prints from the Stratasys Objet 500 Connex 3 3D Printer using Photoshop CC. Since then Adobe and Stratasys have been working hard to deliver this vision, and we are now pleased to announce the release of Stratasys Creative Colors powered by the Adobe 3D Color Print Engine technology.
Challenges of printing in continuous color
Before this innovation it was challenging to paint and texture digitally within the bounds of a 3D Printers color range, then to accurately soft proof preview in software before the print was made. The result of this was that it was difficult to re-create the same consistent colour from the original 3D design in software applications into a physical 3D print.
The Adobe and Stratasys joint vision for re-creating continuous color 3D designs into a 3D print, will allow any creative user, conversant with Photoshop CC to paint and texture 3D models with beautiful rich colors and textures, within the colour range of the Stratasys Connex 3 3D printer. Photoshop CC’s powerful 2D tools provides the designer freedom to paint in a non destructive way within the range of the Connex 3’s color spectrum, using projection or texture modes across models with single or multiple shells using brushes, photographs, vectors, illustrations, gradients etc. These designs can be immediately be soft proofed using Photoshop CC, then seamlessly transferred to the printer for printing. The Stratasys Creative Colors powered by the Adobe 3D Color Print Engine technology, will, for the first time bring designs to life, in the way that the artist intended.
This innovation in delivering a consistent and easy to use color pipeline to both the designer and the print operator is a huge leap forward for the 3D printing industry, and the first of it’s kind to deliver a fully colour managed workflow from 3D design/paint to the actual 3D print.
Before the 3D model can be printed, it needs to be prepared and possibly reduced in size. The uniqueness of Photoshop CC and it’s part in the 3D printing pipeline, is too not only fix/repair models and prepare them for the printing process, but to also provide intelligent mesh simplification tools that will reduce the polygon count, without changing any geometry and preserve any textures.
Preparing the model for printing
Photoshop CC includes automated print preparation and model fixing/repair that intelligently looks at the model geometry (custom built for the printer and material combination). This automation will identify and correct any design flaws that would prevent an object from being successfully printed. Not only does this analysis make printing more reliable, but our service bureau partners have noted that using Photoshop CC 3D printing engine, speeds up the process of getting a model ready to print, as well as reducing the amount of unprintable models and increasing customer satisfaction. In some extreme cases, this automation has reduced fixing/repair and printing times from many weeks to minutes.
Before submitting the model for printing, Photoshop CC will automatically fix the models geometry and provide an indicative price for printing. As part of the 3D printing preparation process, Photoshop CC will provide a soft proof and preview in color with the ability to see any areas of the model(s) that were repaired during the process.
Photoshop CC will show any model repairs that have been automatically made to the mesh (marked up using Green for original mesh, blue for walls that have been thickened (based on the printer/material minimum wall thickness parameters) and red for any holes that have been closed).
With Stratasys Creative Colors in place for re-creating color 3D prints, it makes it super simple for designers to paint/texture, soft proof and review the model with it’s actual colours on the screen and make sure the print will be created as intended. The printing bureaus and printer operators will also reap the benefit, as making the final prints on the Connex 3 is much simpler, removing the need to apply color to the model based on the artists wishes, as well as a simpler printing process.
Stratasys Creative Colors employs Adobe’s effort with the PDF format, and it’s ability to preserve content. Stratasys Creative Colors utilizes the 3D PDF, which has been part of Acrobat and Adobe reader since 2007, and is an ISO standard. 3D PDF is an ISO standard by itself, called PDF/X. 3D PDF is already in use by many organizations and 3D artists across the world, and is a perfect format for 3D and 3D printing.
Photoshop CC includes the ability to consume and create native 3D PDF documents by using the U3D format, supporting complex geometry, multiple shells, lights, large meshes and textures.
Stratasys Creative Colors, draw’s upon the existing 3D PDF creation support from Photoshop CC and once the model has been fixed and processed, it will be placed into the 3D PDF, enabling the next step of the process. Stratasys Creative Colors and the 3D PDF will enable the 3D printer operating staff to not only preview the model, but also manage multiple 3D PDF objects on the printer bed. Having the ability to manage multiple models on the print bed, will create maximum usage of the 3D printer volume and thus creates cost efficiency for the customer, with more effectiveness of print time for the Connex 3 service bureaus.
3D PDF for 3D printing solves many of the current issues of 3D and 3D printing in a single format: –
Ubiquity – Ubiquity of the PDF reader removes the need to have a propriety 3D format viewer on the desk of the user to view 3D contents. This also means the viewer is able to experience the 3D model within it’s natural environment, as opposed to the 3D designer using just screen shots. Usage of 3D models in the PDF format has had support since 2007 and is already used within the industry to view models in this way.
Size – 3D models can be large in size, especially complex ones with fine details. 3D PDF was designed to solve the problem of large file sizes and transportation, 3D PDF is able to compress the file without loss of date, similar to the standard .ZIP format, allowing for the model to take up less storage space and take part in easier digital distribution.
Security – A weakness in current 3D formats is the ability to store and protect the contents when being distributed outside of the firewall. The PDF inherently offers AES256 encryption for both the document and the 3D object using password protection.
Once the 3D PDF has been processed by Stratasys Creative Colors, it is sent direct to the Stratasys Objet 500 Connex 3, and is ready for printing. Any support material that is required for the print to be successful, will be managed by the printers internal processing.
If you would like to download the Stratasys Creative Colours Photoshop CC profiles, you can download them from the Stratasys Direct Manufacturing site.
You can download a review guide from this website by clicking on the area marked in Red. To download the profiles for Photoshop CC, which allows you to paint in gamut (or as the printer will consume the paint colour information) by clicking on the area in purple.
I’ll be writing an in depth article on painting for this printer in Photoshop CC over the upcoming weeks.