With Photoshop, you can print any compatible 3D model without worrying about 3D printer limitations. In preparation for printing, Photoshop automatically makes 3D models watertight. Photoshop also generates the necessary support structures—scaffolding and rafts—to ensure that your 3D prints are successful.
- Select Window > Workspace > 3D to switch to the 3D workspace.
- Open the 3D model in Photoshop. If necessary, customize the size of the 3D model while opening it.
- Select 3D > 3D Print Settings.
- In the 3D Print Settings panel, choose whether you want to print to a printer connected to your computer through a USB port (local printer) or use an online 3D printing service, such as Shapeways.com or Sculpteo.
You can now print 3D models as 3D Manufacturing Format (3MF) files. While specifying the 3D Print Settings, select Print To: Local and Printer: 3MF File. When you print the 3D object, Photoshop generates the 3MF file. On computers running Windows, Photoshop also launches Microsoft 3D Builder for you to work further on the 3MF file.
To refresh the list of supported printers or online profiles, select Get Latest Printers from the Print To pop-up menu.
To view estimated prices for printing the 3D model using available Shapeways.com profiles, select Printer > Estimate Price.
- Select a unit for the printer volume—inch, centimeter, millimeter, or pixel. The unit is reflected in the Printer Volume dimensions as well as the print plate measurements.
- Select a Detail Level—Low, Medium, or High—for the 3D print. The time required to print the 3D object depends on the detail level that you choose.
- If you don't want to see the 3D printer volume overlaid on the 3D model, deselect Show Printer Volume Overlay.
- Adjust the Scene Volume dimensions to specify the desired size of the printed 3D object. When you change a value (X, Y, or Z), the other two values are scaled proportionately. As you modify the Scene Volume dimensions, notice that the print plate under the 3D model scales in proportion.
You can scrub the value of a Scene Volume dimension by clicking the dimension label (X, Y, or Z) and then dragging the mouse left or right. Hold down the Shift key to make the value scrub faster.
- Choose Scale To Print Volume if you want Photoshop to auto-scale your 3D model, such that it fills up the available print volume of the selected printer.
- If the 3D model has normal maps, bump maps, or opacity maps; you can choose to ignore one of more types of these maps while printing the model. You'll notice that the 3D model updates in real time when you change these Surface Detail settings.
- You may choose to not print the support structures (scaffolds or rafts) required for the 3D object. Use this option with caution, since the printing of the 3D model may fail if you don't print a necessary support structure.
- If your printer supports multiple materials, choose the material that you want to use for printing the 3D object.
You can enable an experimental feature that lets you print continuous tones using your MakerBot Replicator 2x 3D printer.
As a prerequisite to multitone printing, you must enable experimental features in Photoshop:
- Select Preferences > Experimental Features.
- Select Enable Multitone Printing.
- Click OK.
- Restart Photoshop.
Experimental features are not yet production-ready. Use these features with discretion.
- Select the MakerBot Replicator 2x printer in the 3D Print Settings panel.
- Under Material, select Multitone Surface. If this option is not available for selection, ensure that the Multitone 3D Printing experimental feature is already enabled.
- Select other options relevant to the 3D object that you're printing.
- Select 3D > 3D Print to preview and print the 3D object.
Once you're done specifying the 3D print settings, follow these steps:
- Click the Start Print icon () or select 3D > 3D Print. Photoshop unifies the 3D scene and prepares it for the printing process.
- If you chose to print using a Shapeways.com profile, Photoshop prompts you that the actual cost of printing may differ from the displayed estimates. Click OK.
- In the preview window that appears, use the 3D camera tools to rotate, zoom, or move the 3D object.
Rotate the 3D camera
Roll the 3D camera
Pan the 3D camera
Slide the 3D camera
Reset the 3D camera to its original location
- If necessary, select Show Repair. Photoshop displays the Original Mesh, Wall Thickness, and Closed Hole repairs using appropriate color coding:
- Optionally, enable Raytrace Preview. Raytrace previews represent the printed output more accurately.
- If you want to export the 3D print settings to an STL file, click Export and save the file to an appropriate location on your computer. You can upload the STL file to an online service or put it on an SD card for local printing.
- Review the 3D print summary and click Print.
You can cancel an in-progress 3D print by selecting 3D > Cancel 3D Print.
Photoshop provides interactive wizard-based utilities that you can use for configuring, calibrating, and maintaining your 3D printer. You can use these utilities only when the 3D printer is powered on and connected to your computer.
Calibrate Print Plate
Helps level the print plate. This utility performs the following broad steps:
- Prompts you to remove any leftover printing material from the 3D printer
- Initializes the print head
- Lets you adjust/finetune the gap between the print plate and the print head for nine nozzle positions
You can use this utility in the wizard mode or in the manual mode.
At times, you may want to print multiple instances of the same object on the same build plate. Follow these steps:
- Select the required objects in the 3D Panel.
- Select 3D > Pack Objects On Ground Plane.
- Proceed with printing the objects.
What 3D printers are supported?
Photoshop currently supports the following local 3D printers:
- MakerBot Replicator 2
- MakerBot Replicator 2x
- ZCorp Full Color
- Mcor Iris
- MakerBot Replicator 5th Generation
Additionally, Photoshop supports several Shapeways.com and Sculpteo profiles.
Direct USB printing with the MakerBot Replicator 5th Generation printer profile is not supported yet. You can export the files you want to print to a USB stick and then print them locally.
Can I apply a cross section to a 3D model before printing it?
Yes. You can define cross sections to slice away parts of a 3D model before printing. Follow these broad steps:
- Select Window > Workspace > 3D to switch to the 3D workspace.
- Open the 3D object you want to print.
- Select Scene in the 3D panel.
- In the Properties panel, select Cross Section.
- Specify settings for the cross section in the Properties panel.
- Select 3D > Apply Cross Section To Scene.
- Print the 3D scene.
Before printing, you must bake the cross section you've defined.
Can I apply bump/opacity/normal maps to a 3D model before printing it?
Yes. Follow these broad steps:
- Select a material in the Scene panel.
- In the Properties panel, click the folder icon () next to Bump/Opacity/Normal and load a texture. You can also define a new texture that you want to apply to the 3D model.
- If you're defining a new texture, save the texture. The texture is applied to the 3D model as a bump/opacity map.
- Print the 3D model.