Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Adobe Bridge update adds support for Dimension files

The June 2019 update of Adobe Bridge CC adds support for the Dimension .DN file format, so Dimension files can be previewed in Bridge. Previews will only appear for files that have been saved with a recent version of Dimension—older files won't preview.

More information about the recent Bridge update can be found here.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Adobe Dimension tutorial: Create 3D type in Photoshop and import in Dimension

Photoshop contains complex 3D modeling capabilities. But you don't have to know much about 3D in Photoshop to create some extruded type and bring it into Dimension for applying materials and lighting. Here's how:

1. In Photoshop, create a new document that is 1000 px square. The size isn't important, since we'll be creating a vector object to bring into Dimension. This is just a good starting point.

2. Use the Type tool to create a line of text, and make the type large. Again, the size isn't important.

3. Choose 3D > New 3D Extrusion from Selected Layer.

4. Use the Properties panel to experiment with Shape Preset, Extrusion Depth, and other settings. Don't worry about position, angle, shadows, color, or texture settings, as these will all be taken care of in Dimension. Just work with settings that affect the shape, such as Extrusion Depth, Twist, Taper, etc.

5. Once the model looks the way you want, choose 3D > Export 3D Layer.

6. Choose Wavefront|OBJ for the file format, and then click OK.

7. Name the file, and save it somewhere you'll remember.

8. In Dimension, create a new file.

9. Choose File > Import > 3D Model, and select the OBJ file you exported from Photoshop.

10. Choose Camera > Frame All to position the camera so you can see the entire line of type.

11. Apply materials and lighting and pose the type model in Dimension as desired.

Want to learn more about Adobe Dimension? See the Adobe Dimension CC Classroom in a Book I wrote published by Adobe Press.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Adobe Dimension tutorial: Import a model from 3D Warehouse

3D Warehouse is a huge repository of free 3D models. The site is run by Trimble, the maker of SketchUp 3D modeling software. Any SketchUp user can upload models to 3D Warehouse to share with others Many manufacturers of industrial parts, store furnishings, furniture, and other items upload models of their products to 3D Warehouse as well.

All of the models in 3D Warehouse are completely free to use in compositions or modify as desired, according to the license agreement. You can easily use models from this vast collection in Dimension. Here’s how.

1. Create a new file in Dimension, or open an existing file as I’ve done here. I want to place a stack of books on the coffee table in this scene.

2. In a web browser, go to

3. In the search field, type in keywords to search for. I searched for “books”, and found this model.

4. Click the download button, and choose SketchUp 2018 Model from the dropdown list. The file will be downloaded as a .skp file.

5. In Dimension, choose File > Import > 3D Model.

6. Select the .skp file you just downloaded, and click Open. The file will be imported, and placed in the scene. It may not be placed anywhere where it is may need to choose Camera > Frame Selection, or move it above other models in the scene in order to see it.

7. Position and scale the model as desired.

Want to learn more about Adobe Dimension? See the Adobe Dimension CC Classroom in a Book I wrote published by Adobe Press.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Adobe Dimension tutorial: modifying material properties with a bitmap

You can do a lot in Adobe Dimension just using the materials found in Dimension’s Starter Assets and the materials that you can purchase on Adobe Stock. But by adding a black and white or grayscale bitmap image to your material properties, you can create an infinite variety of surface appearances. This short tutorial will show you how.

You can download the files used in this tutorial here.

1. Create a new document in Dimension.

2. In the Content panel, choose Starter Assets, and click on the Beverage Can model to place it in the scene.

3. Choose Camera > Frame Selection to fill the screen with the can model.

4. Double-click on the surface of the can to select the Can Material. 

5. In the Content panel, click the Metal material in Starter Assets to apply the metal material to the model. 

6. In the Properties panel, click the swatch next to Base Color, and choose RGB 255, 161, 161 for the color.

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7. In the Properties panel, click the plus icon to the right of Metallic.

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8. In the pop-up, click select a file, and choose the lines.png file from the tutorial files that you downloaded earlier.

9. Change the rotation angle to 45°.

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10. Close the pop-up. Use the Orbit tool to rotate your view of the can. You’ll see that the lines are “shinier” than the area between the lines. This is because when a black and white bitmap is applied to the metallic property, the white areas are 100% metallic and black areas are 0% metallic. In this case the lines are light gray, so they set the metallic property to about 80% metallic.

Screenshot 004

For further experimentation, try replacing the lines bitmap with the jive.png bitmap. This bitmap contains four shades of gray. You can also try applying a bitmap to the Opacity, Roughness, and Glow properties.

Adobe has a nice visual summary of how bitmap masks affect various properties here.

Want to learn more about working with materials in Adobe Dimension? See the Adobe Dimension CC Classroom in a Book I wrote published by Adobe Press.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Working with canvas size in Dimension

On thing that surprises new users of Adobe Dimension is that when you choose File > New to create a new file, you aren’t asked for a file size. For a product named Dimension it doesn’t seem to care much about dimensions! But the width and height of your Dimension file does make a difference and you need to pay attention to this.

When a file is open, click somewhere outside of the canvas, and in the Properties panel you’ll entries for Canvas Size width and height.

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If you’re creating a Dimension scene for a real-world project, you certainly have specific size requirements. Let’s say you need the final file to be 4000px wide by 3000px high. Dimension is capable of this, but you might not want to begin your project at these dimensions. This is because the dimensions of the canvas have a big effect on rendering speed. So, in the early stages of a project, you might want to work at a lower resolution, but the same aspect ratio as your final requirements. So in this case, I’d work at 1000px x 750px size while I determined where to position my models and the basics of lighting and materials. This would allow Dimension to produce low-quality renders quickly so that I can see how the file is developing.

Then, once I’m confident of the direction that I want to take, I can increase the resolution of the canvas. Since the 3D models are vector, they will scale up cleanly to fit the new canvas size and you can continue working and complete your scene.

You can do math in any numeric field in the Properties panel. So a good way to scale up the canvas is just to enter the multiplication sign (an asterisk) followed by the multiplier. If you click the small padlock icon to the right of the height field, the canvas will be resize proportionally.

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Want to learn more about Adobe Dimension? I wrote the book! See my Adobe Dimension CC Classroom in a Book recently released by Adobe Press.

Monday, February 11, 2019

How to select models in Adobe Dimension

Selecting models in Adobe Dimension is similar to selecting objects in InDesign or Illustrator, with a few unique differences that you might find confusing at first.

I've put together a short video to help you understand the various ways to select models in Dimension.

Want to learn more about Adobe Dimension? See the Adobe Dimension CC Classroom in a Book that I wrote for Adobe Press.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

How to transform models in Adobe Dimension

In order to use Adobe Dimension effectively you need to know how to use the “transformation widget” to move, scale, and rotate models.
Adobe Dimension CC screenshot 001
I’ve put together a video that will help you understand how to use the transformation widget with the Select and Move, Select and Scale, and Select and Rotate tools.

Want to learn more about Adobe Dimension? See the Adobe Dimension CC Classroom in a Book that I wrote for Adobe Press.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Find free content to get started with Adobe Dimension

Adobe Dimension is a fantastic program that allows anyone to create realistic images from 3D assets for branding, identity, product shots, or just for fun!

But for many people, the barrier to entry to getting started with Adobe Dimension is locating 3D assets to use. Perhaps you’re a graphic designer and you’ve created an identity for a gourmet food company, and you want to show what the identity will look like on a variety of food packages such as jars, cans, boxes, pouches, etc. Or you want to show a screen from your Web site displayed on screens of various mobile devices, posed in realistic settings. To accomplish either of these things, you’ll need high quality 3D models of jars, cans, boxes, pouches, and mobile devices. Where can you get these?

Right in Dimension you’ll see a variety of “Starter Asset” models that are free and can be used in your project with a single click.

Screenshot 2019 01 29

But likely you’ll need more than this. The best place to look next is Adobe Stock. You can easily access Adobe Stock from within Dimension by clicking the Add and Import Content button at the top of the Tools panel and choosing Browse Adobe Stock.

Selecting Browse Adobe Stock from the Add and Import Content button

This will launch your Web browser and display a “sampler” of a few dozen free models available on Adobe Stock. 

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You might conclude that these are the only free models available on Adobe Stock. But there are actually hundreds of free images available! Unfortunately, there isn’t any way to search for only free images.

This link will display all of the non-premium 3D models available on Stock. As of today, that is 3,474 models, hundreds of which are free.

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Searching for “glass”, for example, you’ll discover several free images mixed in with the results.

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So, while there is no way to filter in Adobe Stock to display only free 3D models, there are hundreds available…you just need to dig. And, these models are optimized and tuned to work flawlessly in Dimension.

Want to learn more about Adobe Dimension? See the Adobe Dimension CC Classroom in a Book written by yours truly!