Remember when printers were expensive? I recall a time when you had to spend thousands of dollars just to get something that would print a few lines of text, and later on a photo. Now that sort of money can be spent on something that prints a tangible object, and Adobe is helping out on the software side of things.

This week, anyone with a copy of Photoshop CC (that’s the Cloud subscription-based version of Photoshop, for those keeping track at home) is receiving an update to make it possible to print 3D models into, well, 3D objects.

Why go to the beach and pick up real shells when you can print a 3D shell?

“The new 3D print capabilities in Photoshop CC take the guess work out of printing 3D models for everyone,” said Adobe’s Winston Hendrickson, Vice President for Products in Creative Media Solutions

“Before today there was a gap between the content produced by 3D modelling tools and what 3D printers need in order to deliver high quality results. Now, by simply clicking ‘Print’ in Photoshop CC, creatives can bring 3D designs to the physical world.”

It’s not just a matter of clicking print and hoping your 2D laser or inkjet printer will bring the 3D creation to life, as you still need a 3D printer to make a 3D model come to life, but at least the software side of things is less of an issue, especially for people who plan to invent things out of polygons and have them printed into physical pieces of plastic.

Still, the software update comes as more people begin to embrace 3D printing, and with several types of 3D printers likely to hit the market in Australia this year, venturing beyond the borders of America and of crowd-funding websites like Kickstarter, it couldn’t come at a more appropriate time.

Already, 3D printers are being used with more than just plastic to make prototyping parts possible, with the technology even being used to print chocolates outside of the flat pieces that you normally consume from a chocolate bar.

Whether you choose to see the American chocolate brand Hershey’s as decent chocolatey goodness, the company will be working with 3D printer maker 3D Systems to explore new ways of manufacturing sweets. 

It’s unknown whether people at home will be able to equip their 3D printers to make 3D lollies, but we can hope, and those of you with 3D printers, well, you can fiddle and tell us if it works for you.