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Adobe Dimension CC
Adobe Dimensions is part of Adobe’s huge push into 3D. However, it can be hard to keep up with the many different offerings Adobe is adding to the 3D space, either as standalone applications or as elements within core applications such as Photoshop.
At the vanguard of this 3D push is Adobe Dimension CC, a rare standalone Creative Cloud application. It creates a 3D environment that can take assets from either 2D or 3D applications, and renders them to a professional level quickly and easily on a wide variety of computer hardware.
For other 3D software options, check out our rundown of the best 3D modelling software around right now.
What is Adobe Dimension?
The great thing about Adobe Dimension CC is that it assumes the user has little to no knowledge of working in 3D, and therefore provides a wide range of assets to help you along. The software provides 3D models, materials, environments and lighting which can enable artists, out of the box, to create anything from a sci-fi landscape to a product model shot with ease.
Adobe Dimension CC has two main interfaces. One is a real-time layout interface, where an artist adds models, materials and images and the general environment and lighting. This view can support camera effects such as depth of field. When the scene is ready, switching over to the render view allows a full production render image to then be created.
Adobe Dimension CC offers either its own render engine, which supports de-noising, or the Chaos Group’s V-Ray render engine. These options allow Adobe Dimension to create renders as good as those from any 3D application.
If the assets that come with Adobe Dimension CC are not suitable, 3D files can be added from a wide variety of formats, and the material system in Adobe Dimension supports a wide range of image inputs including Normal maps. Adobe also provides a wide range of stock assets at that can be natively used with Adobe Dimension CC, making it an excellent all-round 3D layout tool.
To add models to Adobe Dimension CC, the best place to start is with the starter assets. There are a wide range to choose from, especially for demoing graphic design elements such as food packaging, book covers, clothing and T-shirts. Objects can be moved, scaled and rotated as desired, making setting up a scene very simple. As each element is added it can be seen in the ‘Scene’ palette on the right-hand side of the screen.
Again, just as with adding models, Adobe Dimension CC has an array of starter materials to help with quick and easy scene creation. Each of these materials can be modified in terms of colour, reflection and glossiness to create a range of looks from one starter material. Images can also be added, and these have their own separate material controls allowing a metallic label to be placed on a matte cardboard bag with ease.
Dimension CC has two distinct parts to creating a convincing environment for a scene. First is the lighting, provided as an asset from a range of options. It allows full surround lighting, which can interact with a ground plane and be rotated to suit the scene. The other element is the backdrop; in some cases Dimension can adjust the perspective to match the background image, great for setting up convincing shots that match the perspective of the background.
While the real-time view supports advanced features such as depth of field, when switched to the Render tab, the application is capable of creating professional-grade renders. Using either its own engine or V-Ray, Dimension renders details such as reflective elements and true lighting. There are three render settings, Low, Medium and High, fast to slow respectively. The Dimension engine is quicker than V-Ray, so bear that in mind when deadlines are tight.
When you import a background image, Adobe Dimension CC will automatically set the light, camera, perspective, aspect ratio, and more to make your object match perfectly. This takes out all the gues work and complicated compositing techniques.
When you choose an outdoor image, Dimension detects the direction and strength of the sun and automatically lights your object accordingly.
Familiar Tools and Shortcuts
Interface with Dimension just like other Creative Cloud apps, such as Photoshop and Illustrator. Work smoothly with familiar interactions like file organization, color picker, drag and drop, selection targeting, and more.
Multi-layered PSD Renders
Dimension CC allows you to export PSDs (Photoshop files), giving you more capabilities and control for post-processing 3D composites.
Material Editing Controls
Control the placement and appearance of textures for your materials with offset, rotate and tile options. For example, adjust the direction of the grain on a wooden object to get your desired visual effect.
Adobe Stock Assets
Get hundreds of free Adobe Stock assets that have been optimized for Dimension, accessible right inside the app. Customize your scene with thousands of 3D models, lights, and materials.
Real-time Render Preview
Dimension shows you a preview of what your final render will look like in real time, so you can get the look you want before taking the time to render. Play and experiment with different materials, lighting, and more and see how it looks as you go.