3M plugin for Adobe Photoshop puts ‘visual spellcheck' at designers’ fingertips
Oct 20, 2020

Graphic designers, art directors and creatives of all types now have access to a powerful tool – one that’s described as a “visual spellcheck for design,” embedded within a popular design tool they use every day. 3M announced the new 3M™ Visual Attention Software plugin for Adobe® Photoshop® at the Adobe MAX 2020 Creativity Conference.

3M Visual Attention Software, or VAS, uses science-based algorithms to analyze visual content, simulating how people see in the “pre-attentive phase” and predicting what viewers are likely to notice in the first 3 to 5 seconds. This testing helps designers gauge which elements will attract the eye to, or distract from, the designer’s priority areas. The tool can analyze almost any visual content – web page layouts, digital banners, print ads, packaging and more – and arm designers with data to help make informed creative decisions, without needing to wait for days, weeks or months of costly market research.

VAS was first released in 2011 as a web-based application. This year at Adobe MAX, the 3M VAS team introduced a brand-new way to deploy the power of the VAS AI: through a plugin integrated directly into Adobe Photoshop. Plugins for other Adobe Creative Cloud® applications will soon follow. 3M was an early participant in a developer prerelease program for building plugins directly in Photoshop using Adobe’s new unified extensibility platform, its modern framework for building cross-app, native look and feel plugins.

“We’re continually exploring ways in which AI can help our users do their work quicker and more effectively,” said Vijay Vachani, senior director of product management for Adobe Creative Cloud Platform and Services. “We’re excited to see 3M VAS bring their technology directly to our shared customers in Photoshop, making it easier for them to create visual content with expected user behavior in mind.”

Using the VAS plugin for Photoshop means designers can integrate testing and insights directly into their everyday work stream – putting the unmatched power of science-based AI just a click away. Simulating first-glance vision, this software quickly and accurately predicts what will attract a person’s attention in the first 3-5 seconds. The Heatmap report gives an easy-to-read visual overview of which areas of a design are most likely to be seen, and the Gaze Sequence report shows the predicted order a person will view the first 4 areas most likely to be noticed – giving designers science-based data validating their visual hierarchy has been met.

“The 3M name is synonymous with innovation, and increasingly, that means we need to focus our vision on digital advancements. Our Post-it® Brand has created a mobile app to help bridge the physical and digital worlds. The Filtrete® Brand built a system that uses Bluetooth technology to notify homeowners when their HVAC filters need to be replaced,” said Jeffrey Lavers, executive vice president of 3M’s Consumer Business Group. “And with VAS, we’re demonstrating the power of 3M science applied to the creative field – putting data science at the fingertips of designers everywhere.”

Anyone who’s interested in trying 3M VAS can visit vas.3m.com to learn more and sign up for a free trial.

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