I’ve been looking for simpler alternatives to Photoshop, Illustrator, GIMP & Inkscape to quickly sketch ideas. I think I’ve found it in Microsoft Paint 3D.
I just wanted a sketchbook application…
Photoshop & Illustrator, GIMP & InkScape are great applications, but unless you have a project definition on what you want, the application complexity can really get in the way of in-flow creativity. So for creating ad-hoc ideas I wanted something a lot more simple and quick and intuitive to use.
I need imaginative Logos and Images so something quick to use like Microsoft Powerpoint with more graphics and 3D effects would be cool. Above all it must be real simple to allow ideas to flow and show. I can always use the big apps to flesh out further once I have come up with the base idea.
Well I never knew that…
I have been using Windows 10 since it was released, and never thought of using the Paint 3D app that comes with it. So the other day when I needed to create a Logo for this blog I thought I’d give it a try.
It reminded me of PowerPoint in that the picture is built up using elemental shapes and treated like individual movable objects. I didn’t think Paint 3D would work like a drawing program. I assumed it was like the old Paint with some added 3D effects, so had just ignored it as another pixel paint program that I was fed up with. So I got quite a shock, when I tried it out because it was just what I wanted.
I got my wish…
Microsoft’s Paint 3D is no longer just a pixel canvas. It has added object-oriented drawing functionality with pixel paint rendering of those objects. I can understand why they still called it Paint because the 2D pixel canvas still exists. But now Microsoft also allow you to draw 3D shapes and render them with the familiar brush painting tools. It’s not as flexible as a wire frame 3D application, but then it’s not as complicated to learn either.
If I had been able to code my idea of the software drawing tool that I wanted, this would have been it. I definitely could not have created this, but I think they must have read my mind because this is so intuitive and so simple to master in a few days that it is impressive.
2D Image Composition is still there
You can still use this like the original Paint application to create 2D pictures using brushes and the pixel pen, just like Photoshop. But it now comes with the ability to add clip art style stickers to your image as well as textures. You can even select parts of a painting to save it as a sticker to render your 3D & 2D objects later.
3D Object Creation has been added
You can take your paintings to the next level by adding in 3D objects. Easily re-creating images in 3D and color rendering the images using the brushes, stickers and textures. Of course the editing is simplified, everything is simplified, thus making the 3D drawing process so easy, quick and painless.
You can group 3D objects together and colour them using the brush tools or stickers. 3D objects can also be placed against a 2D background canvas, or uploaded as stock models in an online library, for re-use in other paintings later.
Text Objects have been improved
Paint 3D also does a good job of creating 2D & 3D text objects. Although text manipulation is a little sparse, I have found that you can apply paint and sticker rendering to these as well as create some fantastic 3D object merging effects.
3D Image Composition is so easy
It’s surprisingly easy to create a composite 3D picture. You can import a photo onto the canvas to use as the background for your 3D models. So much more user-friendly than Blender for instance.
You can also have a transparent canvas so that only a single or composite 3D image is exported. A wide choice of both 2D and 3D file formats exists. You can import .fbx files into Blender for instance to perform more powerful processing.
It’s alive, it’s alive…
I get to create, and create and create easily. I can spend more time developing the best ideas using a more sophisticated application. But surprisingly there’s so many creation features that I can produce a professional high quality design using just Paint 3D. I wasn’t expecting all that for free.
My first 3D composition is the TappinToad logo, Sitename and Tagline blog header image. The Toad image took a couple of hours to work out on the first day of using Paint 3D. Adding the 3D sitename and tagline on the second day took a couple more hours to work out. Most of the time was spent creating the idea. Using Paint 3D is so simple it took literally no more than 30 minutes to use the application to the full.
It only takes days to learn, then creating is a breeze…
My next example, of a combined 2D and 3D composition is my Twitter Page header. It’s a copy of the blog header image added over the top of a background image placed on the 2D canvas. Then exported as a jpg file & uploaded. It took less than 5 minutes to create after only two days of using the application.
I also created several variants of the 3D Toad image, with different tongues. Each took literally minutes to copy and change using the rotation, yaw, skew and z-axis handles to make a different image. I’d be forced to draw each image using a 2D drawing application, but because the image is a 3D object I can create hundreds of variants in minutes, rather than hours.
Suffice it to say, I love this application. It’s a time saver, it’s now the new MS Basic revelation when you buy a new Microsoft PC. I for one am going to say goodbye to 2D drawing, and “hello 3D world”.