How to Create a 3D Drawing in Microsoft Paint 3D

Here's how to make a 3D drawing from scratch with Microsoft Paint 3D

Screenshot of a new, blank canvas in Paint 3D
Paint 3D Canvas.

The very first step in making a 3D object with Paint 3D is to set up the canvas that you'll draw on. Choose Canvas from the top of the program to get started.

You can turn on a transparent canvas so that the background blends in with the colors around it. You might find this to make building models easier or harder, but either way, you can always toggle it on and off with the Transparent canvas option.

Below that is where you can resize the Paint 3D canvas. By default, the canvas is measured in percentage form and is set at 100% by 100%. You can change those values to whatever you like or click/tap Percent to change the values to Pixels like what's shown above.

The small lock icon below the values can toggle an option that locks/unlocks the aspect ratio. When locked, the two values will always be the same.

Choose whatever settings you see fit for your specific project, and then we'll look at using the 3D drawing tools below.

Tip: You can use these 3D drawing tools to make models from scratch as well as convert 2D images into 3D models. However, if you'd rather not make your own 3D art in Paint 3D, you can download models created by other users through the Remix 3D website.

Use a 3D Doodle Tool

The 3D doodle tools are located in the 3D menu that you can access from the top of the Paint 3D program. Make sure the options to the right of the program are showing the Select menu and then find the 3D doodle section below that.

There are two 3D doodle tools in Paint 3D: a sharp edge and soft edge tool. The sharp edge doodle adds depth to a flat object, which means you can use it to literally "pull out" 3D space from 2D space. The soft edge doodle makes 3D objects by inflating 2D objects, something that might be useful for drawing objects like clouds.

Let's take a look at both of these 3D doodle tools below...

How to Use the Sharp Edge 3D Doodle in Paint 3D

Screenshot showing how to use the Paint 3D sharp edge 3D doodle tool
Paint 3D Drawings (Using the Sharp Edge Doodle).
  1. Click or tap the sharp edge 3D doodle from the 3D doodle area described above.
  2. Pick a color for the 3D object.
  3. Draw a simple circle to start with.

    As you draw, you can very clearly see your starting point with the small blue circle. You can click and drag for freehand or you can click once and then move to a different location and click again, to make a straight line. You can also combine both techniques into one as you're drawing the model.

    No matter how you do it, always end up back where you started (at the blue circle) to complete the drawing.
  4. When the object is finished, it will remain only slightly 3D until you begin using the tools that automatically show up around the object when you click it. 

    Every tool moves the object in a different way. One will push it back and forth against the background canvas. The others will rotate or spin the model in whichever direction you need.

    The eight small boxes surrounding the object are useful too. Hold and drag one of those to see how it affects the model. The four corners quickly resize the object, making it larger or smaller depending on if you pull the box in or out. The top and bottom squares affect the size in that direction, letting you flatten the object. The left and right squares can make a small object much longer or shorter, which is useful when making true 3D effects.

    If you click and drag on the object itself without using those buttons, you're able to move it around the canvas in a traditional 2D manner.

As you can see in the picture above, the sharp edge 3D doodle is great for objects that need to be extended, but not so ideal for rounded effects. That's when the soft edge tool comes into play.

How to Use the Soft Edge 3D Doodle in Paint 3D

Screenshot showing how to use the Paint 3D soft edge 3D doodle tool
Paint 3D Soft Edge Doodle.
  1. Local and select the soft edge 3D doodle from the 3D doodle area of the 3D > Select menu.
  2. Choose a color for the model.
  3. Exactly like with the sharp edge 3D doodle, you must complete the drawing by starting and ending in the same place.

    You can do this by holding down the button as you draw to make more of a free drawing or you can click different points on the screen to make straight lines. You can even do a mixture of both.
  4. When the object is selected, use the controls located on the selection box to rotate the model around every axis possible, including pushing it back and forth toward and away from the 2D canvas and other 3D models.

    Tip: When creating objects with the soft edge 3D doodle, you sometimes have to really rotate it to face a particular direction before the manipulation buttons recognize how you want to edit the model.

    For example, with the pentagon-like cloud in the picture above, it had to be facing the right and left side before the right-most square would allow for it to be expanded out into a thicker cloud.