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

Microsoft's free 3D painting tool offers great functionality for 3D doodling

What to Know

  • Choose Canvas on the menu bar and turn on the Transparent canvas slider. Resize the canvas if needed.
  • From the 3D shapes menu, pick a 3D doodle tool. Draw a closed shape that begins and ends at the same place.
  • Use the tools that appear to change the shape and rotate it. Add additional closed shapes as needed.

This article explains how to create a 3D drawing in Microsoft Paint 3D by drawing shapes, changing their characteristics, and rotating them.

Setting the Canvas

Paint 3D canvas

Set up the canvas that you'll draw on. Choose Canvas from the top of the program to get started.

Activate a transparent canvas so that the background blends in with the surrounding colors. Do this with the Transparent canvas toggle. This is optional, but it avoids a final product with a white background.

Resize the canvas. By default, the canvas is measured in percentage form and is set at 100% by 100%. Change those values to whatever you like, or select 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 the aspect ratio. When locked, the two values will always be the same.

Choosing a 3D Doodle Tool

3D shapes menu

The 3D-doodle tools are located in the 3D shapes menu, accessed from the top of the program.

Two of these options include 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.

The third tool, tube brush, lets you create ribbons of 3D volume, or donut-like shapes.

Drawing With the Sharp Edge Tool

Screenshot showing how to use the Paint 3D sharp edge 3D doodle tool

Select the sharp edge tool and then pick a color for the object.

Draw a simple circle to start. As you draw, your starting point illuminates with a small blue circle. Click and drag for freehand, or click once and then move to a different location and click again to make a straight line. 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.

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 differently. 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 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 conventional 2D manner.

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.

Drawing With the Soft Edge Tool

Screenshot showing how to use the Paint 3D soft edge 3D doodle tool

Local and select the soft edge tool from the 3D shapes menu. Choose a color for the model.

Just as with the sharp edge doodle, you must complete the drawing by starting and ending in the same place.

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.

When you create objects with the soft edge doodle, rotate it to face a particular direction to alert the manipulation buttons about how you want to edit the model.

Downloading 3D Models

The drawing tools described above can be used to make models from scratch, as well as turn 2D images into 3D models. However, if you'd rather not make your own 3D art in Paint 3D, download models created by other users through the built-in 3D library.

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