How to get started in Paint 3D

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In Paint 3D, Microsoft is attempting to make using the third dimension in a familiar space. Paint’s retirement as an app on the Windows Store certainly isn’t the end of it, but it does mark Microsoft’s transition to replace default machines with their recently released Paint 3D. While the newer version is superior in options, it’s still a learning transition for those of us quite familiar with Microsoft Paint. Here are some basics for you to get started.

Starting up Paint 3D, you’ll be greeted with a Welcome splash screen. This is convenient for your first time opening it and you can disable it by clicking a checkbox at the bottom left of the dialogue. Also, you will need to sign into Remix 3D with your Xbox Live account. More on that later.

User Interface

Microsoft Paint 3D is decided to be simple to use. Your project is displayed in the left central panel. The top is the typical navigation pane determining what you’re doing on the field and will open more options on the right side of your project. While the icons are representative of what each does, you can always click on the ellipses at the right to turn on labels for each mode.

  • Art Tools – Select from tools to draw on objects and the canvas. Pens, pencils, paintbrush, watercolors, eraser, crayon, pixel pen, spray can, and fill can all be used in different methods. You can choose from a Matte texture, gloss, and metallic versions. Comes with a select palette or you can add your own custom colors by clicking on the plus sign.
  • 3D – Start with basic 3D shapes such as spheres, cubes, cylinders, capsules, and doughnut shapes with base color and color texture.
  • Stickers – These are flat images that you can place on the 2D canvas or onto the 3D models themselves. You can use default basic shapes, choose from a fun set of premade stickers, make your own, choose from texture stickers, or even import your own.
  • Text – You can create 2D or 3D text, select from a list of available fonts, size, bold, italic underline, alignment.
  • Effects – the direction and color of light in a 360-degree rotation around your canvas/project area.
  • Canvas – Settings for the available flat drawing area such as turning it on/off, transparent, reside by ratio/percentage or pixels, turn off resizing the image or let it crop the image.
  • Remix 3D – Sign up with your Microsoft account to join the Remix 3D community where you can upload, download, search for 3D models and projects.


2D Projects

Each new project will start with a flat canvas and the art tools will be open for coloring. By using the Art Tools, you can create similar (if not better) 2D images that you could in Microsoft Paint before. Only this time, there are much more options from brush strokes to easy selection, flipping, and maneuverability.

From the beginning, the flat image will be available to draw on. When you are done drawing, you can easily Save the Project as a 2D image.

How to get started in Paint 3D - - August 21, 2017

3D Projects

Microsoft Paint 3D is about making it simple to dive into 3D modeling. At default, 3D models such as human, cat, dog, and fish generic objects are available to start with. Similarly, you can start with basic 3D shapes such as spheres, cubes, cylinders, capsules, and doughnut shapes can be spawned in the canvas area to create your own models. While these lack texture, you can determine the base color and color texture.

The moment that you implement a 3D model into the project, saving the project as a 2D image is disabled. The project area can be rotated, moved, and drawn on. With the left cursor, you can position your item on the plane by dragging the 3D model where you would like to place it. While the object is selected, 3D placement icons appear on each side of its location that can be used by mouse or conveniently with a touchscreen.

  • Left – Positions the 3D model on the plane in relation to the canvas.
  • Top – Rotates the 3D model on its x-axis.
  • Right – Rotates the 3D model on its y-axis.
  • Bottom – Rotates the 3D model on its z-axis.

How to get started in Paint 3D - - August 21, 2017

Most rotation buttons have a 5-degree angle lock to make delicate positioning easier. With these buttons, you can place your models exactly where you want them. Once you have the base design for your 3D project, you can begin to use the Art Tools, Stickers, and other tools. Get creative!


Remix 3D

Looking for more 3D models or want to upload yours for others to use? That’s exactly what Remix 3D is for. This tab opens up a whole creative community that builds with Paint 3D and shares its contents. You can easily drop someone’s project into yours, edit it, and make something completely new. Similarly, if you like to show off what you’ve made, you can upload the same to Remix 3D.

Upon opening the Remix 3D tool, you’ll be greeted with a list of Staff Picks, but you can always search for what you want too. By searching the tags and names for a 3D model, you can find what you need quickly. By clicking on the eye icon, you can see the details of each submitted model including creator, description, tags, and more.

Project details also have a list of Remixes or Parts that the model has been used in or has used in it. This means that if you make a cute cat and that model is used for a collection of cute cats in a project, then your name will be shown right there with all the others. The community on Remix 3D is encouraged to share and interact with social media buttons to share the items you like the most and lets you save projects to collection board for later.

How to get started in Paint 3D - - August 21, 2017

While switching over to Microsoft Paint 3D could prove to be the next step in bringing 3D modeling and virtual reality to a wider consumer base, some of us will still be set in our ways using the tried and true Microsoft Paint, still available free on the Windows 10 Store.


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