How to Rotate 3D Shapes in PowerPoint Advance Animation

How To Rotate 3D Shapes With PowerPoint Animations

This PowerPoint trick is so cool that it often makes people wonder how it could’ve been done in PowerPoint. It combines the simple concept of a flipbook with various angle settings to make stunning 3D spinning shapes.

PowerPoint Animation Demonstration


Creating 3D Spinning Shapes in PowerPoint can be broken down into 3 steps:

Step #1: Make your object
Step #2: Add animations
Step #3: Create layers to make the rotating effect

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Rotating 3D Shapes – Video Tutorial

Rotating 3D Shapes – Written Tutorial

Step #1: Make your object
Step #2: Add animations
Step #3: Create layers to make the rotating effect

Part #1: Creating the 3D Object

For this animation tutorial I’ll make a rotating cube, so on a blank slide (I’m using a slide with a blue gradient background color), insert a rectangle (or other shape / object of your choice) and format it anyway that you like.

For this tutorial, I’ll use this purple square.

PowerPoint 3D Spinning Objects Part 1 Step #1A - Create and Format Your Object

To make your object 3D, right-click the object and from the right-click menu select Format Shape.

PowerPoint 3D Spinning Objects Part 1 Step #1B - Right-Click Your Object

Within the format shape dialog box open, select 3D rotation, and add 20 degrees for the X and 20 degrees for the right so that you can see the depth of the shape.

PowerPoint 3D Spinning Objects Part 1 Step #1C - 3D Rotate Your Object

With the dialog box still open, navigate to the 3D Format section on the left side of the dialog box, change the color of the depth to something darker (I’ve chosen a dark purple), make the shape Depth on the right 200 points and then close the dialog box.

PowerPoint 3D Spinning Objects Part 1 Step #1D - 3D Format Object

The resulting shape for this animation tutorial is not a perfect cube, but it is good enough to demonstrate how to create a 3D rotation animation.

Part #2: Animating the 3D Object

The basic principle of the animation here is a flipbook, or stop motion effect.  To create this in PowerPoint 2010 and later, we must use both an Appear and Disappear animation on each object so that each one flashes in and out quickly, creating the illusion of motion (ironically, in versions 2007 and earlier, it’s actually easier to do by just adding a Flash Once animation to each object).

Let’s first begin by adding the Appear animation, so with your shape selected, from the Animations tab, select the Appear animation.

PowerPoint 3D Spinning Objects Part 2 Step #1A - Add an Appear Animation

With the Appear animation added, next open up the Add Animation dropdown and scroll down to the Disappear animation (so now the object is animated with both an Appear and Disappear animation).

PowerPoint 3D Spinning Objects Part 2 Step #1B - Add a Disappear Animation

With both animations added, open up the Animation Pane, select both the Appear and Disappear animations that we’ve just added, and change the timing to start ‘After Previous’.

PowerPoint 3D Spinning Objects Part 2 Step #1C - Start with Previous

Next select the disappear animation (the second animation in the Animation pane) and add a delay of 00.08 seconds in the Timing group.

PowerPoint 3D Spinning Objects Part 2 Step #1D - Change the Delay

Part #3: Layering The Objects to Create the Animation Effect

With the animations set and customized, next we need to start layering our object to create the visual effect of motion.

The actual sequence itself will be multiple layers of our object that when played, will create a flipbook-like effect in PowerPoint, with each new rectangle (or object) moving and rotating slightly, creating the visual effect of a 3D rotating object.

As the starting point, we want to begin with a simple 2D version of our object.

Step #1: Rotate Object Back Into A 2D Object – Right-click your object and from the right-click menu Format Shape and in 3-D Rotation, make both the X and Y rotation zero, hiding the depth of the object. So the depth is still there – it’s just hidden.

PowerPoint 3D Spinning Objects Part 3 Step #1 - Rotate Back to 2D

Step #2: Duplicate the Object – With the rotation set at zero, copy and paste or duplicate your object (CTRL + C / CTRL + V – or CTRL + D respectively for PC users) so that you have two identical objects on your slide.

PowerPoint 3D Spinning Objects Part 3 Step #2 - Duplicate Object

Note: Before you continue to create all of the layers for the 3D rotation animation, double check that your animations are set to ‘After Previous’ and that the Disappear animation has a 00.08 second delay.

Step #3: Rotate the New Object 10° –  Now we will begin rotating our layers to create the flipbook-like effect here in PowerPoint. To do that, right-click the new, duplicated object, select Format Shape from the right-click menu to open up the Format shape dialog box.

For this tutorial, we are going to rotate our object 180 degrees on both the X and Y axis. You can choose any increment you want to rotate the objects.  For this tutorial, we’ll rotate them in 10 degree increments (that is, you’ll increase the rotation by 10 degrees each time).

Note: The smaller the increments, the smoother your rotation will be, but it will take longer to make.  So 5 degree increments will look smoother than 10 degree increments but will take twice as long to make.

So in the 3D Rotation menu, change the X and Y axis to 10 degrees.

PowerPoint 3D Spinning Objects Part 3 Step #3 - Rotate 10 Degrees

Step #4: Place the New Object – With the 10 degree rotation set, select the object and place it directly on top of the previous object. You can use the Smart Guides in PowerPoint 2010 and 2013 (the dashed cross which I’ve highlighted in the picture below) to make sure the placement is perfect.

Perfect placement will ensure that you have a smooth animation effect.

PowerPoint 3D Spinning Objects Part 3 Step #4 - Place the Object

Step #5: Repeat Steps #3 and #4 Until the Rotation is Complete-– Repeat the copy / paste / rotation / placement sequence, for the remainder of your shapes, increasing the rotation angle each time.

For a 180 degree rotation in increments of 10 degrees, you will need 19 rectangles or shapes in total. If you are rotating by 5 degrees, you will need 37 shapes, etc. In the below image, I’ve added 19 rectangles.

PowerPoint 3D Spinning Objects Part 3 Step #5A - 19 Rectangles

Note: If you aren’t sure if everything lines up, you can do a quick check by selecting all the objects (CTRL + A on a PC), going to the Arrange menu on the Ribbon, selecting Align, then Align Center, then going to the same menu and choosing Align Middle.  This quick check ensures that objects are in perfect alignment, as demonstrated on the right.

PowerPoint 3D Spinning Objects Part 3 Step #5B - Aligned and Unaligned Examples

Step #6: Remove the Last Disappear Animation – Once you have all of your objects complete, remove the last disappear animation, so that your last object remains on the screen. Within the Animation Pane, simply select the last animation and hit Delete on your keyboard.

PowerPoint 3D Spinning Objects Part 3 Step #6 - Remove the Last Animation

Bonus Animation Formatting Tips:

Once you have everything completed, you can change the colors of the cube or change the shape altogether.

To play with different formatting options, first select all the objects again (CTRL + A on a PC). Then, to change the cube format, you can just go to the Format menu and change the settings there. Here I’ve changed the depth from 200 points to 100 points.

Bonus Animation Formatting Tips #1 - Changing the 3D Depth of the Object

To change the shape altogether, with all of the rectangles selected, from the Drawing Tools Format tab, open the Edit Shapes dropdown, select Change Shape and choose any shape you like. Here I’ve changed the shape into a hexagon.

Bonus Animation Formatting Tips #2 - Changing the Shape

Animation Closing Thoughts

While this animation trick can take a bit of time to perfect, the process becomes much faster and easier with practice.  Plus, once you do it the first time, you can reuse the same effect with a variety of shapes, so your efforts will be well worth it.

Try it out and see what combo of shapes and rotations you can come up with!

  • Mahin Khaled

    Hi Lia, can you please write a description blog for your video tutorial “how to make a kinetic typography effects” plzz

  • Obasi Nwokeji

    Mine isn’t working with the animations. 🙁

    • spicypresentations

      Can you say a little more? It should work if you follow the steps!

  • Chavi felsenburg

    Hi, what If I wanted to rotate a real object with showing its real 180 different views, Can I use ppt animation to be able to accomplish that? How do I put few photos for the different views?