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Paint 3D: Going 3D with your PowerPoint designs

As a management consultant, I’m always on the lookout for new and emerging trends in my clients’ businesses. Given my passion for spicy presentations, I’m also scanning the market for new presentation technologies as well.

As part of a series on presentation trends for 2017 for PowerPoint MVP Ellen Finklestein, I wanted to share the presentation GAME CHANGER I’m super excited about for 2017.

Microsoft is on a mission to launch “3D for everyone” next spring with its epic Windows 10 Creator Update that will allow us to make 3D sketches and 3D PowerPoint presentations.

Surprisingly, this will all be possible thanks to an update to the Microsoft Paint program – which is now becoming Paint 3D. Who knew that something as basic and “caveman” as Paint would be paving the way to the future!

Below is a very simple submarine made by a kid playing around in the software. The program is meant to be very intuitive.


While Paint 3D is only coming out next year, you can get it as a preview already in some countries, including the US, so I wanted to do a quick tutorial so that once you get access to the program, you can get started right away with the tricks in here (at the end, I’ll show you how to get the previe

What you can do with Paint 3D

Let’s start with a spicy demo of what you can do with it… your mind will be blown. For example, imagine being able to make presentations with 3D models, using the Morph transition to spin things around, such as in this simulated presentation I made with a 6-sided cube…

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Paint 3D demo

So here is what the Preview of Paint 3D looks like right when you open it. From here, you can use the typical features of Paint to draw – but the real fun comes with drawing using this 3D drawing feature by clicking on the cube here. If we then go down and click on the right option here, we’ll be able to add depth to whatever object we draw.


Once the object is drawn in (this star shows my lack of artistic ability, by the way!), you can rotate it around and pull it back as far as you like.


Another classic thing you can make is a cloud – because it works really well with this soft edge 3d feature (the option on the bottom right), which gives it a nice puffy look, sort of like a balloon or a pillow, when you rotate it. You can then look at the shapes from all angles and then color them in in further as you like.


However, I personally have no artistic ability whatsoever when it comes to drawing from scratch (as you saw with the star), so my favorite thing to do in this program is use pre-made objects done by real artists and customize them.

The way to get pre-made objects is to go to this 3D sharing community called Remix3D, which is already available in many countries, where you can see objects uploaded by other users, including professional ones done by the Microsoft team themselves.


Let’s find a cool object to customize. I’ll search for the word “city apartment building 2” and click on it, given it has some ample wall space to customize. As you can see, this is an example of a professional object made by Microsoft.


If you click on the easel icon, third on the right under the Microsoft logo, you can add it right into Paint 3D. Once it’s imported into Paint, you can then rotate it around, draw on it, and customize as you like.


My favorite way to customize is by adding something called “stickers,” or your own images that get wrapped around the objects. To add stickers, go to circle icon on the menu, then to the right-most tab, then choose the Add My Own option (the plus sign).


From here, you can choose your own image to add. For a cool building image, I chose an ad for my Spicy Slide Pack – just for fun. I put my face on the ad so you can see how something like a campaign poster might look like too. Before I placed the sticker, I rotated the building so that a blank wall was showing (a perfect canvas for any custom image, which is why I like this building model in particular).

Here is what it looks like after resizing. After I’m done, I hit the “stamp” icon on the right so it stamps right on. After I rotate it, you can see that the sticker moves right with the building as if it’s really stamped on.  You can rotate the building to any angle – and you have yourself a customized creation – pretty cool.

Pro Tip: When you’re using stickers, make sure your sticker doesn’t touch the edges of the side you’re working with – otherwise, it can bleed over the edge and not look good – hopefully this is something that will get fixed in the regular version. To avoid this bleedover, leave a slight border around the sticker – it will be barely noticeable.

Once you’re done stamping on the sticker, you can then save your project as a Paint project or as a 2D image (PNG, JPEG, etc.) so you can start using it right away in your projects and presentations.


However, don’t count on the quality being too high just yet in this Preview version. While the models look perfect in Remix 3D, and the stickers look good before y
ou import, when you get everything into Paint 3D, the quality goes a bit downhill and becomes more pixelated. So I wouldn’t be using it with 4K monitors just yet, but still great for some experimentation and fun (I personally can’t stop playing with it!).

For the cube at the beginning of the post, I followed the same process of adding stickers to a cube shape that I made in Paint 3D. I just pasted stickers of different colored squares with words onto it (being careful with the edges). It’s actually fairly easy to make – it just takes a little patience to align everything carefully.


You may also be wondering how I got the “animations” to work in the videos.

These are actually simulated animations, since right now, the only way to make motion is the “caveman way,” which is just rotating the objects by clicking and dragging – while recording the screen. You can then crop the edges of the video to give it a white background, then insert it into PowerPoint just like a regular video. Also, if you have a video editor with green screen compatibility, like Camtasia, you can even add a green screen behind your object when you spin it, then remove this color in your video. So just a couple of ideas to think about.

You can record the video with a free screen recorder like CamStudio or in PowerPoint itself with the screen recording tool, if you have version 2013 or later.


It’s not very elegant, and like I said, it’s not the highest resolution right now, but it will amaze your audience because they’ll say – how in the world did you do that?!

Now there are a TON of other things you can do in the Paint 3D preview (including 3D printing from it!) but this overview should be enough to get you started playing with it.

How to get Paint 3D


In order to get Paint 3D as a preview, you need to be a Windows Insider, which is available in select countries. Microsoft has a great step-by-step post on how to get access to Paint 3D (including the countries that have it).

Have patience – you may run into some snags, and it may take a while. It took me almost 24 hours (which seemed like an eternity!) to get Paint 3D to appear – but it was well worth the wait.

Well I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, and it’s inspired you to think about how our presentations will be transformed very soon with the use of these 3D tools. Imagine using 3D graphics with the morph transition in PowerPoint to seamlessly rotate equipment diagrams, for example, and so many other things – presentations will never be the same.

Check out this “engine of the future” simulated animation I made, for example:

To see this full tutorial in video form (with additional spicy examples), check out my 3D Paint Preview with PowerPoint Animation video here.

Thanks for checking out this tutorial, and if you know of any other emerging presentation technologies – let me know, and I may feature it in a future post.

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