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Workshop: How to make cool art using Paint 3D

Added in the Creator’s Update, this tool is much more than a simple brush and paint bucket toy. You can do a lot more.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Windows Creator’s Update and its features, Microsoft has introduced a bunch of new stuff with the latest update to their operating system. Among these is Paint 3D, the much-talked about, latest version of the age old MS Paint. It wouldn’t be enough to call it just an upgrade because now the application supports a ton of entirely new abilities including, mainly, basic 3D modelling. Now, with Paint 3D you can not only make 2D art but also doodle in 3D and many other things that make it way more powerful than the humble Microsoft Paint. So, if you’re already on the Creator’s Update, let’s get started.

Getting started

Firing up Paint 3D, you’ll be presented with a bunch of tips and video guides to help you. But instead of getting lost in that right away, we’d recommend getting your hands dirty.

Hit ‘New’ and you’ll have a blank canvas proper up on a 3D grid extending on all sides. On the right, you’ll see a host of brush choices. You’re currently in the ‘Art tools’ section, highlighted by the brush on the black bar on top. These brushes let you define your brush stroke with options like Calligraphy pen, oil brush, watercolour and more. Of course, you also get the standard eraser and fill colour tool right here.


Before you start doodling, choose the thickness and the opacity from the sliders below the brushes to get the exact brush stroke that you want. You can also choose the finish from the drop down menu below that, with alternatives such as Matte, Gloss, Dull Metal and Polished metal. The colour selection is pretty much the same as its older, non-3D counterpart.

Doodle away

Doodling is what MS Paint was all about. Afterall, how many of us had the patience to carefully put in pixel-level details into a bitmap image? Not too many. Paint 3D retains the same emphasis on doodling, but lets you do a lot more.

To start off, doodle something onto the canvas (hopefully better than what we managed), choosing whichever brush strokes you feel like. This doodle can be converted to a sticker and placed on other 3D objects. To do that, click on the ‘Select’ button on the top right, and drag the selection box around your doodle. Once you’ve created the box, you should see new options underneath the select button – namely, Make 3D and Magic Select.


Hitting ‘Make 3D’ will convert your entire selection into a 3D object, it’s ‘Magic Select’ that makes this section useful. Click on it and Paint 3D will automatically select the part of your doodle that it recognises as a distinct object. You also have the option to add/remove parts of your doodle in this selection by selecting the respective mode on the right and drawing over the areas you want to add/remove. Once you’re satisfied with the selection, you can hit the green tick at the bottom to convert your selection into a separate layer. Now you can convert this into a sticker by hitting the ‘Make Sticker’ button on the right and place it on 3D objects.

But where will those objects come from?

Going 3D

They’ll come from the ‘3D objects’ tab. Now this is where the real fun in Paint 3D begins. Before we proceed, you might have noticed that the doodle you made in the last section has disappeared. Don’t worry, it is not gone forever and we’ll show you how to bring it back as a sticker once we are done with this section.


On the right, you’ll see a lot of entirely new features. The 3D models section lets you add pre-designed 3D models into your scene. Stuff like a doodle-ish male figurine, some pets are already there and you can find more by clicking on ‘Get more models’ which will take you to the Remix 3D portal. We will cover that in greater detail later in this article.

The 3D objects are standard shapes like Cube, Sphere, Cylinder, Capsule, Doughnut and Cone. The 3D doodle section offers you two modes – sharp edge and soft edge. In both modes, you make a 2D doodle that is converted to 3D. The soft edge mode just rounds the edges on your doodle – so ideal for making clouds or cotton candy.

Moving around

Irrespective of what 3D objects you’ve made so far, you get a few standard options to interact with them. Tap the ‘Select’ button and then click on an object. You can obviously drag the objects around to move them along the x and y axes. In addition to that, you’ll get four options, one on each side of the object. Three of those are for rotation along each of the axes, and the last on the left is for movement on the z axes. Using this option will change the perspective to an isometric view, as long as you are using the tool, to move the object in front of or behind other objects. This is pretty useful if you’re working on an entire scene.


Resizing and working on the Canvas

You can disable or hide the canvas by going to ‘Canvas’ on the top bar and toggling ‘Show Canvas’ or ‘Transparent Canvas’ off and on respectively. This section also allows to resize your canvas. Resizing your 3D objects is also dependent on the perspective. So, using the rotation tools we had mentioned earlier, first rotate the object such that the face that is to stay unchanged should be facing you. Now stretch any of the edges to widen the object in that particular direction. This works on complex 3D objects as well.


3D Art tools and stickers

All the art tools mentioned earlier work with the 3D objects in a manner that is akin to painting on them directly. With the 3D model in place, choose the brush and colour you want and simply paint over the object. Since the object is in three dimensions, you will have to rotate it to cover it entirely.

Paint3DYou also get the option to use stickers on your models. There are standard shapes like squares, stars that you can choose, or drag a bunch of premade stickers from a wacky collection. Check out the last tab in the Sticker window – Custom Stickers. Here, you’ll find any stickers you’ve made in the current session.

Get Pre-made Custom 3D models

The Remix 3D portal, accessible from the rightmost tab on the top row, is one of the most exciting things about the Paint 3D app. It is the online community where people upload their designs from Paint 3D. The models are nicely divided into sections like Staff Picks, Inspiration (which comprises models from certain categories, like Toys, Steampunk etc), Community Designs and Challenges. The challenges are quite similar to the inspiration section – what makes it differ is the task associated with the set, for example, Halloween scene, build a bot etc.

Arnab Mukherjee

Arnab Mukherjee

A former tech-support desk jockey, you can find this individual delving deep into all things tech, fiction and food. Calling his sense of humour merely terrible would be a much better joke than what he usually makes.