Microsoft programs make it easy to incorporate 3D models easily into designs. Whether animating in PowerPoint or 3D modelling in Paint – designers can simply integrate, customise, and share 3D animations for a variety of purposes and platforms.
3D models are incredibly useful in demonstrating information in greater detail, allowing for various views and perspectives. This isn’t just valuable in exploring content in depth, but in creating a more engaging experience for audiences – taking things from flat 2D to interactive 3D.
Microsoft launched a free a massive library of 3D models through its website (and in-program resource) Remix 3D. Unfortunately, the site was retired in early 2020, but Microsoft directed users to OneDrive for sharing 3D models, offering additional tools, permission settings, and security to help protect data and content.
The ability to insert 3D models, either user generated or those provided by Microsoft, into Paint 3D, 3D Viewer, 3D Builder and Photos as well as PowerPoint, Word, Excel, and Outlook remains unaffected. However, Microsoft deleted all user-generated 3D models and associated metadata from its systems, and users are no longer able to download or request a copy of them from them.
Incorporating 3D Models in PowerPoint
The first step is to open your presentation in PowerPoint. To insert the 3D model that you would like to use, click Insert > 3D Models. From the dropdown menu, you can select: From a File / From a Device or Online Source / Stock 3D Models.
If you don’t have a file already designed and save, opting for Online Source / Stock 3D Models allows you to search for what you want through Microsoft’s free library. Notice in the example below how All Animated Models, Animated Animals, and Animated for Education all have an icon in the bottom right? This is to let you know that some of the 3D models in this category have built-in animations that you can easily incorporate into your design.
Once you insert the 3D model, you’ll notice the re-sizing handles along the edges of the image with a rotation icon in the centre. Click and hold your mouse pointer on the rotation device to rotate your 3D image in any direction.
Creating 3D Models in Paint
To keep things completely uniform it can often be easier creating 3D model in Paint, which can then easily be integrated into your PowerPoint file. It may not be the most comprehensive program, but it does make things simple for first time animators and 3D designers.
When you open Paint, you’ll see an Open Paint 3D button that you click to open the 3D version. You can also find Paint 3D directly on your Windows Start menu. A quick way to start is click the 3D library icon at the top (a cube with a magnifying glass), scroll down to choose a category, and click one of the 3D Objects choices. This library is also available directly in PowerPoint.
From here, either in Paint or PowerPoint, drag the 3D model onto your canvas and use the various rotation options.
Within Paint, you can add textures, “stickers”, and text. Just click onscreen and try out the options. When you’re done, click the File icon and save as a Paint 3D file. Then choose File again and export. Choose a file type and you’ll get to name your file and choose a location.
The formats that PowerPoint accepts are 3D Manufacturing Format (3MF); Filmbox Format (FBX); Object Format (OBJ); Polygon Format (PLY); Stereolithography Format (STL); and Binary GL Transmission Format (GLB).
Animating 3D Models in PowerPoint
The quickest and easiest way to animate your 3D model in PowerPoint is through Morph. First duplicate your slide and reposition your model to the next view you’d like to highlight. You can even resize and reposition the 3D model – morph will understand and seamless animate any changes made, which you’ll find easily under the Transitions tab.
Under the Timing section, you can set the duration, you can add sound, and under advance slide, you can select if you want to have the morph come in at mouse click or without it and you can just set the duration.
When updating 3D models in PowerPoint, the biggest issue we find is that there’s no way of knowing camera positioning. Our hack solution was to get a zip file of the PowerPoint by renaming the .PPT as .ZIP and forcing a replace of the model. We thought this would break everything, but once we updated it and deleted the extra things, camera angles were perfect.
Next time, we’ll explore how formatting 3d models in PowerPoint allows users to customise your model’s material, lighting, and camera angles.