What Are 3D Graphics Designs?

3D Graphics designs, or images that display length, height, and width, tend to stand out. A unique look, these design assets are memorable and are becoming increasingly popular. Here’s what you need to know.

3D graphics describe images that appear to have depth, which creates a more realistic rendering of an image. Compared to two dimensional images, which just have height and length, three dimensional objects have height, width, and length. 

The difference between a 2D graphic design and a 3D graphic design is the same as the difference between a circle and a sphere, or a square and a block. 

2D vs 3D

Source: TechDifferences

The image on the right looks to be 3D for several reasons. For one, leading lines from the corners of the block are angled, creating an illusion of depth. 

Additionally, that side is a slightly darker shade than the other two sides of the block. 

In art, you can create depth by: 

  1. Overlapping objects 
  2. Use leading lines 
  3. Varying the sizes of different objects
  4. Adjust the placement of objects — objects at eye level look further away
  5. Use color to create shades and highlights 

New technology also helps graphic designers add 3D elements. Computer modeling, for example, allows them to create objects that exist within a three dimensional space.

Why Create 3D Graphics Designs 

Recently, 3D graphics have been trending. Designers have been using three dimensional design elements in logos, typography, animations, user interfaces (UI), and AR/VR designs. 

They’ve increased in popularity because 3D graphics designs are eye-catching and memorable. Because they’re visually appealing, they leave a lasting impression, which helps your audience recall your brand. 

By adding 3D elements to your logo, for example, can enhance your design and increase attractiveness to potential customers. 

The NFL, for example, created an animation that emphasizes the 3D elements of their logo. As the picture zooms in, the logo rotates, showing that it has depth. 

3D NFL Animation

Source: YouTube

At the same time, several blocks come together to showcase the logo. 

3D graphics designs are an effective way to keep your audience engaged over longer periods of time compared to traditional graphics. 

3D Graphics Designs Trends 

3D graphics designs have increased in popularity thanks to their ability to grab an audience’s attention. As designers look for ways to implement 3D elements into their designs, you may notice these trends: 

  1. Combining 2D & 3D designs
  2. Hyperrealism 
  3. 3D Typography 
  4. Animation 

Combining 2D & 3D Designs

When 3D designs first started gaining popularity in the ’90s, it was overused. Now designers know that they can convey their message more effectively if they use 3D elements sparingly. 

Recently, they’ve been combining 2D and 3D elements in the same frame. Because 3D elements stand out more on the page, this helps create visual hierarchy by drawing the audience’s attention to a specific point on the page. 

The realistic nature of 3D images, in contrast with 2D objects, often blurs the real world and fantasy. For example, the background of this image is 2D, but the subject, the girl and her dog are 3D. 

Combining 2D and 3D

Source: Behance

The effect makes it look like the girl and her dog are experiencing an unrealistic universe. 

Combining 2D and 3D elements also helps create a multidimensional story that is very powerful. For example, this filmmaker used 2D and 3D elements in their short film, Disorder, to portray a compelling message about climate change. 

Climate change 2D and 3D animation

Source: Premium Beat

The background is two dimensional, but the bulldozer tearing down trees is in 3D. This helps the artist show how dystopian the world is. Nothing seems to matter except production. 
Hyperrealism 

3D graphics are popular because they’re more realistic than 2D renderings. As technology has improved, graphic designers have continued to explore how they can make their graphics even more realistic than before. 

Known as hyperrealism, this is when an image looks so realistic, like it could be picked up off the page. 

This design strategy requires designers to have strong technical skills to create depth, perspective and focus. They do this by adding highlights, shadows, and grain to create texture. 

For example, these renderings of people look like they’re made of plastic. 

hyperrealistic 3D Image

Source: Amrit Pal Design

Notice how light seems to reflect on their hair and ears, but they’re shaded under hats. It looks like you could pick one off the page and play with it. 

3D Typography 

Typography is how designers stylize text. By adjusting the font, size, color, spacing, and alignment, they’re able to create a unique look and feel for their text. 

In doing so, they make their text stand out and create brand awareness when needed. 

Since 3D graphics designs are bold and grab the audience’s attention, many graphic designers have added three dimensional elements to their typography. 

For example, this UPS ad makes the UPS letters look like cardboard boxes. 

UPS 3D Typography

Source: DesignShack

Notice how the designer uses shadows to show the depth of each letter and to show that it is standing on a flat surface. They also added bar codes to the boxes, making it look like they’re ready for shipping. 

The look is very unique, but viewers still know what the ad is for. Combined with the text “All shapes & sizes,” this typographic ad clearly shows that UPS can ship anything, no matter what shape it’s in. Thanks to this unique design, potential customers will go to UPS for their shipping neads. 

Animation

When you think about 3D, you probably think of 3D movies, but there are more ways you can use 3D graphics designs in your day-to-day. For example, some businesses use 3D animation to create: 

  1. Explainer videos 
  2. Product pages 
  3. Advertisements 
  4. AR/VR experiences

In doing so, they engage their audience and grow their brand awareness. 

3D Graphics Designs Are Here to Stay

3D graphics designs have recently become very popular because of how they stand out from other designs

Many designers use 3D elements to emphasize important aspects of their design, create visual hierarchy, and enhance the look and feel of the designs. 

Because they’re so memorable, it seems that 3D graphics designs are here to stay. 

To use them to promote your business, consider combining them with 2D designs, using them to spice up your logo, or create depth to your typography. You can even create 3D animations to showcase your products or services. 

Make sure that you partner with a high-quality graphic design company that has experience with 3D graphics designs before you start your project.

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