Level up graphic design quality with 3D.

mistake falling to differentiate

3D design may be best known for revolutionizing video games and animated films, but its capabilities are now changing the game in design departments across industries. Today’s businesses are transitioning from 2D design workflows to a combination of 2D and 3D, and their designers are saying 3D is essential to the work they do — and necessary to draw in consumers.

Even if you don’t work in entertainment, your business can benefit from 3D design capability. Not only do 3D apps allow you to create stunning 3D collateral, but they also help you boost the quality of your 2D designs while saving significant time and money.

Fortunately, barriers to learning 3D apps are lower than ever. For businesses that want superior quality creative collateral that creates a significant business impact, 3D design tools are the future — and the future is here.

The 3D quality advantage.

Design quality can be hard to measure, but it’s real.

When you look at a computer-generated render, you’re likely to have one of two reactions: an immediate, visceral, positive response to how real it appears, or the opposite — an uneasy sense that something is off or doesn’t look quite real. Known as the uncanny valley, this phenomenon arises from the extraordinary complexity of the human eye, which picks up thousands of nuances and factors all of them into your experience of the world. If even a few of those nuances are off, you know it — even if you can’t verbalize it.

It’s a subjective standard, but any quality design has to meet the criteria of the viewer’s level of believability — both consciously and subconsciously. And that’s where 3D tools help you up your game.

For example, one of those nuances that affects believability is imperfection. CG objects sometimes have a smooth, too-perfect quality to them, unlike real-life objects that have nicks, bumps, or other irregular tactile qualities. The difference becomes especially obvious when certain materials are introduced, such as metal, leather, or other reflective materials.

2D tools deal primarily with color, so working with things like texture or reflection are more difficult for them to handle. 3D texturing apps, however, provide not just the color of an object, but details about how rough or smooth the texture is, how sharp or diffuse any reflections will appear on it, and so on. 3D objects can do things like reflect other shapes around them because 3D tools automatically calculate the secondary elements that make the image feel real. You can change the texture from wood to leather, and the quality of the reflection changes accordingly.

The texturing tools available in the Adobe Substance 3D Collection offer incredible levels of realism for even minute details, which you can see in this scene of a badminton shuttlecock by 3D artist Jean-Bastien Jeneau-Rouleau.

Setting the mood.

Ultimately, all design is an illusion. Whether it’s photography, painting, drawing, or any other 2D medium, the goal is to simulate a 3D world in that 2D medium. And 3D tools open up infinitely more possibilities for doing that believably.

For example, one way to manipulate a scene in a 2D photograph is to combine elements from two different environments — but it can be difficult to integrate them in a way that looks realistically 3D. If a photo is taken on a sunny day, it’s almost impossible to combine it with elements of a photo taken on a cloudy day because of how many secondary elements in the photo change with the lighting. Not only does the sun shine directly on an object, but it also shines on the ground directly in front of it, which then radiates light up underneath the object.

These are the kinds of nuances that viewers instinctively feel. And 3D design tools help work with these nuances so you can manipulate the mood and ambiance of your work, whether you’re crafting a fictional scene or bringing a real-world product to life. 


This 3D render of lotion bottles was created 100% digitally, but has the bright, polished feel of a carefully-crafted studio shoot. 

Quality collateral with business impact.

3D design tools unlock new creative capabilities that let you take even your 2D designs to new heights. That’s compelling from an artistic perspective — but how does this level of design quality translate into business impact?

Here are a few ways you can take full advantage of the high-quality output available with 3D tools — right in your regular design workflow.

  1. Use 3D to help sell your ideas to clients by putting 2D design elements on 3D products. Seeing a new logo on a white page is one thing — seeing a detailed, realistic representation of it on a T-shirt or water bottle brings it to life.
  2. Create ultra high-quality virtual photoshoots with results that are indistinguishable from live photoshoots. With the incredibly detailed materials, models, lighting, and composition options available in 3D apps, you can create realistic 3D scenes that are just as good as the real thing — and much easier to scale as campaign needs change.
  3. Save time in the prototyping process. Turnaround time goes way down when you can see how tweaks to a package or product design look in 3D without having to wait for a prototype of every new iteration. 3D can also help you catch any unexpected design snafus early on, like a text wrap that creates an inappropriate word or seam that causes pattern mismatching.
  4. Design for augmented reality to allow customers to see how products will fit in their spaces. Amazon has proved that giving consumers the opportunity to virtually try on clothes or see a shelf unit projected into their kitchen space increases conversions — and including more 3D images on product pages also decreases the number of returns.
    Position your brand for the future. Building 3D design capability now will prepare your business to be part of whatever new worlds AR, VR, and the metaverse might bring.

Level up with Adobe Substance.

The world is moving in a 3D direction, and if you want your brand to keep up and stand out among competitors, 3D is what you need — regardless of your industry.

The Adobe Substance 3D Collection can help you move seamlessly into the 3D realm, where you’ll see the quality difference in your 2D designs immediately as you ramp up your 3D rendering skills. Familiar interfaces allow you to flex your creativity with precise tools that let you control everything from shine, metallicity, and shadows to scale, orientation, depth, and movement. With the right tools, you’ll be able to create designs so good, customers will believe their eyes.

Adobe can help.

Smart creative apps and an ever-growing library of production-quality assets combine in the Adobe Substance 3D Collection to make 3D design more approachable than ever. Easy to use and impossible to outgrow, these tools are transforming workflows for designers of all backgrounds and across industries, allowing them to create stunning content at warp speed.