Architectural and environmental design Showcasing spatial concepts with 3D


Prototype and visualize spaces such as architectural interiors, signage, floor layouts, retail storefronts, and more.

555 East Arch Scene

Credit: Kyle Jones. Created with Substance by Adobe, 3ds Max, and Corona Renderer.

Go from 2D to 3D to the real world.

We experience the world in three dimensions, so it can be difficult to make decisions when presented solely with 2D diagrams meant to represent it.  Building out physical spaces in a digital environment allows reviewers to get a much better sense of what they’re seeing and how well it meets their intended goals. Quickly prototype ideas to convey a general sense of the concept, or achieve a more fleshed-out concept that incorporates photorealistic elements and real-world settings.


Seeing the proposed elements in a 3D context can make a dramatic difference in the perception of designs compared to viewing the items on their own.

Canopy Yerba Buena Gardens

Credit: Vladimir Petkovic. Scene staged and rendered with Adobe Dimension; tent created with Marvelous Designer. Created as an example visualization of a tent prior to an actual event.

Building out your spatial designs in 3D can help persuade the audience by capturing full clarity of the design intent and how well it accomplishes the project’s objectives. Visualizing designs in a 3D context is extremely valuable for audiences. They might not be used to reviewing or approving only 2D mockups to showcase what the designs might look like in actual space.


Augmented reality streamlines review processes even further by visualizing how the concept will work in the physical environment it will exist in. Explore how well the designs work in context, viewing them in the real world from every angle. Save costly production errors by avoiding the creation of designs that aren’t the right size for the space or don’t work well when placed in their proposed locations. Avoid trial-and-error when creating things like branding signage for convention centers, making sure it fits the physical space and is visible from all angles.


Clearly communicate design concepts in 3D.

Prototyping proposals in Adobe Dimension helps speed up the process and makes it easier for designers to do quick mockups of concepts without having to outsource expensive spatial renderings. The available tools make it easy to show multiple perspectives and different iterations of concepts. It’s also easy to continue iterating designs by swapping out logos, materials, colors, and more.

Anna Natter 2
Anna Natter Meeting Box 1

Credit: Virtual Conference with Meetingbox by Anna Natter. Created with Adobe Dimension, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Substance Source.

True photorealism for the final pitch.

Ronan Mahon Image

Credit: Ronan Mahon using Substance Source materials.

With more 3D practice, achieve photorealistic surfaces in your scenes for objects and building architecture by adding materials and textures to your 3D models using Substance Painter. Personalize your textures using Substance Alchemist, or pull from the robust library of materials offered by Substance Source. Leverage additional 3D content available on Adobe Stock. Sourcing or creating environmental or architectural models can help more accurately represent environments like offices and buildings. Textured cloths on objects like tote bags containing brand elements and reflections on signage make for a more convincing presentation of physical concepts. Incorporating photorealistic objects and rendered scenes can more precisely showcase the full intent of the design and impress stakeholders and clients with an accurate representation of the setting.

Examples of different surface textures
Representations of different architectural designs

The tools available in the Adobe 3D & AR ecosystem can help reduce friction points for managing and editing 3D assets. Take assets from one app to another to make use of a vast array of tools. This can avoid the need to outsource designs to a 3D expert or external agency, saving valuable time and money.

How to get started with 3D conceptual design in Adobe tools.


Design your 2D elements in Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.
Use whichever tool suits your needs best for creating any 2D components that you might need. Illustrator is great for crafting graphics and logos to place on 3D objects, while Photoshop can be used to create brand images or edit existing photos.


3D authoring and aggregation with Dimension.
Place models from Adobe Stock templates, or import Adobe Stock assets that are optimized for Dimension. Or import models from other sources. Dimension supports OBJ, Autodesk FBX, STL, and SketchUp SKP file formats.


3D material iteration in Substance. 
For more advanced users, get the perfect appearance by adding further materials and paint textures onto models to create photorealistic effects using Substance. Personalize your textures using Substance Alchemist, or pull from the robust library offered by Substance Source. Substance brings even more photorealism to spatial design surfaces such as building architecture, tables, furniture, and more.

a) If your scene includes 2D elements such as branding, place the graphics or logos onto the 3D models, either as decals or fills, and then adjust the layer’s material properties to get the look you want.


b) Combine all the elements to create a full scene to illustrate the design projected into space.


c) Change background images to show “environmental design” in different contexts. Choose a background image from the Starter Assets panel or Adobe Stock, or import your own. Use Match Image to automatically create realistic lighting based on the background image, or adjust the Environment Light and Sunlight settings yourself. 


Sharing 3D and 2D outputs in Dimension.
a) Export and share scene templates you’ve created so that clients, stakeholders, and other team members can easily edit certain elements if needed. This makes it easy to update as needs change, such as updating signage with a redesigned brand logo.

b) Render traditional 2D images or publish 3D designs with 360-degree views (with bookmarked camera angles) via web links for stakeholders to review. You can also embed the 3D web viewer into your own portfolio site to showcase your work.


Visualize in augmented reality with Adobe Aero.
a) Get one step closer to reality by importing your assets into Aero to offer immersive experiences that can showcase products overlaid in the real world. The free Aero app gives viewers an engaging experience that lets them interact with your designs in a whole different way.

b) Share your AR experience via a download link, or take a photo or a video of your installation in space. It’s so easy to share it with a colleague or a client and get instant feedback.

Low-light shot of an interior living space beneath stairs.

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