Bridging the Gap Between 2D and 3D

2D-3D-peopleYears ago, I took the Myers-Briggs assessment test, which (as many of you know) evaluates your personality type. Somehow my assessment went wrong, and instead of the normal four letter assessment (i.e. “ENFP”), my assessment read: “3D”???

I have worked in 3D my entire career and have a hard time understanding anyone who would choose working in 2D over 3D. However, I realize that most designers and artists still prefer working in 2D. I’m assuming most reading this blog are “3D types” though.

At a previous employer, years ago, I worked closely with a 2D artist. He was exceptional, and I was amazed at what he could produce in Adobe Photoshop. When he needed content from me, he would always ask me to produce 2D images of my 3D models, which were never correct the first time, and had to be redone. I was always trying to show him the advantages of learning 3D himself, but he wanted none of it.

I often speak with many 2D artists and designers who will admit they are intimated by 3D, and that they would rather fake 2D to resemble 3D instead of working in 3D.

Most designers and artists still prefer working in 2D.

In a recent post, I discussed how I believe 3D will be easier to understand for the next generation, and more will be willing to work in 3D. Part of what we do here at 3DVIA, is to bridge that gap between 2D and 3D content creators (3DVIA Composer, 3DVIA Shape, etc.). Years ago, 3D was too difficult and too expensive for many 2D designers to even try. Today, I believe that is changing.

Last week we introduced 3DVIA for Adobe Photoshop, a plugin for Photoshop users to easily import 3D models from I also created a video showing three examples of how using 3D is much quicker than 2D, even in Photoshop!

So, let’s reach out to those intimidated by 3D, and show them how simple is can be, and the benefits of using 3D. And maybe, just maybe, next time they will have a split (2D-3D) personality.

Are you in?



  • KDI

    I definitely agree with you. I myself used to regularly try and convince some 2D artists I know to at least start with a 3D model in order to speed up their design process. Now we have, 3DVIAShape and this plug-in. This should be a lot easier. I’m going to try once more today with a friend who works on movie 2D FX. Let’s hope he’ll be convinced and will spread the word !

  • Nice KDI!…keep trying. I’m planning on a video on this very thing (3DVIA Shape with Photoshop) soon.

    The nice thing about 3DVIA Shape is how simple it is to use, so 2D designers are not overwhelmed by the functionality. The Photoshop plugin imports the DAE file, and I was surprised how well the DAE files look in Photoshop in comparison to other 3D model imports. Hopefully this quality will convert a few 2D strongholds.

  • Dave

    There are many reasons to use 2D, namely in project layouts. At the beginning of a project, when considering multiple configurations, the third dimension often offers very little additional information. As an added bonus, the entire completed layout can be easily shared via email since 2D typically results in very small file sizes that anyone can view.

  • Good points, and I agree Dave: 2D is quicker in many cases, however, in a lot of situations 3D can save a lot of time. Good point also about 3D file sizes. This is true, but once you have the view you need in 3D, you can rasterize the 3D into 2D to save file space.

    I do believe that 3D is becoming much easier to use, and hope 2D artists start to take advantage of this.

  • Alain

    It’s not only simply about the 2D-3D… a customer I was working with in civil engineering, told me that a 2D plan is also a contractual document, signed and agreed by all the parties, it has a value against court. How can you do that with a 3D DMU?

  • Great point Alain. Almost all government organizations require 2D “paper” plans for submitting designs. However, I have seen more and more often where towns, in an effort to save money, are moving to digital documentation submitting. Yes, the digital submissions are still 2D, but I believe the next step could be 3D!

    Would your customers not benefit from a realistic 3D view of your designs that they could walk through? And what if they could walk through these online?

    I’m not a civil engineer, but I’m guessing you will always need a 2D plan. Wouldn’t a 3D plan, in addition to the 2D plan benefit you and your customers?