The 3D design is guided by a mix of elements pulled from composition, common principles of art, and more. Like other forms of design, 3D design uses many of the same elements but does so slightly differently.
There are dozens of elements of 3D design that a designer can put to use. When you use automated design services, they combine these elements and principles as part of the process. The result is an elegant design that fits your project brief.
Let’s explore the different elements of 3D design that every successful designer needs to know.
Element #1: Line
A line is a path or connection between two points. They can be made independently or created from where two shapes meet. They are duplicated in reality with linear materials, like wire, wood, metal rods, string, or similar options. The line can also be manipulated, such as with an implied line.
Element #2: Light
Light refers to the relative lightness or darkness of an area. The manipulation of light can help provide a sense of space and depth around objects and aid in differentiating different parts of a composition. This is also sometimes referred to as value.
Consider value as an illusion of light, or the purposeful generating of highlights and shadows, or light and darkness, within the context of a 3D design.
Element #3: Space
Space is a continuous area enclosed by mass. Every part of a 3D composition has space. Space is differentiated based on characteristics such as colour. There are also different types of spaces, such as distance, area, volume, absolute space, and more. Space can be dependent or independent of what occupies it.
Element #4: Color
Colour in 3D design is a fundamental element of 3D design. Our perception of different wavelengths of visible light creates it. Colour can then be altered or manipulated by adjusting the hue, saturation, and value. Colour can also take on a psychological meaning or have other meanings that make certain colours better suited to a design than others.
Element #5: Texture
The texture is the surface quality of a work of art, mass, or section. Much like colour, texture can signify different messages and emotions. For most people, texture is connected to look, feel, and quality. Texture can be actual or implied, ultimately being how it feels to the touch or appears to feel if it were to be touched.
Element #6: Movement
Movement is not an element, but rather it is a principle. Actual or implied lines control it, how shapes are distributed, how other elements contrast, and the designer’s key decisions.
Movement can be included within lines, shapes, forms, and textures. This is a useful principle as it demonstrates a design’s intended use or utility and further provides context as to what a design represents.
Element #7: Balance
Balance is another example of a principle that uses 3D design elements. Balance is how the weight of elements is equalized across a design. Balance can generally be categorized into one of three categories. There is symmetrical, wherein one half mirrors the other.
Asymmetrical, where dissimilar items balance each other out. And radial is where elements are spread out from a central point. Balance is all about how elements relate to one another within the design context.
Element #8: More Principles of 3D Design
Consider elements as the ingredients of a recipe. Principles are how you cook them. That’s the most basic explanation of how elements of 3D design and principles relate. It’s important to know the elements because they are the building blocks.
The principles are equally important. However, as in 3D design, it’s all about how you use the elements. A lack of knowledge of design principles can mean a flawed design.
Repetition or rhythm.
This is where an element repeats itself and the rhythm or regularity in which it does. Through repetition, one can make a pattern seem active and help create unity or a lack thereof within a work.
Focus or emphasis.
Decide which object or element you want to catch attention and what elements you want to be put in a support role. How elements contrast is often a clue as to where the focus is.
Unity or harmony.
Elements should have a visually satisfying effect, but they don’t always have to. It’s this relationship that falls into unity or harmony. In essence, similar elements ordered together in a harmonizing way can provide a sense of wholeness, oneness, and balance.
Scale or proportion.
Scale is the size. Proportion is the relative size of objects within the same work. Proportion also influences unity, as improperly scaled elements can make work unrealistic or unworkable.
Contrast or variety.
Contrast is the relative difference between your elements, whereas variety refers to the diversity of these elements as they change throughout a piece. Variety is required with elements to keep a person’s attention and intuitively guide the eye around the work.