Adding the other dimension

Microsoft is putting the sexy into unsexy software‘ The Verge wrote on May 24, 2019. And how! The company’s evolving fluent design takes promotional videos to new heights. Both 3D and design shine like never before in Microsoft’s latest software commercials for Sharepoint and MS Terminal and got many viewers attention. Take a look below and read my short breakdown of this trending style.

From abstract to realistic

Three dimensional designs start with a good concept, evolve into modelling, animation, shading and lighting to end up with a final render. The style of the design can be placed on a spectrum going from ultra or hyper realistic to completely abstract and, in other words, barely based on real world examples.

Microsoft’s Fluent Design, not unlike Google’s Material Design, mixes hyper realistic shaders and lighting with rather abstract shapes. These shaders or materials are heavily based on existing materials such as glass, plastic and metal. Check out three examples I created in image of Microsoft’s newest design language:

The feeling of space

A 3D image can easily look flat. That is why camera angles, lenses and lighting heighten the feeling of multiple dimensions in an image. Realistic and hyper realistic 3D images utilise HDRi images, 360° high dynamic range photographs to light the models based on an existing environment. Adding three point lighting to the mix is another example to add contrast and depth.

Two final tricks for adding depth and space are focal length and haze.
Take some of my examples above. If you look closely, you notice that certain parts of the image are sharp and other parts blurred. This illusion mimics your own eyes or camera lenses by putting some of the render in or out of focus, thus creating the illusion of depth.

Haze (sometimes referred to as mist or fog) replicates a phenomenon seen in most landscape photos. Objects in the far distance seem less saturated, as if a veil of mist is in between the camera and the other items. This is how creatives at Disney added depth using multiple planes (based on how far the object is from the camera) in their drawn animation films. And whether the image below is real or fake is up to you. 😉

Depth and haze

Questions about 3D design? Check out my website or start a chat on twitter.