It has to be one of the most enduring childhood memories for millennials – opening up MS Paint on your clunky desktop computer and doodling on it for hours. And if Microsoft’s latest version of Paint takes off, the kids of this generation will probably doodle in 3-D.
Microsoft has just revealed Paint 3-D, its biggest ever upgrade to the classic Paint. Paint had always been a bare-bones app, and that was a part of its appeal – it was pleasurable to create something moderately pretty with a list of tools that could fit into one panel on the screen. But times have changed, and Microsoft wants to reimagine the way Paint should work.
“The way the company sees it, we live in a 3-D world, and our creative output should reflect that. “Human beings have worked really hard to take all of the thousands of years of genetic training and learn how to exist and be super functional in a 2-D environment,” says Kodu Tsunoda, a creative vice president at Microsoft who runs the product group overseeing 3-D tools.
Microsoft shows off the capabilities of the app in a video, and it looks stunning. Paint looks barely recognizable in its 3-D avataar, and the creations have a depth and sophistication to them that would have be impossible to achieve with the old version. And just to drive home the point that the new app is still intuitive, Microsoft shows kids using it, and picking it up with ease.
Old timers might miss the old paint, which required little know-how, and could produce interesting results. But Microsoft is merely moving with the times – other companies are focussing on Virtual reality, and Microsoft too wants to move out of a drab 2D world. Objects created in Paint 3D can be rendered as a 3-D image, and 3-D printed. Conversely, 3-D scans of objects from the real world can be imported into Paint 3D to be worked upon and modified.
It’s just as well that there are no copies of our old Paint doodles – if we thought they were lame, imagine what our 3D-painting kids would think of them.