Adobe Dimension April 2020 Release: Elevate Your Creative Designs with 3D Text and Customizable Basic Shapes
We know it’s the fundamentals that are the most important for your creative workflows, so we’re excited to reveal that the latest release of Dimension brings both text and customizable 3D geometric shapes into your toolkit. From graphic design, typography, and art to signage and wayfinding, text and shapes can be used in a thousand ways to enhance your creation capabilities in building scenes or complex forms.
Dimension has always been a natural extension of your other Creative Cloud tools, enabling you to easily visualize 2D imagery, made in Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, in spectacular 3D. With the ability to create text and customize basic shapes right in Dimension, you can take your designs further with the power of 3D: adding rich lighting, materials, reflections, depth, background scenes, and variations in camera views, and more.
Trends in graphic design: 3D typography and creative geometric compositions
Type and shapes (along with line, color, texture, and composition) are essential elements of graphic design, regardless of whether it is 2D or 3D. With 3D text, we started by taking a close look at what designers are doing now; we poured through Behance galleries, talked to designers from lots of backgrounds, and investigated text systems in other tools.
When looking at the use of text in both 2D and 3D design, we found some consistent themes throughout our research: effects like bevels, outlines, and edge treatments are frequently used techniques by designers, as is layering the text in alongside more complex 3D assets.
Meanwhile, to see some of the interesting things designers are creating with shapes, just look at the relatively new trend of 3D design,. sometimes called “abstract 3D,” “3D illustration,” or “primitive art.” This is a form of 3D design that focuses on combining simple shapes, more complex 3D models, and the rich materials and lighting you get when working in 3D to create graphics.
This trend is really taking off, with even big brands getting on board. Check out the inspirational brand identity piece above (right) for Lenovo, by Peter Tarka, which shows the Lenovo brand highlighted in a different way than traditional technology design.
A dynamic 3D text system: Add text to designs or create 3D typography that stands alone in Dimension
When we first started talking about introducing text into Dimension we knew we wanted to build it as a component within a system that could be expanded to be even more expressive over time. We built these new text features to extrude glyphs from 2D fonts, customize their properties such as spacing and depth, and apply further details such as bevels and materials.
The new text engine lets you easily express 3D text from your operating system’s fonts library and control the overall look and feel with a host of styling properties. You can add simple chiseled, square, or rounded edges, as well as more complex convex curves and outlines. In addition to the stylistic flexibility, expressive edge beveling of 3D objects allows you to further control how they catch the light, improving the legibility (and nuances) of the image.
The front, back, sides, and edges of your 3D text, are all independent regions, so you can apply rich, realistic materials, or your own graphics, to each piece. Dimension’s new text functionality also utilizes a geometry engine to generate clean UVs for the text, so materials and images are always applied without stretching or distortions. (UVs define a two-dimensional texture coordinate system that determines how an image gets mapped to a 3D surface).
Text is an incredibly exciting addition to Dimension, and there’s a lot yet planned for this system! In the future we can imagine things like stackable text layers, randomized text, offsetting position per-glyph, and the ability to add effects like bend, all in a non-destructive system, meaning you can edit the text properties while preserving the style, bevel settings and materials.
Customizable basic shapes: Create entire creative compositions, or add essential elements to your designs
In 3D design, basic shapes are often referred to as geometric primitives (or “primitives” for short) and are used as the building blocks for many other more complex forms. The new basic shape assets we’ve added to Dimension (cube, plane, sphere, cone, torus, and cylinder) are parametric. This means that, when you add it to a scene, it will have properties you can use to easily adjust the shape, such as giving a cube a rounded corner or setting the diameter of a torus. Just like text, shapes are essential design elements in both 2D and 3D, and these new customizable primitives will get you in great shape to execute your vision (pun intended!). Also, you can use the customizable basic shapes to experiment with their own forms, creating more complex objects that might inform your design decisions or artistic explorations.
Basic shapes can also be incorporated into just about any workflow for creating physical objects or spaces. From packaging design to architecture, sometimes you just need a cube to make a specific box, wall, or stand that can be customized precisely and quickly for your scene. Changing the number of sides, adjusting bevels, making slices, and modifying the radiuses can make even more bespoke geometries. For example, take the torus from the Basic Shapes assets library and quickly change the number of sides to make a more triangular shape or make a slice to create a three-quarter “doughnut” (see a sample of customizations in the image above). Meanwhile, materials and textures will look perfect with no stretching when you adjust and customize the basic shape assets.
Looking towards the future: Connect with our team and help build the future of 3D
Dimension is the perfect tool for pushing the limits of your creativity and imagination. For a full look at everything new in this 3.2 release of Adobe Dimension, check out our full release notes.
To get a sense of what’s coming up next, take a look at and vote on your favorite suggested Dimension features, or post your own ideas for features you’d like to see in Dimension and get updates on our product roadmap.
Join a growing community of 3D designers
We love seeing and sharing your incredible 3D creations, whether they’re packaging designs, product mockups, brand visualizations, or 3D art. When you’re sharing your designs on Instagram and Twitter, don’t forget to tag them with #AdobeDimension and #CreatewithDimension, and on Behance be sure to select Adobe Dimension under ‘Tools Used.’ Follow us on Instagram on @Adobe3DAR and @AdobeDesigners, and our in-house art team on Behance.
Special thanks to David Lloyd for his contributions to this article.