Paint 3D


Redesign the MS Paint app, one of the most well-known Windows native application. It is a revolutionary product that makes 3D creation possible for everyone.


UX design, organising user test, working with designers and developers


Microsoft Lift London Studio. Production Design Team. Released Beta Ver. Oct 2016. Full Ver. Apr 2017


Problem Space

I focused on the problem of how to merge 2D and 3D creation tools that were separately developed. In the development process, the improvement of 2D creation tools and the building of new 3D creation tools went on in parallel. Mapping the entire functions was my starting point in merging the two types of features.

MS Paint

Paint 3D

Design Consideration

  • Retain the identity of MS Paint and Fresh Paint
  • Provide the user with intuitive, easy-to-use-understand tools
  • Smoothly evolve the experience from 2D to 3D

Overal User Flow

Before designing the detailed feature experiences, I mapped the entire user flow to discover how 2D and 3D tools can be used together. This process was part of the work of defining the features categories.

Product Feature: Selection Tools

The core concept of this app involves designing the 3D creation tools to be as easy to use as when drawing in 2D. The challenge lay in helping people to understand the depth of field and spatial sense in an intuitive way. From multiple user tests, I found that the selection tool was one of the more confusing tools. Here is the process for finding the design solution for the selection tool.

Problems Of Selection Tools

  • Two ways of interaction & three kinds of objects
  • 3 dimensional objects in 2D view

Defining All Possible Interactions

As the first version of Paint 3D is only for the Windows desktop, which does not have a touchscreen, there are two interactions with a mouse: One click and click-and-drag for selecting an object. To define each interaction, research was conducted on evolving from native Windows apps to externally created software, and user tests were conducted throughout the design process.

Mockup for defining interaction of the selection box

Case1: Select Box includes part of a 3D object
Case2: Select 2D Image on canvas which is behind a 3D object
Case3: Select a 3D object with a selection box

3D Creating Environment In Paint 3D

The main target user of Paint 3D is a casual 3D creator. The first design consideration was creating a non-technical visual language. The challenge I faced at this stage was how to express the depth of field and how to redesign a 3D environment without using a grid in the grey background.

New Visual Language For Depth Of Field

In order to create a naturally understandable space, I started to explore visual elements in the real world. How do we perceive three-dimensional environments and objects? Light and shadow together with diverse materials were the key elements that provided inspiration.



Easy to create 3D art for everyone  

Paint 3D, with new and enhanced creation tools 

What I Learned

Redesigning a globally recognized and widely-used classic product presented a challenge. There was pressure not to disappoint the existing users while being able to attract new users. For that reason, analysing existing user behaviour and understanding the potential needs of users was fundamental. As one of the personal learning points, working as a part of a big team made me push to communicate more efficiently with other team members and discover the best way to contribute to the design process.