3D Cube

This tutorial will demonstrate how to draw a 3D Cube with PaintShop Pro.  

The finished product is an optical illusion - is it a box in a box or is the corner of a box missing?  It all depends on how you look at it.

I've always found geometric shapes to be very intriguing and captivating and in some cases they have a long and valuable history in religion and art.

Rather than attempting to draw geometric shapes with paper and pencil, which some artistic folks can do with ease, this tutorial will guide you through the steps using PaintShop Pro.

The tools we'll use include the Shape Tool, the Pen Tool, some selections, layers and the Flood Fill Tool.  

This is a fun project and at the end you'll create a really great optical illusion.

Making The 3D Cube 

This is how the 3d cube will look after you've finished.

The sides can be colored any way you wish and textures can be added.

They can be copied and turned into a pattern.

Let's get started ...!

Document Set Up

File > New and when the New Image dialogue comes up create a square file - this makes things nice and easy.  My file is 3000 pixels X 3000 pixels(10" by 10") and you can use any size you wish.

  • Mode - Polygon
  • Show Nodes and Create On Vector - Checked
  • Number of Sides - 6
  • Line Style - Solid
  • Line Width - 10 px (for my size document)

The Materials Palette needs to have the foreground color set to black and the background color to Transparent.

If you don't know how to set the background color to Transparent - this is how ... with the Symmetrical Tool selected click on the Make Transparent button (the little red button).

Now you'll have a nice black stroke for the outline and a transparent background.

One more thing to do that will help getting things aligned and that's to add a couple of Guides to the page.  To add Guides have the rulers visible (View > Rulers or Ctrl-Alt-R).  Now place your cursor over the left ruler, click the left mouse button, drag the guide onto the page and center it from left to right using the top ruler - given the width of my page the center is at 1500 pixels.

Do the same thing for the top ruler and align it to 1500 pixels according to the left ruler.

Now that everything is finally set up it's time to start drawing the first polygon.

Step One

The first step is to create a polygon using the Symmetric Shape Tool (H) - it lives with the Preset Tools near the bottom of the Tool Bar.

Once it's selected go up to the Option Bar and set it up the same as the screen shot.

Move over the page, put your pen on the tablet (or left click) and draw the first polygon.  Size doesn't matter.

With the first Polygon drawn, select the Pick Tool at the top of the Tool Bar (it lives with the Move Tool).  As soon as you select the Pick Tool the Polygon will be outlined by a bounding box with a rotating handle extending from the middle of the Polygon.  

Move the Pick Tool over the center point and the cursor will change to a four direction arrow.  Left click and drag the Polygon to the intersection of the Guides.

The first step is complete!

Step Two

Do Step One again but make the second Polygon smaller - 1/3 to 1/2 works quite nicely!

This is how it should look with the second Polygon in position ...

Both of the Polygons are centered on the Guides.

Step Three

Us the Pen tool to join each corner of the big Polygon to its opposite corner.  If everything works out perfectly then all of the joing lines will run through the center of the drawing.

The Options for the Pen Tool are identical to the Symmetric Shape Tool with the exception that Draw Lines and Polylines is selected.

Zoom in to fill the screen with your drawing because that makes it much easier to perfectly position the lines.

The easiest method is to select one outside corner of the big polygon and draw a line from the point to its corresponding corner on the inside polygon.  

Choose one corner, draw the first line (1), skip the next corner, draw the next line (2), skip the next corner and draw the final line (3).

Step Four

The last drawing step is to complete the outline with the final three lines.

Make sure the Guides are visible for this step.

The next three lines will be drawn from point 4, 5 and 6 and they are drawn to the intersection of the two guides.

Remove the guides and take a look ...

It's done - sit back and admire your fabulous 3D Cube.

This is how the 3D Cube looks after removing the guides.

OK - that's enough - now it's time to make it look really unique.

3D Cube Fun

Depending on the rotation, the cube will  have a different look.  In the preceding screen shot, for example, it appears as if the object is a block with one corner cut out - at least to me that's how it looks.

If you make the line on the top left horizontal with the Straighten Tool then the 3D Cube takes on a different look.

Adding Color

For the best effect color surfaces facing the same way the same color - you can use any colors you wish and the idea of using the same hue becoming lighter and lighter seems to work well.

This one is a variety of different blues with a concrete texture added.

Different shades of blue with a texture added.

The background color changed to black and the black line changed to yellow.

This was created by stacking the blue 3D Cubes one on another.  Making this is a simple matter of duplicating the first layer, pasting it as a new layer and using the Pick Tool and the arrow keys to move and then nudge the new 3D Cube layer into position.

It takes a bit of careful placement but it will work out perfectly.

There are a lot of different things you can do with a 3D Cube.  They're fun and easy to build with PaintShop Pro.

Have a go with the technique and if you make one that you fell is outstanding - send me a copy and I'll post it here.

3D Cube Video

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