13 Elements & Principles to Understanding 3D Design

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Learning 3D Modeling isn’t as scary as it has to be. In this beginner’s guide we will be introducing basic elements and principles that will elevate your 3D design. So what exactly are elements and principles in 3D Design? Simply put, they’re the building blocks to all art and creativity.

Elements pertain to all things that make up a work of art. Principles utilizes all the elements into creating something that is visually and aesthetically pleasing. By applying these seven elements and principles 3D designers can create a work of art founded on art theory.

Let’s take a closer look at each element and principle.


  • Space:
    Space describes the distance, area and volume that is independent of what occupies it
  • Line
    Lines refers to the outlines and edges of a form. They can be made on their own, or when two shapes meet. There is also an ‘implied line’ which is when a line does not really exist but appears to be present
  • Plane
    Planes describes the flat or level surface which gives perspective of the subject
  • Volume
    Volume is the 3D dimensional space that fill up an area in an object
  • Value
    Value refers to the relative lightness or darkness of an area. This helps to give the illusion of space or depth of an object
  • Texture
    Texture is the perceived feel, quality and look of a form’s surface. Texture can be rough, smooth, weathered, bumpy, etc
  • Color
    Color in 3D design is the colour of the material being used. Colour is made of three components: hue (the name of the colour, ie. blue), value (the lightness/darkness), and saturation (the intensity of the colour)


  • Unity
    Unity, or harmony, is created by combining similar elements to make a satisfying sense of wholeness or order in a work of art
  • Contrast
    Contrast is created when two or more elements oppose each other. This makes a striking, unsettling, vibrant feeling in the art
  • Rhythm
    Rhythm is made when with the repetition of an element which creates a pattern, sense of movement or flow
  • Emphasis
    Emphasis is the object, usually the subject, that first captures the audience’s attention. Contrast is one of the most common ways to create emphasis
  • Balance
    Balance is the equalizing of visual elements in the work of art. There are three types of balance: symmetrical, asymmetrical and radial.
  • Scale/Proportion
    Scale is the appearance of an object’s size. Proportion is the relative size of objects in relation to each other.

Understanding these elements and principles will help you reach your potential to its fullest! This will lead to creating the design creations of your dreams!

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