Today, there are many tools to create 3D visuals: images, videos, evening 360 degree virtual reality simulations. Most of the time, these perfect 3D compositions are overkill for business presentations. But sometimes, 3D compositions can help communicate your message. I am thinking of "road ahead", "obstacles" and other concepts that are common in business presentations.

PowerPoint which is aimed at non-professional designers, does not have very powerful 3D object manipulation features. If you try to use the few that are there (3D object rotation, adding depth to shapes, putting drop shadows), the result often don't look realistic.

My PowerPoint 3D abilities more or less followed the 3D development of a child who learns to draw. First, no perspective, then adding the side view without making things vanish into an imaginary horizon, then acknowledging the horizon, but not being consistent about, until finally you get what is actually happening and being able to tell why what you draw somehow does not match reality.

Most of the time, I ignore the built-in PowerPoint 3D features. Instead, I use regular shapes which I put on the slide canvas with some help of temporary lines. You can have a look at the example below. Objects should more or less fit within the boundaries of the lines, and text should be resized accordingly. 

So, two principles:

  1. Only use 3D in PowerPoint when you actually need it to express a point. 3D for the sake of 3D does not make your charts look more fancy or clear
  2. When using 3D, keep it simple, and pay more attention to the proportion and positioning of the objects than "sophisticated" 3D effects

Feel free to copy the design in the chart above, or save time and download the 3D open road slide from the SlideMagic template store.



If you liked this post, why not subscribe to daily updates about presentation design via email? Just blog posts, no spam, or you can follow Jan on Twitter to never miss a thing.