Skip to content

icon picker
3D Scene - Laptop & Icons



Design and build a simple 3D scene with Blender. The final result will be a rendered graphic, but the project file can be expanded upon to create animations, as well as exported for XR experiences.
💡 Note - each step in this project could honestly have it’s own in-depth tutorial, so this will generally cover the larger process and workflow.

How this can help the team:

Build skill level and competencies with 3D design workflow
Create library of 3D assets that can be reused or repurposed in future asks
Variety of outputs including: custom 2D graphics, web, XR experiences

Final Outcome:



Step 1. Inspiration

Just like any other design process, it can be helpful to begin searching for design inspiration before beginning. Here’s the project I referenced when modeling these elements

Step 2. Modeling

Using my inspiration photos for reference, I began with a primitive cube and started scaling it into the basic shape of laptop. Using smaller cubes, I was able to create the individual keys. By subdividing the laptop base, I am able to select individual faces to move them lower, creating the indented look.
Screen Shot 2021-09-21 at 10.37.35 AM.png
To get the rounded corners, I added a bevel modifier to each object.
Screen Shot 2021-09-23 at 10.56.01 AM.png
Blender has the option to import SVG files into your scene. This means we can use our icons directly from font awesome and bring them easily into a 3D scene. In this scene I used the user profile icon, the checkmark icon, and the sparkles icon.
Screen Shot 2021-09-23 at 9.47.21 AM.png
When your SVG is imported, you can adjust the visual properties, such as object thickness (geometry → extrude) in the curve options panel on the right hand side.
Screen Shot 2021-09-23 at 11.02.29 AM.png
Once I gave the icons some thickness, I played with the scale until they were at a size I liked, and arranged them near the laptop.
Forming the scene
Using the basic transform properties (location, rotation, and scale), I moved the objects together into a composition that I liked.
Screen Shot 2021-09-21 at 11.13.46 AM.png
Final touches
Finally, to add further personalization to the end product, I modeled smaller rectangles that would create a simplified version of the ASUO homepage. I also brought in our font awesome Home icon and placed it on the page as well.
Screen Shot 2021-09-23 at 10.58.36 AM.png

Step 3. Materials

On the right hand side of your Blender interface, you can go to the material properties panel. The basic workflow is that you select an object in your scene, assign it a material, and then can adjust the properties of that material from this panel as well. There’s some really intricate things you can do when creating custom materials, but for this project I kept thinks very simple.
Screen Shot 2021-09-23 at 11.13.28 AM.png
For each material, I stuck with Blender’s basic material shader type: the Principled BSDF. When you create a new material, that should be the default surface type assigned. With that shader assigned, I only adjusted a few different properties within the scene.
Base color → Changes the color of your object
Roughness → Adjusts how reflective your material is on a scale of 0 to 1. 0 is entirely reflective, like a mirror, while a value of 1 is not reflective at all.
To keep things simple and cohesive, I’ve stuck with using ASU brand colors in this scene. Left side view is of the models with no material, right side view is with materials.
Screen Shot 2021-09-23 at 11.19.52 AM.png

Step 4. Lighting & Environment

With modeling and materials complete, it’s time to set up the scene to be rendered. I like to think of it as setting up my digital photography studio.
To give my scene a background, I created a simple plane, and extruded two sides up, to form a nice backdrop for the scene. I edited the material and adjusted the color to what would best fit the scene.
When it’s time to render the scene, the camera won’t be able to see any of these objects without any lights. In this scene, I added one area light above the scene, and one point light to the left of the scene. You can adjust the size, strength, and color of your lights to match your desired output.
Adjusting lights can get pretty technical, so it really comes down to practice with trial and error here.
Here’s the scene with the added backdrop, two lights, and a camera.
Screen Shot 2021-09-23 at 2.19.55 PM.png

Step 5. Rendering

3D rendering is the 3D computer graphics process of converting 3D models into 2D images on a computer. 3D renders may include photorealistic effects or non-photorealistic styles.
Adjust camera properties
Whatever your camera sees will be what gets rendered. You have options to adjust lots of metrics with the camera, such as lens size, depth of field, perspective, etc. This process can get pretty technical but it mostly just comes down to experimentation and practice.
Screen Shot 2021-09-23 at 2.07.10 PM.png
Once you add a camera to your scene, you can select the camera properties in the right side panel to start adjusting the output.
Adjust render output properties
In the right hand panel, there is a tab specifically for adjusting your scene. These properties effect the quality of the image you will output.
Blender has two render engines: Eevee and Cycles. Eevee has a much quicker rendering time, but Cycles has a higher quality output.
Screen Shot 2021-09-23 at 2.01.54 PM.png
Some things to keep in mind:
Increasing the sampling size will increase your image quality
Higher quality images take longer to render and require a high quality computer.

Render → Render image.
Your computer will then render out each tile of the image (more tiles = higher quality image) until it composites the entire scene.
Screen Shot 2021-09-23 at 2.05.10 PM.png
Render image! 📸
Boom, done. If all goes according to plan, you should have a final image that you can save and show off to all of your coworkers and friends.

Next steps:

🔍 Looking for more?

To take this project forward, I’m going to explore adding some basic animations and then bringing the completed scene into AR. Check out the documentation for that process here
Want to print your doc?
This is not the way.
Try clicking the ⋯ next to your doc name or using a keyboard shortcut (
) instead.