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What Is a 3D Drawing Pad?

By Alex Newth
Updated May 16, 2024
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A three-dimensional (3D) drawing pad is a special pad of paper that allows people to see drawings made on the pad in 3D. All of the 3D effects come from the paper itself, because each sheet is made with a stereographic pattern that enables the drawings to pop off the page. A 3D drawing pad normally has a white border with no stereographic pattern, and things drawn in this all-white area will not have a 3D effect. To see the images on the 3D drawing pad come out, 3D glasses must be used. While a thin pen may work, most 3D drawing pads work best with medium or thick black markers.

The paper in a 3D drawing pad is made with a red and blue grid that is responsible for creating the 3D effect. It does not matter what is drawn on the paper, whether it is text, an image or a simple scribble; this pattern will cause anything on the sheet to appear in 3D. Unlike making 3D graphics with computers, which can be difficult if one does not know how to use these programs, drawing on such a pad can be done by anyone, regardless of skill.

Most 3D drawing pad sheets have a white border around the edge, while the center of the sheet contains the stereographic pattern. While anything in the grid will appear 3D, anything drawn in the border area will not have the same effect. This is because only the pattern gives the image a 3D effect, and plain white paper is not able to replicate this.

Drawing on a 3D drawing pad usually is not enough to see a picture in 3D; typically, 3D glasses are needed. Most 3D drawing pads use traditional red and blue stereography, so the glasses have red and blue filters. These glasses separate what each eye sees based on the lens color and the grid, which then causes the drawing to have depth.

Many people like to draw with thin pens and different colors and, while this may sometimes come through with a 3D drawing pad, these usually will not have the same 3D effect. Thin lines often are difficult to see on such pads, and they will not carry the same depth that thicker lines do. Color also is important for making the stereographic effect, so drawing in a color other than black may ruin the effect, making part of the image appear wrong or not at all. This possibility makes a medium or thick black marker the suggested drawing tool for such pads.

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