If 3D is for everyone, why isn't Microsoft marketing Paint 3D to anyone?

Microsoft is reinventing Windows as a platform for creators via a host of innovations such as Paint 3D. And though Redmond boasted it's bringing 3D to everyone at the October 2016 reveal, consumers don't know that because Microsoft isn't telling them.

Conversely, tech enthusiasts know all about Microsoft's vision for creators which includes Paint 3D, the Fall Creators Update, the innovative Surface devices, HoloLens and mixed reality and the recent Creators Update. Microsoft's Creators Updates are bringing new features to Windows while HoloLens leads the industry's charge into mixed (virtual and augmented) reality.

With these tools, Microsoft's creating a robust platform for creators of varying skill levels. Sadly most "regular" consumers don't know any of this. Even those with the Creators Update may be unaware of Microsoft's reimagining of a Windows classic, Microsoft Paint, with Paint 3D:

Paint 3D makes "creating" on a Windows PC using touch and a pen an entirely new and robust, yet simple experience.

Furthermore, as part of Microsoft's strategy to implement 3D throughout Windows and to bring 3D to everyone it is core to Microsoft's vision for the Creators Updates. It's therefore ironic (even confusing) that Microsoft isn't doing more to promote Paint 3D to consumers.

Microsoft, you get out what you put in

Microsoft's repositioning of Windows as a creators and mixed reality platform, implementing system-wide inking, and refocusing on gaming with game mode and Mixer are a reflection of it's attempt at a renewed commitment to consumers.

Sadly, most consumers have no clue Microsoft has made that commitment. Nor do they realize Windows is being reimagined as a platform to appeal to the creator in all of us.

If Microsoft's relying on users discovering new Windows features, and subsequently understanding and then embracing its creators vision, the company may be unpleasantly surprised when that doesn't happen.

Microsoft, you gotta show 'em

Microsoft's challenge as a historically enterprise-focused company is communicating with consumers. According to Chief Marketing Officer Chris Capossela, the company has focused on a marketing strategy which relies on the integration of products as a means to promote other products (opens in new tab). Think Skype integration in Office.

This marketing strategy relies on users discovering one product by using another. It's not the aggressive "in your face" marketing method that's needed to introduce consumers to and educate them on Microsoft's expanded vision of Windows-as-a-creators-platform.

Microsoft hasn't abandoned its forte; it's simply positioned new creation tools alongside the familiar productivity-focused tools like Office. Just as Microsoft historically equipped consumers for traditional productivity, it now also sees us as creators and is equipping us accordingly.

Paint 3D is just part of the picture

Ben Reed of Microsoft's Windows Next Generation Experiences Team demonstrates how Microsoft is "enabling the creator in all of us" with Paint 3D in the video below:

Paint 3D's a familiar yet powerful tool that Microsoft can market to introduce its "creators" vision to the masses. This isn't just about Paint 3D, however. It's about Microsoft taking the initiative to tell consumers about Paint 3D, mixed reality, gaming and more which are part of its expanding vision for Windows.

Rather than hoping consumers will discover these new features Microsoft must be proactive in establishing mindshare for each.

And a little child shall lead them

Windows Chief Terry Myerson expressed that the next generation of children inspired the creators vision for Windows.

We're thinking about each of us as creators ... a distinct inspiration has been watching today's younger generation and the trends in how they're embracing computing. My interaction with CAD came when I was in mechanical engineering school. And these kids are so fluent and interactive in really quite rich 3D concepts.

Myerson observed children's affinity for and fluency with complex 3D content creation and sharing. He also shared that children are an indicator for what's coming next in personal computing. Microsoft is, therefore, building features into Windows that are forward-looking and currently relevant as seen here:

The skills displayed by Microsoft's partners in the above video may intimidate those who don't fancy themselves as an artist, musician or some other professional creator. However, whether we're using Windows to create a symphony, painting, sketch, PowerPoint or even a document Microsoft says we're all creators.

How will Microsoft convince the masses of this vision? Windows and Office trickled from the enterprise to homes organically. It was also virtually unchallenged; thus, aggressive marketing wasn't required. That strategy won't work here.

Paint 3D, the bridge to Microsoft's creators vision

In a personal computing past dominated by traditional enterprise and desktop productivity, Microsoft Paint was fun and useful but also intentionally overshadowed by Office. Today, content creation and sharing are parallel to traditional productivity, thus Microsoft's vision ideally gives Paint 3D a front row seat in Windows.

Paint 3D embodies Microsoft's mission to make Windows a creative platform for everyone. It's available to the masses, easy to use, allows 3D creations to be integrated into other products and with Remix 3D, provides a community for users to share creations.

It's an easy onramp to Microsoft's modern vision for Windows. Moreover, as a tool for creating 3D objects, it opens the door to Windows Mixed Reality.

Mainstreaming 3D with smartphones

Microsoft even created a mobile app called Windows Capture 3D Experience. The cross-platform app (with the consumer-unfriendly name) will allow users to scan an object with their phone's camera to create a 3D representation of that object that can be edited, integrated into other programs and shared. Microsoft's General Manager, Megan Saunders, demos this app on an HP Elite x3 in the video below:

The app isn't yet available, but it demonstrates Microsoft's innovative vision. The ability to use smartphones to memorialize 3D representations of experiences and ultimately edit and share them as easily as we routinely do 2D images is a big step forward.

Unfortunately, Microsoft is slow to bring products to consumers and may be beaten to market by rivals.

Appeal to kids, parents will follow

Microsoft needs to become aggressive in making consumers aware of its creators vision and Paint 3D's role in it. Children, the inspiration for the updates, may be the key.

Most parents have experienced their child's incessant begging for some toy or food they saw advertised or a friend has. Advertisers who target children know that by creating demand with kids, adults with purchasing power subsequently become aware of a product and may potentially purchase it.

Microsoft already knows that children have an affinity for creating, manipulating and sharing 3D content. The company needs to appeal to that quality with an aggressive campaign that promotes Paint 3D and Microsoft's creators vision for Windows.

Microsoft's campaign should showcase use cases that appeal to both children and adults as seen in the YouTube video above. Children's demand for the product will increase adult's awareness of the same.

Paint 3D, the path to Windows Mixed Reality

Though informative, Microsoft cannot rely on YouTube videos to convey its vision. The viewers of those videos are primarily techies who search for or happen upon them in tech articles. To reach ordinary consumers, Microsoft must "force" TV commercials in front them.

Additionally, as the herald for Microsoft's 3D-for-everyone strategy, Microsoft's marketing of Paint 3D would be a push for its Windows-as-a-creators-platform and mixed reality vision.

Saunders said of capturing 3D objects from the real world:

Edit it in Paint 3D ... bring it back into your world as a hologram or take it into a virtual world.

Paint 3D is key to Microsoft's strategy to make consumers creators not just viewers of mixed reality content. Given Microsoft's emphasis of mixed reality it is mind-boggling the company is putting so little effort behind marketing Paint 3D.

Jason L Ward is a columnist at Windows Central. He provides unique big picture analysis of the complex world of Microsoft. Jason takes the small clues and gives you an insightful big picture perspective through storytelling that you won't find *anywhere* else. Seriously, this dude thinks outside the box. Follow him on Twitter at @JLTechWord. He's doing the "write" thing!

49 Comments
  • Thanks for reading folks!!! Microsoft made a big deal stressing that 3D is for everyone. And then introduced Paint 3D as the tool to bring 3D to everyone. Microsoft has done very little since it's announcement to push it message or the tool that facilitates that message Paint 🎨 3D. Consumers, who need to know, have no idea because Microsoft is not marketing it. It seems that Microsoft still has not learned how to market it's message to consumers. Success with consumers requires more than announcing your vision to a room for of techies and releasing YouTube videos that only techies will watch. Microsoft needs a deliberate ad campaign that focuses on the features if Windows 10, that puts Paint 3D in consumers view. MS needs to communicate how Paint 3D empowers users to create and share 3D content, and how that also equips users to create content for the next step in personal computing - mixed reality. MS needs to tie it message together and communicate it clearly to consumers. Well what are your thoughts - LET'S TALK!!!
  • Ummmm. Typical MS lack of marketing. SMDH.. You could write this article for a hundred MS products, and services.
    ..........
    Chief Marketing Officer Chris Capossela... Pfffft
  • surely marketing turn down to microsoft ....I really hate their marketing...i wish all of us msft enthusiasts go work for their marketing team
  • Been saying ALL this for years.
  • Do you ever ask people from Microsoft on why they are so miserable at marketing to consumers? Is it because they don't think the dollar spend is worth it? Are the afraid of talking to marketers? Does Apple and it's branding efforts have them spooked? Any insight?
  • This could be because of two things: They simply have a mediocre marketing department that do not know what they are doing They do not trust intheir own products to market them to the masses No I don't know which one would be the worst :)) not having a capable marketing department, or nu trusting in your own products :)) By what they've shown for so many years until now, their total ignorance, lies and lack of commitment, I'll go for the second reason...
  • Well, MS has its core items historically which generate significant income and keeps the company profitable: Office, Windows, its Enterprise products and now Azure/O365. Xbox likewise is a good earner through all its services and micro transactions. That's why it hasn't been canned. For everything else, I think MS throws lots of stuff at the wall and sees what sticks. Some of this like Hololens seems like it was fairly expensive to develop and they really need that to be a success but I don't really see any indication that this will happen on its own or in its current form. Developers have been actively harmed in the past by MS's inability to market in the mobile space for example or where products are chopped and changed, or ditched without warning. A lot of them are nervous about committing to develop for MS now because of this. MS is on safer territory selling to business because a lot of them still use desktops and kb/mouse which is still their strongest area. MS are pretty blind in the mobile space and have been reduced to developing for competing OSs (which must hurt) and this will take a toll, because what giant software company wants to be locked out of the devices that people use all day every day and rendered irrelevant. I can't think of anyone who wouldn't swap the shiny, expensive Surface Pro line and Hololens for exciting mobile devices and a coherent, successful mobile strategy. Not having this will wound MS for years to come. So yer 3D paint? Not that bothered. It's consumer focused and will become the next Windows Movie Creator. 
  • Well, if you lay everyone off, it's hard to have enough people to run marketing.
  • What?????????????
    There's a little thing called a MARKETING FIRM, who MS should hire to do their marketing in the first place... If they don't, of course. IDK.
  • IDK should be their new slogan. Should we tell people about Paint 3D?  IDK When is mobile getting new features, or at least parity of our own apps on other OS's?  IDK When is Surface Phone coming?  IDK And last, but not least, for our foreign friends: When in India?  IDK
  • Best comment ever.
  • Lol.
  • Also, i thought I had seen mention at some point or another, about Microsoft's marketing team.  I assume they still have their own.  Either way, if they used a firm, you still need people to be a liason to that firm, and tell them what products you want to push.  MS is obvisouly dropping the ball on that.  Amongst a myriad of other things.
  • if one thing that I hate about microsoft, that would be this...
  • why isn't Microsoft marketing Paint 3D to anyone
    Because noone really cares?
  • That's true,,, but the fact that nobody cares can be traced to marketing.. No Chicken/Egg paradox here, or anywhere for any product...... That's a stupid excuse for failure..... Market EFFECTIVELY first, and see results.
  • I think this captures the problem. If you are into content creation you will want professional products from Adobe, Apple etc. and the MS tools will be something which kids and students play with to get up to speed with the concepts in a similar way to how we used to play with MS paint before moving into Photoshop. For MS to offer pro tooling then they would need to take it a whole lot more seriously to be able to compete if and when the technology matures. The other thing is that the MS strategy is tied closely to Hololens and MR which is only made by MS currently and has zero consumer presence. MS have ditched VR from the XBoxX and only seem to want to talk about MR when asked about it, which seems to confuse the rest of the world who are excited about VR. MS might be able to sell hololens to business, but it's a big "might" and the whole thing could quite easily be the next Windows Phone or Google Glass when MS ditch it because nobody cares enough to buy it or the wind changes and VR/AR are shelved because wireless, non bulky, 4K headsets are slow to get to market. Now Apple is on board with AR and VR this is looking less likely because at least they will definitely market the hell out of it, and AR at least can be cheaply implemented through devices that everybody uses already, namely phones, and Pokémon has already proved that it works in a way that can generate a mega hit. This leaves MS alone to push MR until all VR devices come with a front facing camera, and we all know how that normally ends...
  • MS is good from a technical point of view, communication wise they suck big time. The creators update was installed on my pc but at no point MS has explained to me the new features that this update has brought. That's the main reason why 99,9% of the functionality built by MS is not in use by 99% of its users. People don't know what the sw can do, it does not work intuitively and you have to really make an effort to get it to work. This does not work in a world where the average attention span is no longer than a few minutes. Apple makes the ideal product for that world, they simply make it work and it does actually do 90% of what the Ms sw does.
  • #truth
  • That's what the Microsoft Tips is for. Check it out
  • But how do you know about MS Tips???  If you haven't been tipped to it? #JustTheTip
  • Never heard of that before.
  • I think what Microsoft should do is have a quick "demo" video during the final setup process after logging in. Rather than the "Hi" "We've updated your PC", they have an outline of the new features show while the update finishes.
  • #agree
  • This, or even a list of what was in the update, including fixes.  If it's a new feature, they could at least provide a link to open the program so you can try it out without hunting for it.
  • My guess is, with the creators update, they introduced features aimed at creators which is everyone, whether you are creating using a spreadsheet, shapes and colors, they have you covered. Now they couldn't squeeze everything they had hope for so they decided to push features into the next installment calling it the fall creators update. The fall creators update in my opinion completes the first step of the journey and that is to easily create, share and consume 3d content. What is coming this fall adds a very important element and that is editing video and spicing it up with 3d. So having paint 3d, the 3d remix app, 3d community and video, it will almost complete it and by almost i mean the groove remix app for audio will round it off. I think the apps will be discovered mostly by people who use touch and pen a lot simply because keyboard and mouse users approach computing with an older mindset of how computing is done. With the next wave of devices, touch enabled arm devices, 3d, inking will be used. Great article Jason
  • inclusion of audio and video editing tools would be more useful than 3d
  • They probably want to push that to 3rd party developers, of which there are plenty.  With desktop, there's nothing you can't already get for that, it's just not free.
  • Guys on my wifes dell inspiron 13 2 in 1,  Paint 3d is labeled with a long list of "chinese" lettering.   anyone else have this issue?
  • Because it's Microsoft.
    History is there to prove it.
  • I hope that im wrong but that app to capture objects in 3D, will arrive to use it with tablets but for mobile its highly unlikely to happen, at least not in a short time.
  • If it was for "everyone" there won't be region restrictions in Remix 3D. So looks like it is just selling point for Surface devices and other OEM with touch/pen.
  • Paint 3D is really awful on a mouse. Its fine on touchscreen. I switched to Paint .net
  • It is terrible on touchscreen too.  Yes you can have fun for 5 mins but then you´re done with it.  Seriously, a 3d painter that you cant rotate the screen while paiting?  Again, Microsoft is giving nice ideas so that the competition can make ir right.
  • Microsoft treated Windows phone the same way...look what happen to that..Great Phone , no customers and then no apps.
    THEY NEED NEW LEADERSHIP!!
  • MS truly is not in tune with consumers. Not all their ads are bad, but most are "technically" accurate and not fun-cool-slick ads that attract the average consumer.
  • Because MS are terrible at marketing. The sheer quantity of awesome products they have created, then  failed to capitalise on, either due to lack of marketing or lateness to market, boggles the mind.   Apple is the benchmark for marketing. Their adverts are on TV constantly.   Last time I saw an advert for an MS product was for the ORIGINAL MS Surface, several years ago.   It was a great advert. Nothing since.   Even their marketing ideas, they fail to capitalise on...
  • As usual, pathetic marketing.
  • I actually think it's a good idea for Microsoft not to be marketing the 3D features yet for 1 simple reason; it isn't done. They've had the problem before with marketing mediocre and unfinished products/ecosystems and it will always turn out to be a flop, because it wasn't ready for the masses. Right now you can use the Paint 3D app, insert into office apps and sure there is the HoloLens, but lets be honest. That is not nearly enough for a consumer to actually use it and enjoy the experience. The regular consumer doesn't care for a slightly cooler PowerPoint (google images does the job a lot quicker) and HoloLens is not really out there yet and is primarily geared towards proffesionals. BUT we already know 3D is coming to the Pictures app this fall. You can easily make cool videoes with special effects and insert the 3D objects you make in Paint 3D and draw from the Remix3D community. This feature is super duper consumerfriendly and something most people would enjoy. And what about the 3D scanner app, they briefly showed on stage last year? And the feature to view 3D-objects in real life through the camera with any Windows device? The HoloLens is geared towards proffesionals and the newly annouced 3rd party VR headsets for Windows is awesome, but still just a developer kit. Microsoft says the new Xbox One X is ready for MixedReality in 2018. Right now you can make a cool PowerPoint or use the HoloLens, which basically no one owns, but they need to wait with the marketing until the whole thing comes together and reaches the point of a consumerfriendly ecosystem of 3D experiences. When they've polished it up a bit they can marketing the **** out of it. 
  • Yes, why do they have to be marketing something that is unfinished/unpolished/etc?
  • Hi Victor, in one sense it will never be "finished" just as Windows as a service will never be finished as it continually evolves and acquires new features. The capabilities Paint 3D already has are enough for Microsoft to begin telling consumers about the product. One thing MS is chronically guilty of is innovating or creating new products, but failing to introduce them, and pushing them to consumers. Rivals then move in and capatalize on the concept. Living images, smartphones, tablets, and more. If thier not careful mixed reality may be next. They've got a technological and platform lead there but regular consumers don't know about it. But they do know about Google Cardboard, and how PokemonGo introduced AR. And this year ARKit brings AR to iOS 11. As a said in this piece. Paint 3D is part of Microsoft's vision for content creation for mixed reality (AR and VR).Though the first VR headset isn't here yet it's just months away. MS needs to get users AWARE of Paint 3D, FAMILIAR with it's current capabilities', then EXPAND on that knowledge as new capabilities become available. Sitting there doing nothing while the competition is doing SOMETHING is not the way to go. 😉
  • Hi Victor, in one sense it will never be "finished" just as Windows as a service will never be finished as it continually evolves and acquires new features. The capabilities Paint 3D already has are enough for Microsoft to begin telling consumers about the product. One thing MS is chronically guilty of is innovating or creating new products, but failing to introduce them, and pushing them to consumers. Rivals then move in and capatalize on the concept. Living images, smartphones, tablets, and more. If thier not careful mixed reality may be next. They've got a technological and platform lead there but regular consumers don't know about it. But they do know about Google Cardboard, and how PokemonGo introduced AR. And this year ARKit brings AR to iOS 11. As a said in this piece. Paint 3D is part of Microsoft's vision for content creation for mixed reality (AR and VR).Though the first VR headset isn't here yet it's just months away. MS needs to get users AWARE of Paint 3D, FAMILIAR with it's current capabilities', then EXPAND on that knowledge as new capabilities become available. Sitting there doing nothing while the competition is doing SOMETHING is not the way to go. 😉
  • "Unfortunately, Microsoft is slow to bring products to consumers and may be beaten to market by rivals."  This is the sort of superb analysis people flock to Windows Central for.
  • Hey, mock Microsoft all you want, but no need to be mean to the journalists.  Jason's doing the best he can with what Nadella's given him!
  • Marketing is one part. International limitations are even worse - for example, Remix3D is not allowed to all countries. I can go to USA with ESTA, just as other EU countries do but I can't have Remix3D.  Microsoft clearly ignores half of Europe. Well, it looks that boys in Redmond still think that there is wall on border between Germany and Czech Republic (and Poland, Slovakia and others) despite their own MS offices in those countries. It looks that Czech Rep is good enough to have Skype and Dynamics development teams here but not good enough to be part of Remix3D or even buying Surface Book directly here. And here is lot of people and developers with love to MS (btw : one on highest WinPhone penetration numbers) but unfortunatelly, MS don't love us so much.    
  • I agree with the sentiment.  Discoverability and more aggressive marketing and teaching could help a lot.  I think what could also help is to make the software more simple, but also extend the libraries of out of the box shapes and elem ta. Kida need help with a head start with ready tools. Then they can.  build on from there. To make the experience even more immersive ot would help if Microsoft worked more closer with partners to promote access to affordable 3d printing technologies. I think Microsoft got it right with the new story remix and adding your 3d animation creation to a video.
  • Google also doesn't market their services either. They let the community promote what they believe is worth promoting and sharing, and this way they know if something is valuable because people are excited about it, instead of getting hits because they advertised it. Maybe Microsoft's strategy is the same.  Anyway, Microsoft's marketing efforts are really strange. Today I have seen a surface dial video ad, and it does not show anything relevant to the product. There is also that strategy that "it is not the cream you are selling, but the resulting beautiful face", but that is also not something I would conclude from ads. There were those silly musical ads several months ago that also did not show anything. They are all over the place, so if they advertised every single thing, we would have 3 hours worth of 30 second ads, so I guess they let users explore, and they use telemetry to get the number of runs, hours used, and other metrics to determine what deserves more development time.
     
  • another forced app i got rid of, but again need to go through hoops to do it
  • paint 3d looks like a beta app here is what will make Paint 3D a professional software 1.Magic Wand tool 2.Gravity 3.Physics [mass, force effects] 4.Sculpt tool [Squish, smudge, stretch like tools] 5.finally a simple scripting language like processing.org for advanced users other useful features like tabbed interface  minecraft studio [paint 3d inside minecraft]