Microsoft just held a major event for Windows 10 in New York City today, where the company made a bunch of major hardware and software announcements. The event itself was jam-packed with exciting new technology and feature updates, but perhaps the most exciting was the sneak peak into the next major update for Windows 10 dubbed “Creators Update.”
The Creators Update is scheduled to ship in early 2017, and it packs in a bunch of new features including a new emphasis on helping everyone create, share, and play around with 3D models. “We’re used to 2D emails, documents, spreadsheets and slides,” said head of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices group Terry Meyerson. “The next generation is growing up with 3D right from the start. Last month, I attended MineCon. I watched thousands of kids interacting with their 3D Minecraft world, editing their worlds as easily as we scroll through a document.”
The new update will basically make it easier for everyone create 3D objects and use them across all Microsoft products. In addition, there are several updates that will help people be more productive. There’s a lot to go over, so let’s just jump right in and start with something everyone is familiar with.
Microsoft Paint gets a major update
Microsoft Paint is getting a facelift. The biggest change you’ll notice is that it’s now called Paint 3D. The new software makes it easier to create 3D objects, environments, and other experiences.
“We need to make 3D creation as simple as taking a photo or video on your phone,” general manager at Microsoft Megan Saunders said. She lifted up her phone, walked toward a sandcastle sitting on stage, appeared to be taking a photo of it, then began walking around it holding her phone in place. It was clear from the display on her phone that she was 3D-scanning the object.
“I’m not only taking something from the physical world and making it digital,” she said. “I’m also taking something that was temporary and saving it forever.”
The sandcastle was recreated in 3D on her phone, and she was able to move it over to her computer and import it into Microsoft programs. She was also able to share it on a new site called Remix3D.com, created and maintained by Microsoft.
The site includes original creations from featured artists including some items that were made in Minecraft. You’ll also be able to 3D print objects straight from the community. SketchUp, one of the most popular pieces of 3D modeling software, will also be part of the community. You’ll be able to search, download, and share 3D models all from the website (which is free to use).
Powerpoint adds 3D modeling tools
The update will also bring some major changes to Microsoft Powerpoint. You’ll still be able to see all of the classic options, but now there’s a new option to add a 3D model. You’ll be able to search from within the community of Remix3D.com, so your options are basically endless, and you’ll also be able to search your own 3D creations. You can add 3D models to a Powerpoint presentation the same way you’d add a photo or video today.
You can also rotate the 3D object within Powerpoint, which will save a lot of time for people that are perfectionists. Before this update, you’d have to go back to 3D modeling software, render your image exactly right, then save it as an individual file. Then you’d have to import the file into your Powerpoint and hope it’s perfect. If it wasn’t, you’d start back at the beginning. Now, after teh update, it will be as easy as dragging and dropping the object into place.
Microsoft Edge on Hololens
Microsoft’s ambitious augmented-reality headset, Hololens, is able to overlay digital images on the real world. Since it runs on Windows Holographic, built around the Windows 10 API, it can take advantage of the new features coming in the Creator’s Update. The demonstration at the press event today focused on looking at some of the 3D models that were created by in Paint3D, but that was only a small portion of what it will actually be able to do.
The more exciting announcement was a demonstration of how someone with Hololens will actually be able to preview furniture in their home using the AR headset and 3D models created by companies. In the example used on stage, one of the demonstrators dragged some chairs from a shopping page onto the stage to “preview” how they would look in the real world. This will obviously come in handy for anyone furniture or clothing shopping.
One of the more interesting uses of Hololens was a control room running a bunch of different apps at the same time. The environment looked like a multi-million dollar beach home with some shelves and an amazing view. Different apps were running on the walls. For example, one of the walls in the digital room was a television, and it was showing a soccer game. On one of the other walls, 3D models from Paint 3D were sitting on a shelf.