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Ever since we’ve started booking artists, we got many requests for hiring 3D artists, getting 3D painting on pavement or wall. Along with those inquiries we also got a lot of questions about the technical aspects of it. Ladies and gentlemen, get ready to learn everything you always wanted to know about 3D painting. Because here’s your superguide to 3D pavement art and murals.

Vera Bugatti 3D painting artwork
Vera Bugatti‘s impressive 3D painting artwork

What is 3D Painting Exactly?

First of all, it is important to make a clear distinction between actual 3D painting, and other types of similar disciplines. While hyperrealistic and photorealistic art aims at depicting something that looks as close as possible to reality, 3D painting plays with perspectives. Often enough, 3D painting happens to also be painted in a very realistic way, but that’s not the main point.

photorealistic artwork mario winkler
A perfect photorealistic illusion on a wall made by Mario Winkler

The main characteristic of 3D painting (also called anamorphic painting) is a distorted projection. Indeed, it requires the viewer to look from a specific vantage point to reconstitute the image. When looking from somewhere else, the viewer will only see a distorted, weird painting.

#streetart #festival #brande #denmark #adrydelrocio #3D

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Where Does 3D Painting Come From?

The origins of 3D painting date back to the 15th century. Perspective drawing was invented in Italy when artists got more and more used to giving their paintings an increasingly realistic twist. When painters wanted to make murals on walls and ceilings, they were confronted to the problem of distorsion. To make up for this issue they had to start using anamorphic tricks. One of the first examples of a study of anamorphosis is ’Leonardo’s eye’ by Leonardo Da Vinci.

What is the process if I want to get a 3D painting?

As Manfred Stader explains, “the first step is the client sending ideas, concepts or a creative brief to the artist together with materials such as photos, logos, texts, etc. Then the artist discusses the first ideas of the project with the client. If all agree on a concept, the artist creates one or more designs, with the possibility to make small changes.”

Once the drafts are ready, “they are designed and mounted into a picture provided by the client. The goal is to get an idea of how the 3D effect will work in the environment.”

3d painting piece pavement manfred stader
A stunning piece of 3D painting by Manfred Stader

What techniques do 3D painters use?

Each artist has a different technique for painting. While some work with a software that helps distort the image in the right way, others prefer to work manually. Another option is to use a projector, or a grid that helps depict perspectives in the best way.

A colorful piece of 3D painting by Carlos Alberto

How Long Will the Piece Last?

A 3D painting piece can be produced with different materials and on various types of surfaces. Depending on your expectations and obstacles, there are different options for you to choose from.

A Few Days with Chalk

The first and most common option is to use chalk directly on the pavements or walls. It is a very easy, non-damaging and washable solution that can last from a few days to several weeks, depending on the weather and the way the piece is maintained.

A Few Weeks with Washable Paint

You might have noticed already: 3D painting is considered ideal for creating customer engagement when planning a street marketing or guerrilla marketing action. In those cases, passersby would probably be allowed to pose standing on the painting. For that reason, it is most recommended to use a more resistant material than chalk in order to get your artwork lasting longer and going viral on social media.

An Everlasting Piece with Permanent Paint

Another option is to go for permanent painting. Be it for an office painting or a trompe l’oeil mural in your living room, permanent 3D painting surely has its advantages. In that case, the artist uses permanent colors that can be applied directly on the surface.

A Permanent but Moveable Piece on Vinyl

Finally, one last possibility is some kind of “in between” solution: a 3D painting on a vinyl sticker. The artist can either paint on the surface or make a digital design and print it on vinyl. After the event, the sticker can be removed and reused for other occasions.

street painting italia 3D interactive
3D painting is an artsy way to engage and interact with an audience – Street Painting Italia

What are the Advantages of Painting on Vinyl?

You would like the artwork to last forever but you don’t want to permanently mark the pavement? Then you should consider acquiring a 3D painting on vinyl. This solution is also ideal if you don’t have a legal permission to mark the ground permanently but want to preserve the artwork for several days. You can remove the vinyl piece, move it or put it back the next day, etc. No damage, no problem! Finally, one more advantage of vinyl 3D painting is that you can work with a remote living artist who can create the design, which will then be printed on a piece of vinyl.

Roberto trevino 3d painting wall pavement
A 3D painting on walls and pavement by Roberto Treviño

What are the Technical Requirements?

As you can imagine, the first requirement is to have some space, both for the painting process and for passersby to be able to admire the artwork once finished. We suggest a minimum area of 3 meters x 4 meters. Indeed as the image is distorted, the surface to be painted is often very long or wide. As the process usually takes quite some time, it is of course better for the artist to be in a non-stressful environment. Having cars or tons of people passing by, a very loud environment or bad weather conditions is not ideal.

Another important element is to have a smooth surface. Indeed, an uneven floor or wall will cause an “irritation” to the spectator and make the whole painting look less realistic. For that reason, we recommend to avoid brick walls or a paved roads for an optimal 3D effect. Finally, it is sometimes necessary to cover the surface with a primer before starting the 3D painting.

Adry del Rocio 3D painting
More color! An artwork from Adry del Rocio

How Long Does it Take to Paint?

It really varies a lot depending on the artist, size, conditions and level of detail. For instance, we had a surface of 32 square meters painted in two days by two artists – but the more time available to the artist, the better the result!

roberto trevino 3d painting
3D painting pavement by Roberto Treviño

As fellow 3D painting lovers, we’re hoping that this guide helps you to make the right choice. From our experience, we can say that 3D painting is a go-to solution if you want to catch passersby’s attention, create audience engagement or simply stand out thanks to a very realistic piece that will without doubt embellish the chosen space. Feel free to reach out to us with any specific questions or if you need some ideas and recommendations. We’d be really excited to put you in touch with the best 3D painters out there.