All about 3D Materials: Plastics and Glass

Scene created by Vladimir Petkovic, 3D materials by Allegorithmic

by Kimberly Potvin

posted on 02-12-2018

Over the past few months, we have taken a journey through the world of 3D materials and explored how these unique assets can complement variations made to a single scene. From wood surfaces to metal textures to fabric textiles — the models, materials, and lights available on Adobe Stock, and usable within the Adobe Dimension CC app, give designers the power to develop, iterate, and create stunning compositions. For the final installment in this four-part series, we take a look at the amazing results that can be achieved with our array of plastic and glass surfaces.

So, take a break from your day, dive in and explore the versatility of these 3D assets.

Transparency and reflection

One of the many benefits that can be garnered from using plastic or glass surfaces derives from the intrinsic properties of these materials. The variations in translucency, reflectiveness, or sheen — from matte to shiny — all help to enhance scenes that may otherwise appear bland or simplistic.

Render by Vladimir Petkovic.

In the above example, clear glass has been juxtaposed against an etched, semi-translucent surface, allowing each curved arm of the abstract structure to reflect different permutations of light. This effect contributes to a sense of space, and combined with the subtle shadows, hints at an underlying openness existing outside of the composition. By adding in glossy, vinyl plastic, white tones are given a warm, cream hue, enriching what might otherwise be a stark space. These glass and plastic materials are ideal to use with models like this interior floor lamp or this unusual water dispenser — adding a unique twist to any interior design or room scene.


Materials like plastic, glass, and other synthetic surfaces can come in a variety of colors. Subtle details such as temperature, vibrancy, saturation, and even texture give each material a truly unique appearance. As a designer, leveraging these different surfaces and rearranging color combinations within the Dimension app enhances the speed, efficiency, and versatility of the design process. This is particularly relevant with abstract designs where color and texture may make or break a final composition.

Render by Vladimir Petkovic.

In this example, a soft, simple stripe pattern in bright yellow has been partnered with a cool, blue plastic, and a muted forest green. The complimentary effects of these colors enhance the ebb and flow of each shape — leveraging the differences of these unique materials — while creating a color palette that transitions smoothly from warm to cool tones. These colorful surfaces would be an excellent addition to any product design, such as one using this 3D model of a shampoo and conditioner set. By adding a warm and cool color combination to the bottles and then blending in a dynamic brand logo (as with the work of John Godfrey), a designer is given a new repository of tools to create truly stunning product scenes. For the truly adventurous, add in some abstract splashes in sparkling blue and rich gold — bringing that one-of-a-kind design to life.


Patterns can be an amazing addition to a composition. When used alone on a solid surface, a successful pattern can draw a viewer’s eye to a single, desired point in a scene. When combined together, different lines, textures, and other visual components can play off each other — creating movement — leading a viewer’s eye along an unfolding path.

Render by Vladimir Petkovic.

In this final example, a coral polka dot pattern has been combined with the symmetrical lines of a reflective, white plastic. Reminiscent of contemporary sculpture — like Claes Oldenburg’s Cupid Span in San Francisco — the play on these aesthetic elements can be a fun twist to a simplistic scene. For example, by creating a futuristic rose with orange, dotted petals or an abstract cloud with a glossy, lined surface — an otherwise straightforward, realistic scene could be given an exciting twist of fantasy.

We hope you enjoyed our foray into 3D materials. For some breathtaking examples of designers using 3D assets with the Dimension app, visit our Dimension Behance gallery here.

Topics: Creativity, Design

Products: Stock, Creative Cloud