Make Your Own 3d Screensaver

Some graphics programs can make 3D images that you can use as screensavers.

Making your own screensaver involves working with a graphics program that has 3D modeling tools. These tools include graphics primitives, which are simple virtual objects like boxes, spheres and cylinders. Arranging and shaping these primitives makes more complex objects. Other modeling tools used in creating 3D screensavers include the rotation, translation and scaling transformations. These functions change both 3D objects and the parts that comprise them in relation to the space that encloses the object. For example, translation moves an object from one position in space to another.


1. Locate an image, from the Web or an offline source, of any real or imagined object you’d like to make into a 3D screensaver. Print the image that you select.

2. Draw, in pencil or pen, outlines that surround the planes, boxes, cylinders, cones or spheres that make up the object. For example, draw, for a table with a round top, outlines for five cylinders–the table’s top is one (flat) cylinder and its four legs are the other four (long) cylinders.

Do not worry if you can’t easily see simple objects (i.e. “primitives”) within the original object; this is a skill you can learn with practice. Instead, choose another object whose primitives are visible. Or, make your best estimate of a primitive given the object’s shape.

3. Open your graphics program with 3D modeling functions and select its “perspective” viewport, which gives you a 3D view of objects you’ll create. “Viewport” is an alternative term for “drawing window.”

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4. Click under your program’s “Create” or “Draw” menu, the tool for making the largest primitive of your object. For the table example mentioned earlier, click the “cylinder” tool. Check with your program’s user guide or help file if the primitive isn’t under the menus just mentioned.

5. Drag in the viewport to make and size the first primitive. Release the mouse once its size matches that of the primitive you outlined in the reference photo in Step 2.

6. Create primitives for the remaining outlines in the printed photo. These will be the table’s cylinders, for the table example.

7. Click your program’s “move” tool, then click the second largest primitive to select it.

8. Drag the selected primitive toward the first until the two are adjacent, then release the mouse.

9. Run your program’s “rotate” tool located under the “Modify” or similar menu on the selected primitive, then drag the rotation tool’s “x,” “y,” or “z” axes as needed to orient the primitive as indicated by the reference photo. For the table example, rotate one of the table legs so that its length projects directly away from (i.e. perpendicular to) the tabletop’s surface.

10. Position and orient the remaining primitives using the instructions just given.

11. Run your program’s “render” tool to produce a shaded image of your finished 3D object, then save the image in jpeg format.

12. Press the Windows “Start,” button, then press “Run” and enter “windows photo gallery.”

13. Choose “File,” “Screensaver settings,” then choose “Photos” under the “Screen saver” drop-down list.

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14. Press the “Settings” button, then press “Browse.” Navigate to the folder containing the jpeg image you saved in Step 11.

15. Press “Save,” then “Preview” to view your 3D screensaver.