Windows 10 Creators Update is set to ship on April 11th. You’ve probably heard about the new features, but how do you use them? This guide will take you through the basics and help you get started.
Before you start
If your PC is already running Windows 10, you should not encounter any problems with the new Creators Update. However some of the new features will require additional hardware.
If you plan on using advanced 3D graphics for gaming for instance, you will need a fairly decent graphics card. And if you plan to use the new 3D virtual reality tools, you will need a HoloLens compatible headset.
The venerable Paint application finally gets an overhaul with the Creators Update, making 3D drawing tools available for the first time. Aside from the Windows 10-style interface, very little has changed in terms of functionality – but you now have tools available to draw 3D pictures.
Your first 3D image
As soon as you start Paint 3D, you’ll see the Welcome screen below – click New to create a blank canvas.
So far, everything looks fairly normal – your blank canvas is on the left of the screen, and the tool and colour palettes are on the right:
If you try drawing on the palette, you’ll see the brush or pen behaves exactly like the original Paint application. To get started with the 3D functions, click the cube icon on the menu bar at the top of the screen. This will open a new set of tools on the right hand side.
You’ll see just above the tool palette it mentions “sphere” in the blue bar – this indicates the 3D object you are about to draw.
Click and drag a square onto your canvas, and you’ll see a blue ball appear. You will also see an animated presentation that explains what you can now do with that sphere:
It is well worth watching the video a few times so you properly understand what each of the handles do – especially as these same tools are available for all your 3D objects. You can rotate the object horizontally and vertically, move it up and down, or spin it on the same surface. If you click and drag one of the squares on the corner of the bounding box, you can also re-size the sphere.
As you add more objects, these handles will be crucial to getting the overall placement correct. If you forget what you are doing, just click the question mark on the left of the screen.
Let’s try making a very basic 3D ice cream out of that blue ball. Click the cube at the top of the screen bring up the shapes options again, then select the cone on the bottom row.
You will then see a choice of 15 colours at the bottom of the palette – let’s pick the light yellow and then click and drag a square onto the canvas.
At this point the cone is upside-down, so using the handle at the top, you can rotate the cone:
Now it’s just a case of moving the cone under the ball – so click and drag it upwards. Don’t forget you can use the square corners to resize the cone:
At this point you’ve put together your first 3D image. It’s pretty basic, but you’ve learned how to get started with Paint 3D. Now you just need to experiment with the other tools.
It’s also important to realise that more than simple 3D objects on a flat canvas, your picture actually exists in three dimensions. Click the icon that looks a little like an eye on the slider bar below your canvas, then click and drag the canvas left or right:
The cone and the sphere don’t line up. If you want to start painting in 3D, you need to think in terms of 3D!
You can find some more tips and ideas over at GroovyPost.
Microsoft’s long awaited virtual reality headset finally goes live with the Creators Update – but you’ll need to buy a special headset to use it.
One of the coolest HoloLens uses is with Skype, Microsoft’s video calling app. Instead of using a screen and camera attached to your PC, the call is made through the HoloLens headset.
When wearing the headset, you will see your call partner “floating” in front of your environment. They will see what you see in the room using the camera built into the front of the headset.
Callers can then collaborate using gestures to draw on their environment. It sounds crazy, but this feature could be really useful – check out Microsoft’s video to see it in action: https://youtu.be/vvigcz_nIzE
Other apps available in the Windows Store include mixed reality game RoboRaid, 3D hologram creator HoloStudio, or see far-flung places with HoloTour.
If you are running Creators Update on a touchscreen PC or tablet, you gain access to the new Windows Ink technology. Microsoft’s goal has been to greatly simplify how the operating system works with a pen-type device.
Improve handwriting recognition
The first step is to teach Windows to recognise your handwriting. Open the Settings applet (click the little cog on the Start Menu) and then select Pen & Windows Ink. If you have a pen included with your PC, you should see a blue text link at the bottom of the page – Get to know my handwriting.
You will then see a series of options that allow you to fine-tune handwriting recognition for specific instances, like Sentences or Symbols, Numbers & Letters. Click one and you will trigger a wizard that takes you through a number of exercises:
(Image © GroovyPost)
This may take quite some time (there are 50 example sentences to write out in the Sentences wizard), so you should probably wait for a (long) quiet moment to try it out.
Ink and photos
The Sketchpad app has had some (minor) enhancements, but for many people the most important update is the inclusion of inking on photos.
When you open the Photos app, you should see a pen icon on the top toolbar. Clicking this button makes all familiar drawing tools available for marking up your pictures. You can sketch and draw, or simply scribble a caption:
(Image © GroovyPost)
It is very important to note that you can’t undo any changes you make to your photos, so make sure you have a copy before you start sketching.
Wait, isn’t something missing?
One of the most eagerly awaited features, My People, is not included in the Creators Update. Microsoft has confirmed that this social sharing extension has been delayed and will ship at some point in the future.
Windows 10 Creators Update marks the latest evolution of the “last-ever” Microsoft operating system, adding several new useful functions. Clearly the focus has been on improving the creative tools and features – and it looks like there is still a lot to come with the next “update”.
Main image credit: Microsoft Screenshot (© Microsoft)