3D view or side view?

Looking through peoples work on here and KG etc. I see that the majority of work (renders and sketches) show the side view of the shoe. I rarely see any 3d work going on.

I find that when I’m designing footwear I’ll sketch out ideas from a side view and when I have a couple of concepts I feel can be developed I look more in to sketching 3d views.

Just wondering how much 3d sketching/rendering everyone else does and how much it comes up through the development of your design…

Generally I only do 3D drawings when a presentation is needed. Otherwise, I do a side profile of the shoe (to scale) and a top view as well (to send to the factory). I wouldn’t need any other view sketched out if I was using an existing construction because the factory would already have that info.

I think the majority of shoe designers here on this forum come from a product background which focuses a lot more on rendering in three dimension.

Maybe some of the fellow shoe designers on here with the ability to sketch in 3D can share some sketching pointers here as to how to get the angles right, etc. I’m still not as good as I’d like to be in that dept.


From a pattern cutters point of view, if you can provide them with a perfectly proportioned side view (both lateral and medial sides) and also a top view, then you’ll probably get back something that looks pretty much like what you require.

Three quarter view can sometimes be a bit confusing for a pattern cutter to interpret and I’ve also noticed that some pattern cutters can be a bit lazy and take the standard right off your drawing.

I don’t do any 3D, but I have been asked for it, by (unusually) a fashion brand. I think it was more to do with wanting to put it on their website, though.

i actually find it sometimes hard to judge my own designs from a flat lateral/medial sketch…so i almost always do a dimensional view of a design; i mostly start with a 3/4 view, thinking if it looks decent in perspective it has to look good as a straight lateral view, right?

well, not so much…the thing that tends to happen when i do a perspective view, is it may have slightly cheated proportions and/or the occlusion of the perspective, have a way of making a design look better to me and i just like to “see” the design spatially…in any case, it is about finding the balance, between the time it would take to do a drawing in 3d clear enough for someone else to understand compared to how much supplemental information it adds to your standard side views…

for example, if a shoe is symmetrical on both sides, one side view is more than likely sufficient, however if there is a detail that spans from on side to the other in some particular fashion, that might be open to interpretation; it would make it a little less likely for"interpretation" to creep in if a perspective render(s) were included

I’ve found that designers who work in fashion footwear (especially ladies fashion and especially in Europe) are much more likely to sketch 3/4 views only.

I’ve found the same with European women’s fashion, a lot of it is in a slight 3/4, just twisted down from the lateral a bit…

For me, I often start in 3/4 to work out the flow of the design and then move to accurate lateral, medial, and top views to give to the pattern engineer and sometimes a tape up as well, I usually want to try a few things in the toe view that flow into the quarters, so starting 3/4 helps this… but final renderings are always lateral to help the marketing guys see it.

i pretty much always sketch and work on my ideas in 2d. I just find its easier to do quick and its good to scan and trace in illustrator to move onto final spec or tech package.

indeed the factory will most likely use a 2d view for working on the pattern (in my experience in athletic footwear), but sometimes 3d can be also used to help communicate a tricky construction or asymmetric pattern.

for me, 2d is just faster and more efficient.


I agree with Richard also.

You know what would be cool…

Imagine a 3d pad of paper in the form of a shoe last. …And a way to easily unwarp it and scan it into Illustrator/Photoshop to tighten up, and spit-out a print that can be wrapped back onto the last.

I guess the Alias 3D painting experience comes closest to that.

cg- check out the Shoe Master software, it does what you say but it is expensive and still not as quick as working 2D

actually there is a way to do that already called a “tape up”

You wrap the last (or a complete shoe) in 3/4" to 1" wide masking tape. Masking tape tends to stick well, is semi see thru and releases easily with less residue. Starting at the toe you wrap the tape across the last from medial to lateral side and make sure to overlap the tape strips by about 1/4". Draw all over it and you can unwrap the tape in one piece if you overlapped it cotrectly and then lay it flat.

cheap, quick, dirty and the pattern cutters loved it.

I have never designed footwear, but from the few projects I have done (only a sophmore) it seems like proportions and flow (pretty darn important things) can get out of hand pretty quick if you do a majority of sketching in a side view. Is this just an experience thing? and if not how do you take that into account?

That was an awesome lecture comment/question. haha

oh also it seems like a high 3/4 view would be the one to work in the most with shoes because shoes are on your feet and thats the way you see them in real life. I understand that they are sold in a big like of profile views but still. Design integrity haha. whatever.

hmmm…not sure, but it has been my experience that any time i have been looking at a shoe, and i have notice that other people do this to, i always orient it (or orient my self to see) sideways to see the profile view…maybe it is just me though…most times when i would compliment people on their shoes, they almost always position their foot to show a profile view; i think to an extent we are conditioned by the way we are used to seeing shoes arranged at most stores…