As it seems we are still in legislation on the topic to allow 3D modeling questions. As a community I would like for us to have an official policy in place by May 1st because I see many users are getting frustrated. I think we are going to face the issue wether it falls into design or not but I think we need to have something into place for this. That said, are we going to support 3DS Max questions? We are doing a better job in closing and migrating software questions but as stated in another meta post it seems confusing wether they are in scope or not.


This meta question is to find out what the consensus is on 3D Modeling questions. If the majority of the community is in agreement that 3D modeling questions are off-topic, starting May 1st, 2015 we will go through the tag and others relating to 3D Modeling and make the needed adjustments or closures.

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    Not being a user of Blender.se I think they should expand their scope and change the name to 3Dimension.se or something, it's just too specifically targeted to one application. There'd never be a "photoshop.se" or "word.se" But I also understand why those users don't want them and want to keep the stack pure. (yeah I see your answer Matt and the comments. :) ) – Scott Apr 16 '15 at 17:22
  • @Scott - There is some precedent for application/platform-specific SE's, such as salesforce.stackexchange.com – JDB still remembers Monica Apr 27 '15 at 20:40
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    @Scott Blender isn't the only SE site about a specific program, e.g. emacs and vim. There have in fact been several proposals for general 3D sites, but so far all have failed. – gandalf3 Jun 21 '15 at 8:04
  • After being featured for more than two months, is there any conclusion on this? – Wrzlprmft Jun 28 '15 at 6:50
  • Just my 2 cents, these programs have their own forums. These questions appear not to add anything to the site within its scope, and may even distract from it. Sites like Blender.SE should not be given program specific questions as that is beyond the scope of those sites, and the questions will be very quickly closed as off-topic.. – veryRandomMe Jul 10 '15 at 3:18

11 Answers 11


Our focus is design, not how-tos or tech support.

There's somewhat of a subtle difference between design and how-tos, but it's an important one. We want to focus more on the why and less on the how. Good answers on our site should promote and use more general principles with specific instructions using a certain program as supplementary information. On topic questions should be seeking design help, not implementation help.

As is the case with any question focusing on software, not the design principles at hand, these questions should be off topic.

Of the top questions tagged with 3DS-Max, none of them are purely design questions. All of them are a how-to or technical support for how to use the program. It's a stream of off topic questions. The problem is not the software itself, it's a valid way to make graphics, the problem is what the questions are focused on.

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    Is there an SE site for asking "How do I do X in Photoshop" type questions? – Joshua Frank Apr 22 '15 at 22:33
  • @JoshuaFrank If the question is focused on design, it's likely on topic here. Otherwise, it's not very on topic here. To answer your question, no, there isn't an Adobe help SE (you might try the Adobe forums). In some cases it can likely come down to the wording of the question. – Zach Saucier Apr 23 '15 at 3:36
  • @JoshuaFrank -- software questions are on-topic at SuperUser, and they have an adobe-photoshop tag. – LindaJeanne Apr 28 '15 at 12:53
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    @MarkMussler: I do think that distinction is a little vague, but I take the basic point. I think the sad reality is that even though the Adobe forums are more targeted, the format is not like SE and the quality of the help is just not as good. – Joshua Frank Apr 28 '15 at 14:28
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    The distinction between "design" and "tech" remains vague and largely worthless. Design is and always has been, in part, a matter of craft and technology. Creating a community Q/A site for designers and saying we don't want to talk about a major component of their work is stupid. – plainclothes May 21 '15 at 17:48
  • @plainclothes That's not what I'm trying to say. Rather I'm trying to say that our focus is solving design problems, not tech support ones. If the question is primarily dealing with tech support and doesn't deal much with the implementation of a design, it's off topic for our site – Zach Saucier May 21 '15 at 17:53
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    So, generally speaking, using software to create 3D visuals isn't about design? – plainclothes May 21 '15 at 17:55
  • @plainclothes The general top itself is completely on topic :) Whether or not a question itself is depends entirely on the question being asked – Zach Saucier May 21 '15 at 17:56
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    You're drawing a very fuzzy line: understanding tools is part of being a designer. Where a designer's job is being inhibited by a design-specific tool, there's no reason we can't answer that question. It's not the only type of question, but it's one we should accept. – plainclothes May 21 '15 at 20:45

No, let them go elsewhere. 3D is much more technically demanding. This means that ultimately it leads to far more technical supporty type questions than Photoshop or Illustrator. Users asking are less likely to notice the difference.

However, I'm not saying total ban. If somebody asks a question related to design it might be okay. Hard to see any such question right now but they exist.


Lets be clear here, for my part its is not a question of whether we could answer 3d questions or not. We in fact can, or let us say that I can. I eyed all our 3d questions and there was 2-3 that i dont know how to answer. I can not just be bothered by the hassle of being a manual reading service.

The big problem is that if we take for example Maya. Maya has:

  • +35 main level menus out of the box - Photoshop, Illustrator, Indesiggn have a combined total of 29 main level menus.
  • Maya has 653 menu item entries about half of which have a separate dialog menu for a whopping ~900 menu item entries to be comparable with adobe.
  • Maya has a infinte node interface that can do nearly anything getting even halfway to knowing maya requires immense dedication. I can teach people to do most things in illustrator in a week, yet in week i can not get a maya user even proficient with half of the modeling tools. Yet alone thinking in 3 dimensions.

This means that 3d questions are EXTREMELY tedious to answer as they generate about 3-10 times more basic entry level questions than the entire adobe suite. In fact most 3d questions wont fit the SE model no mater HOW inclusive the rules are. Which is why I dont have high hopes for a general 3D.SE

  • Agreed, but at this time with the issues in hand we can only consider complete demise of 3D questions for the time being until a standard is put into place. Too many issues are involved with people arguing that they see another question related to this and that but why I can I not have mine. – DᴀʀᴛʜVᴀᴅᴇʀ Apr 16 '15 at 17:12
  • @Darth_Vader yes if im not mistaken i raised this issue a while back and nobody wanted them dead. – joojaa Apr 16 '15 at 17:24
  • not disagreeing with you there Im just trying to find a diplomatic way to force a resolution on a known issue. – DᴀʀᴛʜVᴀᴅᴇʀ Apr 16 '15 at 17:29
  • And why does anyone bother the technical questions? If the question is about composition and you are into that then it should pop up for you because you should have set that tag as favourite. Otherwise you won't even notice the question. Look at SO, there are more then 10 questions each minute about hundreds of languages, frameworks and platforms. Yet Web developers do not bother C++/GL related questions. I really do not see the problem here. – Madmenyo Aug 16 '15 at 23:39
  • @MennoGouw its bad for the site if it has many unaswered questions. Thwy bubble up and fill the front page. So because nobody was interested in answering 3D Questions for years it eventually became a problem. SO is dying because it gets too many questions. the userbase is allready declining. – joojaa Aug 17 '15 at 4:30
  • @MennoGouw also Opengl questions will hopefully go to the new Computer Graphics .SE in the future. – joojaa Aug 17 '15 at 4:36
  • 10 questions a year that do not get answered do not bubble up a SE site/area. And if you know how to use the site properly a couple of billion unanswered questions do neither bubble up your front page of unanswered questions. I really cannot see the problem here. SO dieing? Where did you get that from? It is as good and big as it is because they did not split everything up, often programmer "A" can help out programmer "B" that used a completely different language. And because 3D and 2D overlap on many fronts it will have the same impact eventually. – Madmenyo Aug 17 '15 at 7:22
  • If they move Opengl part of SO will die. If I would have a filter that allowed tags C++, Java and OpenGL I will get everything I am looking for. Now suddenly I have to change site and setup the exact same filters for that site, that sounds silly... again. SO is perfectly manageable at least with the main filter I use I get op to 10 of questions each hour. – Madmenyo Aug 17 '15 at 7:27

I think in this instance the best thing to do would be the send these users to other sites where they can get better and more help from a community experienced in 3D. In some cases I think, due to the lack of a 3D.SE site, we may wan't to send these users to an entirely different network/forum. For suggestions of which site to send them too, see here.

Update! There is a new proposal!


I would say no, supporting questions related to specific programs is not a good idea for GraphicsDesign.SE.

I think it would distract the site's focus from purely design Q and A and get it bogged down in specific application technicalities. Besides we have to think of all the other programs that might get the same treatment. There are many 3D platforms out there, and I think all of them should be treated equally. If there is a large enough community, then there should be a dedicated Area 51 proposal for it.

However general design questions might be a good contribution for this site.

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    Photoshop and AI specific questions I do think are healthy for the site though – GiantCowFilms Apr 16 '15 at 14:09
  • That is a good point – veryRandomMe Apr 16 '15 at 14:10
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    Unfortunately, the Area 51 proposal for a dedicated 3D site failed after 33 days in beta: area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/5022/3d-graphics – Vincent Apr 16 '15 at 14:24
  • Exactly why I included the "If there is a large enough community", which apparently there isn't. We really needed a 3D graphics site too :/ I think it should be proposed again and actively recruited to. – veryRandomMe Apr 16 '15 at 14:25
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    We have lots of questions for specific programs, maybe 80%+ of our questions are. They're the site's bread and butter. The other <20% are the most interesting questions - but without the software-related questions, the site wouldn't be viable. – user56reinstatemonica8 Apr 16 '15 at 15:46
  • Most of the ones I've seen are how do you do X in [application]. Most of these things have similar workflows in other programs as well. But a very good point. – veryRandomMe Apr 16 '15 at 15:48
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    Software questions are part of the job. Do you see SO get bogged down from the 10 questions a minute? I can find the exact answers I need there and find every question I can answer using tags. I think the biggest problem here is that SE is not being used properly and efficiently. – Madmenyo Aug 16 '15 at 23:56
  • @MennoGouw That is a reasonable point, I never considered that – veryRandomMe Aug 17 '15 at 0:30

No, and no Blender, Lightwave, Maya, etc questions either.

Like video, 3D is a specialized area with its own restrictions, learning curve, and output issues. While 3D tools can be used in design it's not overly common and based on my 3 years here, there is just not enough 3D traffic to warrant allowing the 5-10 questions we get every year.

No one answers the existing questions.

Most of the existing questions are asking how to use software... I've been vocal about my opinion on that. :)

Unless the 3D question is related to solving a visual problem in a piece destined for print or web, it is not part of the "graphic design" workflow.

I say shut them all down. All we're doing is confusing users by allowing them occasionally.

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    While you are one of the view that brings up a good argument I still have to disagree. 3d has many things in common to 2d design. And therfore they should coexist. If someone is bothered by the questions they should filter those out/learn how SE works. If questions do not get closed they get answered eventually and that will bring 3D traffic to the site. Most 3d experts are expert on at least one texturing technique and that can help this area out. – Madmenyo Aug 16 '15 at 23:51

To summarise, and add another no-vote.

No, GDSE should not accept questions about 3D Software

Because we can't help with them.

Leaving all personal preferences out of the picture, the reason is simply that GDSE can't help, and years of accepting such questions has proven this.

Ideally one should check the stats, but ain't nobody got time fo' dat!


I think 3D, even just modeling in something like Maya or 3DSMax, is such a complex and deep topic that it should be EXCLUDED from the Graphic Design Exchange. Needs a separate home.

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    Something being deep is not a reason to exclude it. Having a thriving 3d community can help us all here. Splitting it up does the opposite. By your reasoning cartoon drawing and realistic matte painting should be split, if I understand you correct. It's on a whole different level and the latter is much "deeper". Yet they both fall under graphics design. I think some of the people here voting for "no" should create there own little community about a specific topic. – Madmenyo Aug 16 '15 at 23:44

I Would say yes for some reasons. First Graphic design is a huge umbrella that have 2D and 3D underneath. and this comunity called Graphic Design or should we suggest changing it to 2D Graphic Design?!!! Second we have so many member here they post questions related to the 3D Graphic Design. Until those respected memeber could have there own 3D Graphic Design we have to include their questions.

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    But 3D questions are rarely, if ever, actually answered here. We do a disservice by pretending we support them when they go unanswered. I'd be all for keeping them, if they got answers. Unfortunately, they do not. – Scott May 17 '15 at 20:26
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    so I suggest to rename the community into 2D-GDSE – hsawires May 17 '15 at 20:58
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    by the way @scott you could say the same over all users using inkscape and GIMP. they ask rarely and most of question have zero answers. – hsawires May 17 '15 at 21:25
  • Inkscape and Gimp questions almost always receive answers. I think that's a very bad comparison. – Scott May 17 '15 at 21:32
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    I got this idea by clicking over unanswered question. and this is a fact unfortunately. you can check it bu yourself. not only GIMP and inkscape but also Coreldraw and Fireworks by the way. – hsawires May 17 '15 at 21:38

Of course we do silly... Why would anyone want to split StackOverflow into C#, Java, C++, etc, etc? There is no reason to do this and the fact that it is so popular is the reason most languages overlap each other. The same counts for graphics design. 3D goes hand in hand with things like photoshop and after effects but and they completely share topics like composition, shading/lighting etc. If someone is not interested in X then that someone can easily filter X out of his interests, thats what filters and tags are for on SE.

And if for some silly reason this club decides to dump 3D then at least fix the name of this area. Since Graphics Design is way to broad then. Give me a call too, so I can start my cave painting Q&A, Finger Painting Q&A, Bob Ross painting Q/A, Maya Q&A, 3dsMax Q&A, Blender Q&A, Photoshop Q&A, web design Q&A, UI design Q&A, Game Graphics design Q&A, you get the point that is just silly.

Whether the 3D questions are answered or not is not a reason to dump them. Splitting it off in a different area will do even more harm. And whenever the community can attract more 3D experts it will do us all a favor. In the end both 2D, 3D and overall design questions will compliment each other and make this section a lot stronger.

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    I just wanted to answer my own and some other questions to improve the 3d value of this area. Yet they are close, yet 3d tags are still there. Stop this silly destructive behaviour please and let's make a good community out of this. – Madmenyo Aug 16 '15 at 23:31
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    Ive read all your answers and comments but I think you need to step back and think for a min. In your own answer you show you really do not understand what is going on. I say that because you rant about starting your own Q&As but we do already have them.. We have a blender, UX, and a 3D site in meta. Several sites have been created off other sites (Magento, Programming, Code Review, and a few more) and everything shouldn't and cant live just on one site. If you were to learn before ranting and asked the history of why 3D was decided not to be allowed I would take you more seriously. – DᴀʀᴛʜVᴀᴅᴇʀ Aug 17 '15 at 12:30
  • +1 Bob Ross & Finger Painting. As long we don't need to grow extra hair (or fingers), I'm in! I agree with @MennoGouw, 3D still work in a very close way with the Adobe software and in fact Adobe is working on improving their 3D features as well, even going for 3D printing. In another Question I asked, most of the admins said XYZ belong in GD:SE while it's clear it didn't. Then there's even a comment about keeping stuff we can HERE. Well 3D is design; as much as Illustrator scripting is and CSS! And please, no need to call people misinformed, Darth! This comment is a bit aggro – go-junta Aug 17 '15 at 22:16

Until the SE network has a home to redirect 3D questions, they belong here. This is a design discipline, however specialized it may be. We clearly do not have the contributors to handle it today, but we never will if we continue to discourage the questions.

The 3D community is a relatively small and passionate one that could be drawn in to develop this knowledge base. An attempt at a standalone SE site failed, so why not carve out a little space here?

For the record, if you aren't interested or can't help with 3D questions (like me) just add it to your ignored tags. Problem solved.

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    It's not as simple as ignoring the tag. Just because a stack site doesn't exist shouldn't be a reason why we should allow them. By your answer alone we should allow cross-hatching, air brushing, neon bending, sculpture and any form of art because an art stack doesn't exist and some of us could answer them. The issue is wether or not they are in scope and if they work with the site. We all know only a small hand full can answer them but allowing them to exist defeats the initiative of the petitioned 3D stack site on area51. Nor do we discourage anyone answering them but that is one problem – DᴀʀᴛʜVᴀᴅᴇʀ May 21 '15 at 18:03
  • I think the distinction is easier to make with this subject. We can accept and answer questions about creating 3D effects, using shadows and highlights etc. but not technical 3D software questions, asking how to do something specific in a dedicated 3D software. Drawing that line is necessary imo, because questions about 3D software will likely pick up speed at some point soon, and I think the number of potential questions is at least twice as many as AI. – Dom May 21 '15 at 18:17
  • You're stretching there, @Darth_Vader. Including arts and crafts questions that don't relate to a design problem (rather an art project) is nothing like accepting issues associated with the tools and techniques of a subset of the graphic design industry. – plainclothes May 21 '15 at 20:38
  • @Dom if the volume of questions surrounding 3D graphics is greater than that of Illustrator, is that a problem? Isn't that a case of demand generating supply? I agree that if a question is heavily scripting or systems focused, it may need migration to StackOverflow or something similar. – plainclothes May 21 '15 at 20:41
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    It's not the content that is the issue, it's the fact that we're unable to help in most cases. Until we have a dedicated resident expert, those questions are just a growing pile of noise. On top of that, I think even simple 3D software tasks have a significant number of steps. In other words, I don't think we can do the subject justice, and it deserves a better home. – Dom May 21 '15 at 21:40
  • As will all things SE, I accept the will of the community. But I don't have to agree. (-_-)尸 – plainclothes May 21 '15 at 22:39

If I may interject - I know this comes post-issue, but I feel a lot of GDSE users are misguided in that they don't believe 3D graphic design falls under this SE.


My Reasoning - Just because a lot of current GDSE users might not necessarily know how to answer 3D design questions doesn't mean this isn't the place for it. The whole premise of Stack Exchange is to help people, so why are we turning away people that need help?

I agree that this is not a site for 'How-To' and tech support but by the same respect, most GDSE questions are 'How-To'. If you scroll down your feed it's mostly 'How do I do x'

There is an Area 51 subforum for 3D graphic design - http://area51.stackexchange.com/proposals/86368/3d-graphics-modeling-animation

However, I don't believe that is the place for it since it is Graphic Design. By definition Graphic Design is the process of visual communication through the use of images and space - that I believe includes the 3D spectrum. Photoshop has the ability to do minimal 3D renderings, does that mean I should go to a different forum to ask my question?

Take for example StackOverflow. If it is a question regarding code, it doesn't matter what program you are using, it is still a valid question.

We should embrace these 3D design questions, and have them tagged as such. People who are active in the 3D graphic design world also probably know a decent amount of photoshop and other GD topics - they could be a great addition to the GDSE community. Why would we not want to grow GDSE? - I understand with limited moderation it can be difficult to scale up, but I think you are missing the overall idea of Stack Exchange.

Instead of dispersing all 3D questions elsewhere on the internet, making GDSE even less capable of answering 3D questions, we migrate those questions here. Build the 3D community and those who don't know how to answer the questions don't need to think about it.

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    (not my down vote) -- 3D, like video, has it's own set of restrictions, tools, procedures which are largely unrelated to graphic design. While there is some crossover in limited areas, it is a separate field. In my mind it is deserving of it's own stack and will only muddy the waters here. – Scott Jun 26 '15 at 3:11
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    @Scott I agree with you to an extent. On the aspects of video, however, I believe that falls under animation - not graphic design. There should be a 3D modelling stack, but that community hasn't grown large enough yet. So while the Area 51 site is a good place to start, it doesn't mean we should exclude ALL 3D questions. – Adjit Jun 26 '15 at 15:52
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    Some would say animation is graphic design as well. After all Photoshop has a Timeline panel. Not having a full fledged stack to send questions to is a poor excuse to keep them in my opinion. The line has to be drawn somewhere to keep content effective. – Scott Jun 27 '15 at 4:54
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    +1million for Adjit's ANSWER! – Confused Jun 30 '15 at 12:33
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    @Scott Photoshop is not a Graphic Design application. It's a photo editor that became so ubiquitous that people began using it for just SOME aspects of Graphic Design. – Confused Jun 30 '15 at 12:37

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