Windows 10 To Bring 3-D to Two-Dimensional Experiences

Microsoft wants to bring life to common computing experiences by adding a third dimension to widely used software such as Windows and Office.

The new tools, part of a free "Creators Update" to Windows 10 early next year, promise to make it easy for people to create and share photos, drawing and other images in 3-D.

Instead of taking a regular photo of a sand castle in two dimensions, for instance, a beach-goer can scan all sides of the castle with a phone. Microsoft's tools will convert that into 3-D; viewers can rotate the virtual sand castle on the screen with their fingers. Microsoft plans to make it easy to share that on social media and even send to 3-D printers.

Business presentations can be enhanced as 3-D support comes to PowerPoint; you can rotate an object to focus on a particular angle. Microsoft's image-editing software Paint will also enable people to create 3-D artworks by combining existing 2-D images with newly scanned objects in three dimensions.

"By making 3-D for everyone, our digital world starts a new, more human journey," said Megan Saunders, a Microsoft executive in charge of transitioning computing to three dimensions.

Microsoft also announced a high-end desktop called Surface Studio. Costing about $3,000, the Studio will be targeted at creators such as architects, artists and engineers, many of whom have long used Apple's Mac computers. The 28-inch display is on a flexible hinge, so users can view it straight on, or tilt it to as low as 20 degrees for drafting. Microsoft also announced Surface Dial, a circular accessory with new ways to scroll and navigate.

Wednesday's announcements come a day before Apple is expected to refresh its Mac lineup.

Microsoft's Surface sales aren't high enough to rank on either Gartner's or IDC's list of top five personal-computer manufacturers, but they represent an...

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