Reliefmod - Convert a 2D image into a 3D print


Using Reliefmod, you can make 3D models from 2D images. The end result can be compared to Bas Relief - flat sculptural relief where objects slightly stand out to form a 3D figure. The difference in thickness of materials creates shapes and lines that enable them to form objects. It is one of the most ancient kinds of sculptural crafts and has been around for thousands of years. One can say that this kind of art is something between painting and sculpting (definitely more the latter).

Alternatively, the app allows you to turn the pictures into lithophanes. These are the flat structures that use different material thicknesses to reflect darker and lighter areas to make an image reveal once a light source is placed behind the plate. Lithophanes allow making beautiful lamps and memorabilia.

With Reliefmod, bas relief and high relief models can be easily made by you without any prior knowledge of art. It also can be used to create topographic maps and terrain models from satellite images. After the 3D model is formed, you can get it manufactured on Treatstock. It is also possible to make full-colored files.

How to make a quality lithophane or bas relief using a 3D printer?

Step 1. Choose an image

Choose an image you want to transform into 3D. It should have a clear silhouette on a solid background. Otherwise, the background will also become a part of relief and the whole picture can turn obscure. If you want to use a photo, make sure that it is well-lit (the fewer shadows the better). Also, be careful with detailed images as they can result in a sloppy 3D model.

Step 2. Choose proper settings for 2D to 3D converting

Click “choose an image” and upload a .jpg or .png file. After uploading the image your bas relief will be generated automatically. If you don’t like a result, you can experiment with 8 features:

  1. Relief direction. If you want the light areas of the image to be sunken and dark areas to be raised as for lithophane, then you should select ‘Light areas sunken’. Otherwise, leave ‘Light areas raised’.
  2. Mode. The second feature allows you to select between monochrome and colored models. Monochrome uses only one color and is recommended for standard desktop 3D printers. Colored, as its name suggests, uses all the colors from the image in the bas-relief, but can only be produced by full-color 3D printers.
  3. Plate size. This setting allows you to manage the model’s biggest side (length or height), while another one will be scaled accordingly. If you attempt to change plate size, remember that 3D printers have limitations on the maximum and minimum size of an object they can print. Don’t overdo it.
  4. Plate thickness. Using this setting, you will be able to change the plate’s thickness. Same to the sizing, be mindful about this parameter to ensure a 3D printer can actually manufacture the plate.
  5. Relief depth from the rear of a plate. Relief depth feature determines the depth of the relief from the rear of a plate. The minimum setting is 1 mm.
  6. Denoise factor. The denoise factor in Reliefmod works similar to the same feature in photo editing software. It reduces the noise present in an image. Thus, it makes a more accurate model for 3D printing.
  7. Smoothness factor. The smoothness factor can be compared to a blurring tool. It smooths edges and roughness, as a result, some details can disappear as well. The greater the smoothness factor, the smoother the relief will be.
  8. Quality. The last feature allows you to choose the quality and size of the file: Small, Recommended and Extra. Models of a better quality will take more time to be prepared, but they’ll have the best quality as well.

Step 3. Have it manufactured

Once you’re happy with the appearance of the 3D relief, order it printed through Treatstock with a manufacturer of your choice. Keep in mind that relief can be non-manufacturable through a certain technology if the quality and details of your original image or settings of a plate had been compromised.