Picture of 3D Printing Photographs - using 3DS MAX

One of my favorite instructables of all time is the 3D Printing Photograph. I was fortunate to meet Amanda, while I was doing my Residency at Instructables and learned a few tricks to do my version. Amanda uses Processing to draw the 3D Models but I hardly code so I figured a way to do the same using Autodesk 3DS Max.

The 3D printer used is an Objet Connex500 and the material used is VeroWhite. Both the printer and the material are really nice because you can get a great quality finish which will reflect on your photo quality. As the thickness varies, the amount of light that is able to pass through changes giving more depth to the photograph. The thinner the material, the brighter it will be.

This year is the world cup so I printed one of the best football (soccer) players that lived on this planet Diego Maradona, holding the World Cup in Mexico 1986. Hopefully this year we will see Lionel Messi hold the world cup in the Estádio do Maracanã.

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Step 1: Photoshop Image

Picture of Photoshop Image

Grab any image you want to 3D print and open Adobe Photoshop. The first thing you need to take note is find out the proportions of the image (width and height ratio). In this case: 1366 x 768 pixels.

Now convert the image into Greyscale mode since color is not necessary for processing the texture of the photograph. We only need to know how dark/bright it is.

Now we will Invert the image greyscale as shown on the screenshot because 3DS Max will process a taller surface wherever there is a light shade and we actually want the inverse.

The final step on Photoshop is a bit optional but I decided to Increase Contrast so I have a bit more contrast on my peaks/valleys.

Jan_Henrik11 months ago

Is it possible with a free program?

alepalan (author)  Jan_Henrik11 months ago
Not sure, it would be really cool if the folks from Autodesk 123D can make something like this!

I don't know about the 3DS component, but I followed this instructable and substituted Meshmixer for Rhino. It was a little slow, but definitely free and easier to use than Rhino.

Check out this instructable:

They did it with a program called "Processing" (which is free and open source) plus a added library (also free).

Awesome, thank you!! :)

Uncle Kudzu11 months ago

It'd be cool to make prints from it, kinda like linoleum block printing..

amandaghassaei11 months ago

awesome! glad to see this posted!

alepalan (author)  amandaghassaei11 months ago

Thanks! What are you up to these days? I miss going to the Pier!

Trying to work on more projects... right now I'm actually making a big canvas print of the Hubble deep space images, inspired by your project.