When you imagine 3D printed art, it’s easy to envision the different kinds of sculptures and figurines posted online. While these projects take plenty of time and creativity on their own, César Galera shows us a different way to make 3D printed art by turning 2D images into fully textured 3D prints.
This project follows a similar technique that stems from lithophanes, which produces an image from light that passes through the object. César instead details in the video below the break how to use the ItsLitho tool to build completely opaque black and white images using a multicolored printer.
Lithophanes are built (or printed) by mapping topography to make light easier or harder to pass through in certain places. Areas that appear darker are thicker with more layers, and areas that appear lighter have less. It’s a nifty optical illusion, but these kinds of art blocks aren’t actually multicolored themselves.
The trick is to develop the 3D model using the lithophane tool first to create the different elevations (ensuring that the lowest elevation is still thick enough to be opaque), but retain the different colors on the model when it’s exported. Multi-colored 3D printers will then be able to add gray and black filament as it prints higher and higher elevation. If you don’t have a multi-colored printer, you can add pauses on the 3D print file to switch out filaments after a few layers to achieve a similar effect.
Read more: A 2D Image Makes A 3D Print