How to 3D Print Your Own Lithophane – Simply Explained

Ever since Photoshop CS5, Adobe has been adding features to work with 3D elements in Photoshop. These features often help with turning 2D objects into 3D, which our action set will be using to produce a lithophane. To get started, download the “Make lithophane” action set from this link. Once you’ve downloaded it, drag and drop the .atn file onto your Photoshop window to install it.

Then, do the following:

  1. Open your photo with Photoshop.
  2. Go to the Window menu and check Actions (or press Alt+F9) for the actions tool to pop open. 
  3. In the Make Lithophane folder, choose the action and click the play icon beneath.

Photoshop will now go through a series of actions (adding texture maps, etc.) to create your 3D lithophane. When it’s done you should be able to see your lithophane.

Noe that the whole process is based on Photoshop guessing the right depth, which it does based on the difference in contrast. Therefore, pictures with sharper contrast will likely yield better results.

The action will take some time, ultimately depending on your system spec, and Photoshop might be unusable during the process. In order to avoid the software crashing, be patient and don’t click on anything during this time.

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