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Heightfield STL file relief from (greyscale?) photo.

Often you want to create a heightfield from a photograph, and then from that heightfield you'd like to make a 3D mesh. Well, you can do it all in one go with this program, plus being able to specify the number of points in the heightfield and the final 3D dimensions of the mesh, as well as other settings.

Here is a screenshot:

Heightfield from photo for 3d printing

In this example the photograph is black and white, but it could be color.

Near the center of the above screenshot is a combo box where you select the Mesh Type. There are 4 available types. For STL (Stereolithographic) or STLB (Binary Stereolithgographic) output you should select Closed Triangular Mesh. In the screenshot above Quad Mesh Surface has been selected, in the screenshot below Closed Triangular Mesh:

Height settng of an STL file

Cliking on the Other Options button gives you a dialog...

Height of a 3D STL base

... which allows you to specify a base height, as you can see in the 3D view on the right of the screenshot.

Another option in the same dialog allows you to change the layer of the mesh (only useful if you are going to use DXF output).

Let's have a look at the options in the main screen of PhotoToMesh:

Size settings of Photo and 3D ouput

The "Points Along XY Dimensions" settings really sets how much detail you want to pull out of the original photograph or image. It also sets the number of faces created in the final 3D object.

The Mesh X Y and Height size settings say how you want to convert the photograph size into final 3D object size. Note that neither DXF nor STL have "units", they are just numbers. If you and your machines work in inches 25 means 25 inches, if you work in mm then 25 means 25 mm.

This lack of units is a "feature" of the file formats, and not something PhotoToMesh can overcome.

PhotoToMesh is a Windows compatible program with a free demo (we won't ask you for your name of email!). Simply click on the button below to try it with your own images and photos:



"I imported the STL's from PhotoToMesh into my CAM package (Cimatron E) and machined the STL directly."



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