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How to 3d Print a Picture

How to 3d Print a Picture

3D printing is an exciting type of printing that gives life to otherwise boring projects, it also gives you a feeling of satisfaction when you print your pictures. You can 3D print any of your photos with the steps discussed in this article.

The outcome of the 3D printing often depends on the quality of the picture used. You can not expect to use a lousy photo and get excellent 3D printing. Also, you need to note that the first step in printing a 3D image is to create a 3D model. In this article, you will find an overview of how to:

  • Get a good picture
  • Convert your 2D model to a 3D model
  • Tools to use for the 3D modeling, and,
  • Print your picture in 3D

In this situation, the outcome of your 3D model will be determined by three factors:

  • The quantity and quality of photographs you take.
  • The more images you capture throughout the shoot, the better.
  • The higher the photo resolution, the better.

Now let’s go into how you can make the most of your 3D printer to get the best 3D pictures ever.

How to 3D Print a Picture

The following steps will show you how to 3D print a picture easily.

  1. Get a quality picture

There are different ways to get a quality picture for your 3D printing. You can decide to use the services of a photographer or get pictures from websites like Shutterstock pixels for free or at a cost. You can also take a picture yourself if you cannot get an image that interests you.

Here are some materials you need to get an excellent picture to 3D print yourself.

  • A Digital Camera: You can start with your smartphone’s camera, but it might not give you the same result as a digital camera. The optimal settings for the camera should include a low ISO and a low shutter speed to reduce noise as much as possible.

Its key benefit is that it allows you to use a small aperture with a shallower depth of focus. This would allow you to sharpen the subject outline, making it easier for the 3D modeling software to capture.

  • A Lighting Device: If you want to improve your shooting, you'll need more lighting. Using a lighting device will help you achieve good light sensitivity while reducing noise. If you use natural or artificial light, what is essential is to prevent shadows as much as possible so that the subject outline would not appear blurry.
  • A Tripod: A tripod stand is needed to maneuver or rotate the camera the way you want. Some tripod stands come with remote control. All you have to do is place your camera on top of it firmly and control it with the remote control.
  1. Convert your image into a 3D model

3D modeling is one of the essential routines in 3D printing. It is vital to convert your picture to an STL file which is helpful in printing whatever you want to print. Although there are downloadable STL files on the internet, e.t.c. Some are free, while some come at a cost.

Tools to convert 2D pictures to 3D models

  1. Extrude is a useful tool. Photos are 2D files, which means you can only use two axes to manipulate it in your 3D model. The extrude tool will assist you in creating a third axis from a specified component to build new geometry. Based on a unique method, this tool will help you in giving volume to your 2D model (converts the picture to levels of grey and calculates the height based on the intensity of grey). It's a rather typical tool that you'll come across in CAD software. If you don't have a graphics program, try SketchUp, Blender, or Meshmixer, which are all free and great 3D programs.
  2. Lithophane: Lithophane, also known as 3D Photo Print, is one of the methods for converting 2D photos to 3D printing. Lithophane is a translucent porcelain that has been engraved or sculpted into a piece of art. Only when a backlight lights the picture up can it be seen clearly.

Lithophane is a three-dimensional picture, as opposed to two-dimensional engravings and daguerreotypes, which are both "flat. Images take on different features depending on the source of lighting them. So, what exactly do you have to do?

  • Take a picture or any other existing photo.
  • Click "Images" in the top bar and drag the photo you want into the window. Uploading photographs of a smaller quality, such as 500*500 pixels, is recommended. This resolution is enough for creating a good-looking model, and the computation time is significantly reduced.
  • A 3D model should be produced automatically after submitting a picture. "Parameters" is the last button on the top bar, and it allows you to adjust the model generation settings. The source image editing is found under "Settings/ Image settings." Positive Image/Negative Image is the first and most significant slider. The premise behind creating a 3D model is that each point/pixel is given a height coordinate depending on the amount of black color (black color = 0, white color = 1).
  • Transform the image into a negative for the finished 3D shot to match the slicer's original template. You can set the thinnest layer to 0.4mm
  • When the model is ready, click the "Download" button to get it.
  • Then, using a slicer like Cura or PrusaSlicer, open the file. You may modify the layer height to 0.10 or 0.11mm after opening the file. Based on experience, it is preferable to print the object flat on the print bed to avoid any possible wobbling that may occur if the object is produced vertically. To achieve the greatest possible print quality, use a 0.05mm setting with a 0.25mm nozzle.
  • Then go to "Print settings" and set "Layers and perimeters" to 1 for both parameters.
  • The value will be "Infilled" to 95% Rectilinear in the following stage.
  • It's crucial not to enlarge the object in Cura or PrusaSlicer since doing so would increase its height on the Z-axis, disrupting the flow of light across the image. Only the Y and X axes can be changed.
  1. Meshroom: Meshroom is AliceVision's new free open source photogrammetry software. Photogrammetry software allows you to create a 3D image from a collection of photos, with the more, the better. After you've loaded Meshroom, simply follow the steps below.
  2. Drag the extracted photos to the left-hand Images window.
  3. Make a backup of your project.
  4. To begin, press the green “start ” button.
  5. Select a node and look at the Log (lower right corner) for more information. If you run it on a non-CUDA (Nvidia) GPU, you may receive an error message. Keep in mind that it might also be caused by a process on a computer with Optimus that isn't automatically picking the best GPU.
  6. It would be best to start getting outputs in the 3D reader as you progress.
  7. The LMB, scroll wheel, and MMB are used to zoom and orbit the mouse, respectively. As the procedure progresses, the input image will get more detailed. You'll notice a button labeled Load Model after it's finished successfully.

Printing your 3D Model

Follow these steps to print your 3D model:

  • Slice your model: Once you've found an acceptable STL file, you'll need to convert it into printer instructions. Different printers and materials have different instructions. You can go for a print that has extra high-quality or quick but low-quality.

If you're working with new material, you may need to start at a very low temperature to avoid your filament burning. For these reasons, slicing your model is almost always the best option. The instructions your printer follows are known as G-code.

Like a recipe, G-code is made up of a sequence of step-by-step instructions. It includes information on speed, direction, temperature, flow rate, and other factors. You don't need to save the STL file when you have the G-code for the printer and model.

  • Save G-code into the SD card: The simplest approach to printing is to save the G-code to an SD card. Display and control buttons are nearly typically seen on printers that accommodate SD cards. Click on the print button after navigating to your G-code file. Place the plastic filament in the printer and make sure it's set up according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Connect your printer to the computer: When you connect a 3D printer to the computer through USB, you can operate it with whichever slicing tool you like. This approach works well, but it necessitates that your computer is turned on and connected to the printer throughout the printing process.
  • Now you should hear the sounds of your printer working on your first print.


Printing your pictures in 3D is not as difficult as it sounds. This article contains expository information on how to get started with 3D printing your pictures. Work with the steps outlined to get perfect 3D pictures for commercial or personal use. You’ve got this!

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