Voxelize 2D images into 3D models

One day you feel an itch to design a model of that spaceship you saw in the movie. You take out your sketchpad or photoshop or 3DTin, all set to transfer that glamorous shape from your imagination to real world… And then you can’t figure where to start. That white blank canvas stares back at you, mocking your artistic skills. It happens to most of us.

Now 3DTin can help you with that problem. You can now import PNG/JPEG images into 3DTin. So Instead of a blank canvas, you can start from a 2D view of the object of your design (!).

You should now see an Import button at the top.


Click on this button and you will see a rectangular dialog near left bottom corner.


You can either drag-n-drop an image file from your desktop or just open it by clicking ‘Choose File’. As long as it’s valid image file (of any size), 3DTin will import it and convert it into a voxels. (It will preserve the aspect ratio) It will add a constant thickness to the voxel layer. Now you can manipulate those voxels any way you want to develop that 2D image along the third dimension.

You will also see a Color spectrum dialog. It lists groups of cubes in the sketch sorted according to their color. Moreover it gives shortcuts to remove those cubes with one click. This dialog comes very handy to quickly get rid of all the whitespace in the background.


To give you an idea of what this can mean, I drew something for you.

I found a slick image of a motor bike from here, imported it into 3DTin and spent some time creating this model. You can be assured of my artistic skills (or lack of them). I couldn’t have drawn such a sketch from scratch. But thanks to a basic outline captured from the image, I could design this model. Then I fixed the manifold violations and downloaded STL and published to Thingiverse.

Over the past months, I have seen 3DTin users create some astonishing voxel art. I can’t wait to see how much cooler models they are going to make now.

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10 Responses to Voxelize 2D images into 3D models

  1. bre says:

    This is going to manifest so many awesome 3DTin models. Cheers!

  2. Anonymous says:

    A W E S O M E……. fantastic work, again…

  3. clothbot says:

    If you can add a way to map individual colours to different voxel heights… that would be awesome^2!

  4. 3DTin says:

    @clothbot I had implemented interface for adjusting voxel thickness based on color, but the results were not very promising. Partly because of the low resolution. You would expect bumping up thickness of similar colors would uniformly inflate part of the image, but that didn’t happen in practice. Voxels close together in space were of different colors and many voxels of same color were spread all over. That led to many holes and non-uniform surfaces after color based thickness adjustment. Manually editing those voxels turned out to be easier instead.

  5. Nilesh Salvi says:

    best feature update, so far.

  6. Asher says:

    Guys i have Firefox 4.0 and it’s not working for me… i dont see any import button on top , am i missing something?

  7. 3DTin says:

    Asher, click on the info button and check the version. If it’s less than v174, then the offline cache is updating in background. Wait for a while and upgrade. On Chrome, the version number is followed by percentage update progress, but on Firefox for some reason that may not work.

  8. Jason says:

    As if anyone even comes to this page anymore… I have a question. Does this require premium membership? Because I can’t find the import button. At all. There is no import button. And, assuming I get a reply about checking the version, there is no info button, either. No import button, no info button. I’m using Chrome with this, since that’s the only browser it will work with. Does it even do this anymore?

  9. I’m curious, what software did you use to correct manifold violations and make it watertight?

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