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View Full Version : Turning a bitmap into a 3D model



Paul_Boland
05-22-2008, 01:59 PM
Hi Folks.

I have a flat 2D black and white bitmap image which I want to convert into a 3D model. Basically, what I want to do is to take the image into Lightwave and sweep it to give it depth, turn it into a solid 3D block, but I don't know how to achieve this or even if it's possible? Is there a way to turn a bitmap into a 3D block?

adhesiveX
05-22-2008, 02:16 PM
You might want to try this plugin called Cookie Cutter http://pweb.netcom.com/~ghartens/cookie.html it may require some clean up after the conversion process. Hope this works for you.:thumbsup:

JeffrySG
05-22-2008, 02:19 PM
If it's simple, I'd place it as a backdrop and trace it manually. If it's complex you can also trace it in either photoshop (with the pen tool or magic wand and conver to a path) or illustrator (using the autotrace) and save as a (vector) eps file. You can then import that EPS into lightwave.

calilifestyle
05-22-2008, 04:35 PM
If its simple you can use inkscape to auto trace it and export it as dxf then import it and do what you have to.

Giacomo99
05-22-2008, 07:40 PM
I second JeffrySG's "place it as a backdrop and trace it manually" approach.

In fact, it might be better to trace the logo manually even if it's complex, because then you can create a clean SubPatched extrusion form that--trust me--will be a LOT easier to work with than the thousand-point polygon you'll probably get if you auto-trace it.

Maxx
05-22-2008, 09:42 PM
You also could - depending on the image and its' intended use - could simply put a flat, subdivided plane in Layout, apply the B&W image as a displacement map, and use the "Save Transformed" command, which will save the object with the deformations as a new mesh. Clean as needed in Modeler and go from there.

Although, if it's a logo, I agree with the above - trace the sucker in Illustrator or Modeler, 'cause the mesh is going to be much cleaner.

Paul_Boland
05-23-2008, 01:33 PM
Hi.

Thanks very much for the suggestions, much appreciated. The logo in question is quite complex so if I can get Lightwave to do the work, all the better. At the moment, I've tried going the EPS route but I don't have Photoshop (can't afford it) and used Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 to save the EPS file. However, Lightwave can't read the file, I get an error message saying unknown format. I've tried the four encoding methods, ASCII, ASCII85, Binary and JPG but none of them work. I don't have any other graphics package that can save in EPS format. Can anyone recommend a cheap package to do it? Would Paint Shop Pro X2 do it? I can't try it out as I tried the demo before months ago and it's timed out so even with a reinstall it won't run.

Maxx
05-23-2008, 01:41 PM
Make sure you're saving out paths (I'm not sure if Elements can do this - I don't have it) as Lightwave won't be able to do it with a bitmapped .eps file. Vector only in this case.

Not sure about a free program to handle it, but you could probably download the trial of Photoshop or Illustrator to give it a shot. The nice thing about Illustrator is that it's got the AutoTrace function that JeffreySG mentioned. Again, just make sure that the .eps contains only vector lines before trying the import into Modeler.

pixelranger
05-23-2008, 02:02 PM
Lightwave only recognize the eps from illustrator 8 and below, so when you export the eps, make sure that the eps export options are set to illustrator 8 format.

gerry_g
05-25-2008, 03:47 PM
EPS just stands for 'encapsulated post script' it's just a wrapper around a file to make it printer savvy IT DOESN'T HAVE TO CONTAIN ANY VECTORS AT ALL and if U exported it from Elements it'll still be just a bitmap but now in a EPS wrapper, You have to generate vectors to get vectors which means Illustrator, preferably use live trace then simplify paths and flatten transparency (I think, been a while since I did it last)

Paul_Boland
05-26-2008, 02:03 PM
Hey, thanks a lot for all the help. I downloaded the 30 day demo of Illustrator CS3, imported my bitmap, used Live Trace (took a while for me to figure that out) and then saved out the EPS as an Illustrator 8 file and Lightwave has loaded that just fine. I then Extruded the shape and now have a 3D block of the bitmap image, great :thumbsup:!

That technique could come in very handy indeed, I might try to lay my hands on a copy of Illustrator 8 cheap somewhere. I'd love to buy CS3 but at over 800, it's way out of my price range. I'm going to play around with it though and see what else it can do. I might be convinced to save ;).

Thanks again, much appreciate the help.

cresshead
05-26-2008, 04:29 PM
if your looking for a vector 2d app then go look on amazon.co.uk. for corel draw i use it everyday at work and home for 2d drawing and it exports to ai format...

i picked up corel draw suite 11 for 39 a couple of years back from amazon.co.uk
they do sell older versions on there so have a look around.

try the demo too....

JeffrySG
05-26-2008, 07:25 PM
Before purchasing Illustrator you might want to see if Inkscape will trace as well. It's opensource and free: http://www.inkscape.org/

Also, you can trace in photoshop and export the paths as an illustrator (vector) file, which you can then bring into Inkscape and edit if needed...

Mr Rid
05-26-2008, 10:20 PM
Hi.

...I've tried going the EPS route but I don't have Photoshop (can't afford it) and used Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 to save the EPS file. However, Lightwave can't read the file, ...

Yeah, I would like to know exactly what format you export out of PShop that will import into Modeler. Have only seen Illustrator work.

gerry_g
05-27-2008, 06:00 PM
Well I've never actually done this before (not that I can remember anyway) but 'export to Illustrator' from CS3 works just fine no hassle, so there you go

gerry_g
05-27-2008, 06:02 PM
that is I'm taking directly to LW, not round tripping it to Illustrator

Mr Rid
05-28-2008, 11:26 AM
Right, but this still doesnt import.

Paul_Boland
05-28-2008, 12:20 PM
Are you tracing the object first? As Gerry G pointed out above, just exporting an EPS file without doing this will only encapsulate the image itself and not the path data you need for Lightwave to create the polygon. Illustrator is handy in that it has auto trace/live trace which does this for you.

gerry_g
05-28-2008, 01:37 PM
Just to reiterate, I was exporting vectors from Photoshop not a bitmap, it still all comes back to the original argument that an eps will only have vectors in it if you place them there in the first place, eps does not generate vectors upon save merely saves pre existing vectors. Yes if I had have been exporting a bitmap I could have first used Magic Wand to select it and added a certain amount of feather to smooth it out then converted it to a path then saved it via 'Export to Illustrator' (all within PS) as a rough approximation of what live trace in Illustrator does, but live trace does feel more sophisticated and has a number of post operations available to it like the simplify paths command (absent from PS)

Sensei
05-28-2008, 02:06 PM
Hi Folks.

I have a flat 2D black and white bitmap image which I want to convert into a 3D model. Basically, what I want to do is to take the image into Lightwave and sweep it to give it depth, turn it into a solid 3D block, but I don't know how to achieve this or even if it's possible? Is there a way to turn a bitmap into a 3D block?

Our first plug-in for LightWave (at that time v6.5 ;) ) was ImageForm what was doing exactly what you wanted - you pick up front, side and top images b&w and adjusting settings you see real 3d object in real-time (fully interactive tool). It's currently only available in Legacy Tools in TrueArt's Modeling Pack http://modelingpack.trueart.eu

Here are screen-shots:
https://secure.reg.net/ProductData/ScreenShots.asp?TemplateID=-1&ProductID=12021

JeffrySG
05-28-2008, 02:10 PM
Just to reiterate, I was exporting vectors from Photoshop not a bitmap, it still all comes back to the original argument that an eps will only have vectors in it if you place them there in the first place, eps does not generate vectors upon save merely saves pre existing vectors. Yes if I had have been exporting a bitmap I could have first used Magic Wand to select it and added a certain amount of feather to smooth it out then converted it to a path then saved it via 'Export to Illustrator' (all within PS) as a rough approximation of what live trace in Illustrator does, but live trace does feel more sophisticated and has a number of post operations available to it like the simplify paths command (absent from PS)

Yes, if you export Photoshop Paths (vectors) into LW it will work. I have done this for some projects. Although it's nice to be able to open it in Illustrator and edit using Illustrator tools if needed.

You can also use the selection tools in PS and then convert the selections to working paths to end up with (vector) paths. The quality will vary. I used this technique to convert some very complex patterns in JPG files into files that can be opened and extruded in LW.

Mr Rid
07-14-2008, 09:02 PM
Yes, if you export Photoshop Paths (vectors) into LW it will work. I have done this for some projects. Although it's nice to be able to open it in Illustrator and edit using Illustrator tools if needed.

You can also use the selection tools in PS and then convert the selections to working paths to end up with (vector) paths. The quality will vary. I used this technique to convert some very complex patterns in JPG files into files that can be opened and extruded in LW.

Am trying this again but still have never seen it work. So, I make an area selection in PShop (tried in CS2 and CS3), and 'Make Work Path,' and export 'Paths to Illustrator as an "ai" file. But I just get an 'error reading file' when loading into Modeler 9.3 or 9 (presumably as an object). What am I missing?

Mr Rid
07-14-2008, 09:10 PM
Forgot to add that importing into Modeler as EPSF Loader or Vertex Loader does not work. Saving an EPS file out of PShop also does not import or load into Modeler.

robk
07-14-2008, 10:48 PM
I use Accutrans 3D. I load the bitmap into Accutrans with the "Open as bitmap to 3D" and check off the "Decode pallete index 0" It will give you one object for the white part and one for the black. Uncheck the one you don't want and save the other one out as a lightwave object.
see attached bitmap and a screen grab showing LW object. (tried to load the object but the forum gods wont let me)

Surrealist.
07-15-2008, 12:08 AM
Yeah, I would like to know exactly what format you export out of PShop that will import into Modeler. Have only seen Illustrator work.

In Photoshop use Export Paths to Illustrator. (If I remember exactly) You have to have paths first of course. It will make an .ai file that will import in Modeler with the EPSF importer.

Mr Rid
07-15-2008, 01:51 AM
In Photoshop use Export Paths to Illustrator. (If I remember exactly) You have to have paths first of course. It will make an .ai file that will import in Modeler with the EPSF importer.

Ok, am experiencing and odd bug with the EPSF Loader. When I attempt to import an ai with the default EPSF Loader settings, nothing happens, and continues to not work no matter what I do. But if I close and reopen Modeler and try again but first change to any of the other 'Convert To' settings then it works fine until the next time I reopen modeler and import with the default settings. Neat.

archijam
07-15-2008, 01:55 AM
Yeah, I would like to know exactly what format you export out of PShop that will import into Modeler. Have only seen Illustrator work.

Only exporting paths to EPS works from Photoshop in my expereince, any even then you may need to open and re-save in between to get it to EPS v.8 compatibility. That said, it's quite a nice way to generate the contours if you are PShop savvy.

Surrealist.
07-15-2008, 04:03 AM
Ok, am experiencing and odd bug with the EPSF Loader. When I attempt to import an ai with the default EPSF Loader settings, nothing happens, and continues to not work no matter what I do. But if I close and reopen Modeler and try again but first change to any of the other 'Convert To' settings then it works fine until the next time I reopen modeler and import with the default settings. Neat.

That's weird. Sorry I don't have PS on my machine now so I can't test it. But as of I think, 9.0 it was working perfectly every time. But I would rarely if ever use the default settings because "Closed Polygons and Polylines" never worked right. I would always just import closed polygons and then use auto axis drill for holes.

gerry_g
07-15-2008, 06:13 AM
1_ After magic wand selection make clean blank layer to receive path

2_ Make sure path is selected at point of export.

Nangleator
07-15-2008, 06:40 AM
gerry_g, that would make an excellent set of teeth for a mechanical maw or a drilling machine!

gerry_g
07-15-2008, 06:46 AM
Believe it or not it was one of a series of proposed slot pattern arrangements for the bowl of a slotted spoon as part of a cookware range I was developing for a client, not my fav pattern in the series but the first one to hand so there you go.

Paul_Boland
04-08-2009, 02:32 PM
You might want to try this plugin called Cookie Cutter http://pweb.netcom.com/~ghartens/cookie.html it may require some clean up after the conversion process. Hope this works for you.:thumbsup:

Sorry for resurrecting this old topic but I've just downloaded the Cookie Cutter plugin and was just wondering how do I use it in Lightwave? It's an L script extension, .lsc

adhesiveX
04-09-2009, 07:36 AM
Just install it as a Modeler plugin and load a two color bitmap image (black and white) into the interface of the plugin and watch it work its magic.

Paul_Boland
04-13-2009, 01:43 PM
Thanks. Unfortunately the plugin is not very stable and it causes Modeller to hang :(. A shame as this is a nifty little feature to have. Might try and keep an eye on Ebay for a cheap copy of Illustrator 8, don't want to pay too much for it just to get the exporter though.

blugenwitz
04-14-2009, 03:30 AM
didn't test in in 9.6 but it worked for sure. Are you using BW (not grayscale) images? I remember some troubles with this... and it's not real fast.