Best software for converting a photo to grayscale height map for Relief engravings

I’m wanting to edit several photos by converting them to a greyscale height-map image in order to create a Relief engraving. I’m wondering if anyone has had experience with this. What software would you recommend? Also please post any tutorials you found helpful.

I think the term you need to search for is depth map. There are a few tutorials on the forum about it. Here’s one I wrote about making lithophanes, which is similar to what you are asking for:

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I was looking for this the other day, Thx for posting the link.

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edit several photos by converting them to a greyscale height-map image in order to create a Relief engraving.

It is a fairly tough thing to do in image software. The best way is to make the item in 3D and use a 3D program like Blender to do the job. There is a horribly expensive program called ArtCam that does an amazing job but has a weird approach as well.

Short of those two there is a trick when the design is 100% vertically symmetrical. If the image is shot on a hazy cloudy day there will not be hard shadows but the light will tend to come from just one side and the light will be darker as it goes back.

However if the photo is symmetrical it will be the same shape on each side If you have a copied layer in Gimp you can flip it and line it up and make the layer semitransparent and the result will be colors from light to dark depending on depth.

This is a very specialized trick but very useful where it can work.

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Without knowing what your photos look like I default to Photoshop. There are many ways to tweak images into grayscale.

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