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I basically have a 3D model of a man. I want to cut this out on a CNC machine, but the undercuts are proving to cause problems during the toolpathing and confusing the computer.

I want to use Blender to create a height map of the 3D model that I currently have, while looking at it from the front. I want to then use that height map to create a new 3D form which will be the man, but he will no longer have undercuts since the new model was created from the height map.

I have tried this already and it is possible, but the height map and models that I am getting are very low quality. The final model needs to be a MUCH higher resolution/detailed model for our purposes, I want it to look as detailed as the original.

Is there a way to make this work? I am NEW to blender, I have only used it for two days to try and figure this out, so any sort of detailed explanations if this is possible would be appreciated.

This is what my original 3D model looks like This is what my original 3D model looks like

Here are the material nodes used to created the properly shaded material to create the height map. Here are the material nodes used to created the properly shaded material to create the height map.

This is the height map image that was created from the original model. This is the height map image that was created from the original model.

This shows the new model that was created from the height map. This shows the new model that was created from the height map.

Close up version of the new model. You can see how low resolution it is, the face lost all of its original detail. The body is also very stepped.. not a smooth transition between parts like on the original model.

 Close up version of the new model.  You can see how low resolution it is, the face lost all of its original detail.  The body is also very stepped.. not a smooth transition between parts like on the original model.

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  • $\begingroup$ Using @BluTackMan's method, floating-point map, and high subdiv. you can get quite high resolution, depending on what other parts of the pipeline will stand ,, see here $\endgroup$ Mar 30 '20 at 18:25
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If you use the 'Mist' feature:

then enable it in the camera settings:

then adjust the start and end point that it gives you to the start and end of the model, in the world settings:

And finally, in the compositing editor, connect the mist pass to the render pass, to give you a high definition 'depth' pass:

Hope this helped!

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    $\begingroup$ @bluetackman Thanks, this was the most consice way of doing the height map from everything I have found so far. That answers the first half of my problem. Do you have a way of using that height map to create a high resolution 3D model? $\endgroup$
    – Sarah
    Mar 30 '20 at 16:59
  • $\begingroup$ How did you make the 3D model shown in your last two pictures? $\endgroup$
    – BluTackMan
    Mar 30 '20 at 17:02
  • $\begingroup$ @bluetackman I actually just followed this tutorial to create a model from a depth map and it worked perfectly! Thanks again for your help. youtube.com/watch?v=BXDSfrzR0zI $\endgroup$
    – Sarah
    Mar 30 '20 at 18:11

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