I want to achieve the following:

Conversion example

At the moment I can do it, by using Shapeway's 2D to 3D image converter, download the result as X3DB, then use NetFabb Basic to convert it to STL, which I can then import to Blender. This process although works, I would like to do the whole process using Blender in order to not rely on web tools and to have more control on the result.

I've been trying to mix landscape topography with extruded curves the following ways:

Option A.

  1. Create an SVG outline of the image
  2. Import the SVG, and convert it to a mesh
  3. Use the displacement modifier to modify the mesh using the original grayscale image

Option B.

  1. Create an SVG outline of the image
  2. Import the SVG, and convert it to a mesh
  3. Create a plane, use subdivide to add more vertices
  4. Do a boolean cut to change the shape of the plane to the outline of the image
  5. Add a displacement modifier to modify the resulting mesh

In neither case did I get anything useful, the usual results are:

  1. A mesh with tons of huge spikes (which of course doesn't resemble what I want)
  2. A mesh with only a few spikes (which still doens't look anything like what I want)
  3. The mesh dissappears completely
  4. Blender crashes

Any ideas?


  1. I already have the SVG version of the outline. I can also generate an SVG version of the grayscale image as well, but I don't think that's necessary. I'm using Illustrator btw.
  2. I don't need an automated way (yet, hopefully I can script it once I know how to do it manually), my problem is that I can't even get the mesh created manually in any way.
  3. As this is for 3D printing both the outline and the topology are important (the depths of the ridges are not always equal everywhere. Also a generic solution would help me in generating other types of pendants and would also allow me to add smaller details).

    Here is the end result I would like to accomplish from another angle for reference (this is based on the mesh generated by the shapeways' tool, and it also contains a mirroring):

    Example 2

  • $\begingroup$ Does this help? blender.stackexchange.com/questions/1609/… $\endgroup$ Jun 5, 2016 at 17:07
  • $\begingroup$ @RayMairlot I already have the SVG outline of the image $\endgroup$
    – SztupY
    Jun 5, 2016 at 17:08
  • $\begingroup$ The grayscale image makes a good stencil texture for using it in dynamic sculpting, you can vary the amount of details while painting over the image, increasing details in parts and reducing them in another. Although you are probably looking for an automated way, Is topology important?. $\endgroup$
    – user2816
    Jun 5, 2016 at 17:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Unless you want a single mesh merged version the SVG traced version is all you need. Don't convert it to mesh. Just use the built in curve tools to extrude and bevel the logo. Add a copy of the curve bellow it and remove everything but the outline spline to make the solid "background fill" $\endgroup$ Jun 5, 2016 at 17:36
  • $\begingroup$ @root This is for 3D printing, so topology is actually more important than the outline, but of course both of them are necessary. I can do one or the another, but I need both. See the example image above, it contains both the topology and the outline. Also, I don't need an automated way (although it would be good), at the moment I can't even get it working manually in any way I try. $\endgroup$
    – SztupY
    Jun 5, 2016 at 18:15

1 Answer 1


I used your image as height map and got this result: My result Work in progress: WIP result

  • Take a plane and scale it up, subdivide it ~1000 times.
  • Add a displacement modifier with the image as texture.
  • To smooth out the result, add a subdivision surface modifier before and after the displacement modifier.
  • Apply the modifiers.
  • Go into edit mode (be careful with your modifiers, the first time Blender crashed at this step due to too many polygons) and select all the mesh. Go to "smooth vertex" and smooth it a lot (5 times with factor 1 on the screenshot; should have been more)
  • Add a decimate modifier to remove unnecessary geometry. Remove vertices based on the angle with the "planar" mode. I had to first decimate it with "collapse" because planar decimation takes a lot more of time to calculate. Ratio 0.1 and 6° angle limit worked well.
  • Go into edit mode again, select all vertices on the bottom with height 0 and delete them.

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