Bigger makes Better: Adding a Magnifying Glass to your Graphic Designs with Photoshop

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OT Medallion

I dont think that the concepts of lighting and depth mapping are compatible in the way you are approaching it.

if we could post a pic someplace i could do a depthfield render of a poser-person face versus a regular lighting situation. as you are aware you cannot light a face so that the highest point is bright (forehead, tip of nose etc)and lowest point (open mouth for eg) is dark. youo could download the free version of bryce software ( and use the terrain tool(which uses light and dark height maps) to paint a rendition of the subjects face. it would take a lot of adjusting and painting to get there but you would end up with a greyscale result for the etcher.

BTW - a 3d scanner would be the ideal solution but i think that is just a dream for us mere mortals at the moment.

Many thanks biddles

I'll look into the software you suggest but I guess we photographers just aren’t supposed to be high tech sculptors, after all.
Bob (in the UK)

OFF TOPIC... Sorry but can you help me Deke?

Hi Deke,
Here’s a problem for you.... I have a friend with an engraving machine that can carve out depth maps and I understand the principles well enough (dark is low and white is high). The end product, although three dimensional, is quite shallow, rather like a medal or coin. He wants me to produce a portrait of a mutual friend in this format. I can light the face from both above and/or below, in a way that accentuated the contours easily enough but that is not the answer. I have considered progressively offsetting and then subtractively blending a stereo pair, to create a set of say-16 contours, then merging them to make a 16-tone posterized image but alas the subjects own brightness’s get in the way. The eyes for example should be almost flat and on the same carved plane, despite the whites and pupils being at opposite ends of the tonal range. Is there any way of doing/faking this adequately, in Photoshop, to help him produse his carved medalion?
Bob (in the UK)