Create 3D models of (2D) photos

2d to 3d

In this article, we want to show you some use cases and show you how you can easily turn 3D into 3D models. Whether a photo / the photos are sufficient to create a 3D model depends heavily on the existing image material. Sometimes a photo of the object is enough. In some cases, the project can be virtually impossible. This depends on various factors of the image material and the object to be printed

Use cases

1. Technical objects

Mostly it is functional parts of a favorite commodity (coffee maker, sewing machine, vintage or other household appliances) that have broken down. Here again, we have to distinguish between objects with a geometrically relatively simple shape and complex objects.


Simple geometries facilitate the work enormously, these objects can usually be reconstructed without great expenditure of time.
For this, you have various fee-based software solutions available (eg Inventor, Fusion 360 ). But there are also free programs for creating 3D models ( FreeCAD , TinkerCAD , etc.). TinkerCAD stands out, it is probably the easiest to learn a 3D program.

Example of fairly simple geometry. There are no free spaces available (ie everything can be represented in geometric primitives), the wall thicknesses are uniform, there are only a few points to measure.

Geometrically complex objects

High geometric complexity is characterized among other things by the presence of open spaces. Open spaces are areas that cannot be built up by geometric basic bodies (sphere, cylinder, cube, cone, etc.). To construct these objects requires a lot of effort. There are two technical methods that can do a great deal of work for you.

Example of rather complex geometry. The model has several open spaces. Furthermore, the model has numerous details, which must be individually measured and set correctly.

3D scan

3D scanning technology allows you to create a 3D model of your object.  However, the scan files almost always require post-processing by an experienced designer or engineer. Solidwork training center in Coimbatore will provide the additional details of 3D modeling and Ansys.

3D scan

If you do not have your own 3D scanner at your disposal or if you do not dare to do the post-processing, there are service providers who will do the work for you. However, you should note that this service can cost between EUR 150 – 500 (including 19% VAT). For very fancy / complex objects (many undercuts, areas that cannot be scanned) or if very small tolerances are required, the costs can sometimes advance into a four- or even five-digit range.



This method is used to create 3D images from photos.  It should be noted that these photos have uniform parameters, d. H. the distance to the object should be the same.

It also always requires sets of photos from different directions and angles. One way to implement this is to place the object on a turntable and to provide the camera with a tripod. Then slowly rotate the object, taking up to 50 pictures.


It is still important to vary the height of the camera and to repeat the process. A good way to improve the result may be to move the object (if possible) to another position and perform the procedure again.

So easy. Now the multitude of photos has to be merged into a 3D model. This you can z. B. with the free software Insight3D. The authors of the English Wikipedia have taken the trouble to create an extensive overview of free / paid programs. Often these 3D models have to be reworked, because small errors have “crept in” or surfaces have not been displayed correctly / meaningfully.

2. Sculptures / 3D models of people

Things look a bit different with sculptures or people. Frequently customers approach us with the request to create a 3D-figure based on a photo. Or to make a replica of an art object. Sometimes there is also the desire to create a 3D model from a simple drawing / child’s drawing.

Here we have to distinguish between 2 cases:

There is only a photo or a drawing as a basis.

This is the most difficult case, the results of which are also somewhat inaccurate. Because of a photo, the “dimensions” z. b. of a person is read inaccurately. Again, there is again the possibility that you try it yourself.

A simple and free software for it can be found at (for simple applications). Another possibility is to become a “digital sculptor” yourself and, with the help of programs such as ZBrush or Sculptris, to model the object/person virtually by hand ( very time-consuming ).

One difficulty in creating a 3D model based on a photograph is the realistic representation of individual details.

For the specific application that you want to create a 3D logo, there is the process of extrusion. At first, a vector file is created from the logo. For example, you can use the free image editing programs GIMP or Inkscape. Short tutorial videos, how it works, have been created by the authors of, found here: GIMP , Inkscape . These vector files (usually .svg / .svgz) must now be loaded into a suitable CAD program and can now be dragged into the third dimension.

There are several photos.

In this case, you have 3 options.

  • Option 1: With programs like FaceGen you can create from 2 – 3 photos of a face, a simple 3D model. These 3D models are still quite simple, but often sufficient for further use.
  • Option 2: Of course you can also model yourself with the aforementioned sculpting programs (ZBrush, Sculptris), this requires a lot of skill and a lot of practice.
  • Option 3: The above-described photogrammetry also offers you another opportunity to get to your 3D model.

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