Hello again! Today, I'm proud to announce two new developments in the way Shapeways enables your creativity: the remodeling of our creator page and a brand new creator to go with it!
First, our new creator page…Shapeways is constantly looking for new ways to help people who do not know how to 3D Model to design and create new things. We do this via our Creators and Co-Creation Platform. Over time, we have accumulated a lot of different creators and variations, and our Creator page has gotten a bit crowded. This week, we've cleaned it up a bit. Hopefully this will make it easier to use and understand.
Speaking of ways of helping you create, we are also happy to introduce our Image Popper! The concept is simple, upload a black and white JPG, or draw your own right on screen (currently the draw your own feature only works in Google Chrome). Then tell us how big you want it, how much you want to raise it, etc. and watch your design upload directly to your shop.
What I think Artur proposes is probably something like the way "bump mapping" works in games. Bump maps allow me to give a point on the model the appearance of being raised or lowered from its actual position, without actually modifying the geometry. The bump map is a texture which I create in grayscale, then run through the nVidia converter filter, which makes a multicolored texture.
Here's the point: In the grayscale texture, the relative color is the main importance. When I want to make a "dent" (meaning the model appears to move inward at that point), I transition from a light color to a dark color. When I want to make a "bump" (meaning the model appears to move outward from that point), I transition from a dark color to a light color. Blurring makes the transition more gradual. See this article for more information on how this works and how it is done for games.
Is there something peculiar about this? I just uploaded a viola mute that is seriously less than 2.5 inches wide, and wanted to print it in steel ... and was informed that it was $636! Did something go wrong, or is this Image Popper thing a rich person's toy?