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What is a Lithophane?

Lithophanes are trending recently with 3D printing for the sentimental value they create. It's a new way to store a favourite memory or photo portrait that doesn't use paper! Instead, a picture is transformed into a physical object that utilises light to show details.


But how do Lithophanes work?


It's quite simple really. The dark shadows of a photograph are printed thicker and lighter parts are thinner. This is done by depositing less material in places where it has a lighter shadow (skin, eyes, etc), and more material for darker shadows (hair, facial features, etc). Here is an example showing what the final result would look like:



Lithophane done by Z3D | Dubai
A cute baby Lithophane

As you can see here, sunlight is used to illuminate the lithophane. Darker features with more plastic deposit are darker, and the lighter features like skin and eyes or white color are brighter. But sunlight cannot be utilised at night! (obviously), so we use other sources.


Can Lithophanes be used as night lamps?


To put it simply, yes. The following image is a Lithophane of a very popular wallpaper backlit with blue LEDs. We offer the Lithophane along with an RGB LED with 16 static colors, 4 dynamic modes, and adjustable brightness to get the perfect mood alongside your favourite picture.


Lithophane printed by Z3D with Blue LED
Lithophane of a cave backlit with blue LEDs

Now that you got an idea of how a Lithophane works, you might be interested in converting a memory from a photograph to an actual 3D printed product! We are more than happy