I have been making and selling cnc patterns for several years now. I have also shared patterns that were either tests or for fun. I only ask that the patterns themselves are not sold but you are welcome to make and sell any physical items carved from them.
Most cnc software can convert grey scale depth map images to STL or other 3d format files. If not, there are several online sites that can do the same.
Hi. I use several different programs though primarily Blender 3d for modeling along with Zbrush for digital sculpting. I then either export as an STL format or render as a depth map image using Blender.
This is the model for my latest shared depth map image on Pinterest.
That’s an impressive bit of artistic skill you’re presenting. The “sculpting” of the original material is fabulous. I’d read that one can use Blender to create these depth maps but the task is beyond my ken.
One aspect of these grey scale images is that they can be converted into random dot autostereograms. Of course, that bit of art sorta vanished in the 80s.
Its actually really easy to make depth maps in blender (when someone has already done all the hard work). lol. Its beyond my ken as well.
Two Cents aka DevilsDJ on blenderartist website generously shared his node set up to create depth maps based on Zdepth and ambient occlusion. Open the file, append the geometry, hit render, the compositor automatically generates the depth map. I would say this was intermediate level Blender 3d usage if you were making it from scratch but since its already done it falls to beginner level.
The blender 3d file can be found on this thread. I don’t remember if you have to sign up or not.
For general 2d images, I am unaware of any software that does it well. You can do it but you usually get pretty bad results though sometimes you do get lucky. If you search for “image to STL” you will see what I mean when you see the results from some of the services.
I use 3d models with their z-depth information to convert to the grey scale height information to render as the bas relief pattern.
When I am asked to do 2d images I usually have to model a 3d object from the image and then convert to a height map. Here is an example of a model I had to make from the 2d image.