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Digital Bas-Relief from 3D Scenes
ACM Transactions on Graphics (Proc. SIGGRAPH), August 2007

Tim Weyrich, Jia Deng, Connelly Barnes,
Szymon Rusinkiewicz, Adam Finkelstein

Creating a bas relief sculpture. (a) Starting with a 3D model as well as a few parameters that adjust aesthetic qualities, (b) our system creates a height field visually matching the input from a particular vantage point — shown above — but that incorporates a dramatically reduced range of heights — below. (c) The height-field is cut on a computer-controlled milling machine to produce (d) a physical bas relief sculpture carved in limestone, roughly 15" tall.


We present a system for semi-automatic creation of bas-relief sculpture. As an artistic medium, relief spans the continuum between 2D drawing or painting and full 3D sculpture. Bas-relief (or low relief) presents the unique challenge of squeezing shapes into a nearly-flat surface while maintaining as much as possible the perception of the full 3D scene. Our solution to this problem adapts methods from the tone-mapping literature, which addresses the similar problem of squeezing a high dynamic range image into the (low) dynamic range available on typical display devices. However, the bas-relief medium imposes its own unique set of requirements, such as maintaining small, fixed-size depth discontinuities. Given a 3D model, camera, and a few parameters describing the relative attenuation of different frequencies in the shape, our system creates a relief that gives the illusion of the 3D shape from a given vantage point while conforming to a greatly compressed height.

Citation (BibTeX)

Tim Weyrich, Jia Deng, Connelly Barnes, Szymon Rusinkiewicz, and Adam Finkelstein. Digital Bas-Relief from 3D Scenes. ACM Transactions on Graphics (Proc. SIGGRAPH) 26(3), August 2007.

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