There are several ways to create 3D models from BMP images. This Best Practice
explains how to do this by converting a BMP file to an STL file.

This method is useful in a wide range of applications. It opens possibilities for creating
and simulating coins, medals, printing plates, stamps, height maps, bump mapping,
textures, dactylography (fingerprinting), and customized giveaways, all before the
stamping process.

The basic principle is to take a regular 2D image (in BMP format) and translate the
image’s gray shades into a 3D height map (Figures 1 and 2). The two-dimensional
array (i.e. color) of each element is interpreted as a height value in order to store
information on the height of each point. For example; the white points are flat, the gray points are higher and the black points are the highest.

For more information on this best practice, download the complete document here

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