How to Make a Grayscale Depth Map

Written by brenda barron Google
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How to Make a Grayscale Depth Map
Make a grayscale depth map in just a few easy steps. (grayscale seamless parallel stripes pattern image by Accent from

When working with images in graphic design programs, you may wish to turn colour photos into grayscale images. This is a fairly straightforward procedure, but if you want to use those grayscale images for 3D meshing, you need to follow a standard set of procedures in Adobe Photoshop to achieve the results you want.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 2D image
  • Adobe Photoshop CS4 or higher

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  1. 1

    Open the 2D image you wish to make into a grayscale depth map in Adobe Photoshop CS4.

  2. 2

    Convert the image to grayscale, if it's not already. Click on the "Image" menu; this will drop down to a larger menu. Highlight "Mode" expanding the menu further. Lastly, click on "Grayscale."

  3. 3

    Make fine-tuning adjustments to your image. If you need to adjust the lightness and darkness of areas, use the "Brush" tool found in the "Tool Plate." Use the appropriate range of greys found in your "Swatches" window to make your adjustments. Paint in dark greys to darken and light greys to lighten.

  4. 4

    Save your file as a native Photoshop file named "Depth Map."

  5. 5

    Use your grayscale depth map to build 3D shapes and meshes. With your file still open, select "3D" under the menu bar, then select "New Mesh From Grayscale." In the new window, select a mesh option: plane creates a planar surface; two-sided plane makes two planes on a central axis; cylinder builds a map outward from a centre vertical axis point; and sphere builds an outward map from a single centre point.

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