Create 3D Models Online for 3D Printing from Drawings, Logos and Photos
Esme Gaisford posted on November 19, 2015 |
Selva3D in beta with cloud service to make 3D print models.

There’s a new online 3D modeling program that allows users to upload 2D photographs, drawings and logos easily and makes a 3D model that can be sent to a 3D printer.

Above: Image of a pear—clean background with a simple shape. Below: Gradient 3D rendering with a medium threshold. (Image courtesy of the author.)

Above: Image of a pear—clean background with a simple shape. Below: Gradient 3D rendering with a medium threshold. (Image courtesy of the author.)

Sur3D’s Selva3D app initially judges the dimensions and outline of the desired object instead of requiring the user to define levels. Unsurprisingly, the cleanest results are made with a simple photograph with flat background, unless you start with a clear logo.

My initial creation using Selva3D was a 3D rendering of an image from an STL file. The image was made with a sliding scale threshold effect. Selva3D’s interface is intuitive and accessible: there are only two tools to alter the image and two base settings, threshold and height or logo and photo respectively. The tools and settings are instinctive, even for a novice. If users are confused about the tools provided, Selva3D provides a simple, one-line description of each tool as well as a more in-depth interactive chat feature. 

The program has a drop-down menu with a selection of objects to add the image to a set emblem. The preset options cover a fair range of common design objects: a keychain, a trophy, multiple smartphone cases, a ring, a tablet/phone stand and a picture frame. Some of the suggested objects are fun (the ring is large and is designed to mirror the superhero Green Lantern's ring), and some are clunky (the trophy and picture frame are limited and do not allow the user any imagination or flexibility when it comes to size or placement). The greatest downfall of the object-image program is that an image cannot be edited or moved once placed on a model. However, the initial tool is so fast and easy to use that even 3D printing beginners will not find it cumbersome. 

Modeling example: Pear-lantern ring, for all your intergalactic magic pear needs. (Image courtesy of the author.)

Modeling example: Pear-lantern ring, for all your intergalactic magic pear needs. (Image courtesy of the author.)

This online toolbox is free—sort of. Sur3D has borrowed from the model of online and iPhone gaming to create Selva3D. The initial program is free to use and produces a simple raised "photograph" image or a logo/text image that can be downloaded for free as a standard quality STL file. However, to download either a high quality STL file or the object/logo embossed files (such as my pear-lantern ring shown above), you will need credits. New users receive five free credits with sign-up.

The credits are fairly reasonably priced compared to purchasing a larger program, especially when purchased in bulk. Single credits start at $2.50 (one 3D-rendered logo or picture), two for $4.00 (a single download of a logo keychain or other object). The price per credit drops to $0.25 when bundled together into a 200-credit package (200 transformations or 100 transformation/keychain files).

Selva3D beta is a clean, easy-to-use program with limited control of the final product. The potential applications may be limited due to the restrictive nature of the controls. However, for its intended applications, the new Selva3D beta program is more than up to the task.

For more information, visit the Selva3D beta program website.

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