You may have noticed the Lithovation has been one of our charter site sponsors. Lithophanes have been around for hundreds of years, and Lithovation is bringing this classic art form to modern digital images. Lithophanes are basically relief maps carved into durable Corian, and the depth of each location in the map determines how much light can get through. (The original ones were often hand cut into soft ceramics or plaster.) The result is an incredibly detailed, three dimensional image that is translucent and lit from behind. The final effect is very cool, especially for any heirloom image you want to display prominently.

I've been working with Lithovation for a while on their product development to help perfect the tone matching between an original image and the finished lithophane. The software I have developed with them converts an image to grey scale, then applies a curve to get the best tonal balance based on the characteristics of the Corian material they use. Lithovation uses a very high-end computer-controlled mill designed to achieve military-grade tolerances to cut the lithophane. The Manager's Office lithophane took about 8 hours to produce. I've included the original image and a picture of the finished lithophane. It's pretty hard to capture how cool the lithophanes look as they include a sweet back-lit frame. It looks fine in ambient light, but better as it gets darker.

My friends at Lithovation are interested in having photographers make their images available as lithophanes to the general public. I have volunteered to pioneer this effort. If you go to the "Commercial Vendor Sales and Services" forum, there is a post describing how to buy my lithophane:

I have had a great time working with Lithovation on getting their business off the ground. Lithophanes are beautiful and durable, and can turn any image into an heirloom. I am continuing to experiment and will share the results with you as they come.

I have made my "Manager's Office" image available to them to use for public distribution and sale, and each one will include an artist's statement of authenticity signed by me.

Here is my original "Manager's Office" image:

Here is the finished and framed lithophane:

For more details click on the link above or visit Lithovation at: