Lithophane with PIXEstL

Hello everyone,
I would like to present a program I have developed for creating lithophanes and pixel art images.
This software has the unique feature of being based on a customizable palette of colored filaments.
The number of colors you can use is not limited to 4 (CMYW).
For instance, you can use lighter colors as replacements or additions, such as Sakura Pink or a pale yellow, to achieve lighter shades. You can also add black to obtain deeper blacks in your lithophanies, or even beige to create lithophanies of faces.

The default palette was created using BambuLab filaments (except for the light yellow as BL doesn’t produce it). However, the system is not limited to these colors. You can calibrate and add filaments from your favorite manufacturer. The procedure is explained.

For more details, please visit: GitHub - gaugo87/PIXEstL: A program for creating color lithophanies and pixel images

Here are some examples:

Thank you for your feedback.


Looks cool! I’ve done a few lithophanes recently with the website and filament bundle and they look interesting, but I’ve been thinking a stained glass effect might be more interesting to me: start with clear filament instead of white and translucent colors with buildup for shading and possible translucent/smoke black for deep coloring. PETG might be the right material for this.

The hardest part I’m struggling with is trying to define what I’d consider to be “geek stained glass” - I’m not interested in Star Wars figures or comic or fantasy characters, that’s not my favor of geeky and not sure how to visualize what is.

Ok, have to admit this looks interesting … I guess I need to install Java and give it a whirl … I’ve removed all remnants of Java from my devices but ill go grab the openjava version :slight_smile:

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Java is a 4 letter word…

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Your stained glass idea is interesting. Moreover, my palette and calibration system allows adding any (type of) filament.
However, I’m not sure how using transparent filaments would turn out. In my opinion, the most challenging part will be maintaining their transparency after printing.
Additionally, I’m uncertain whether colored pixels would look good, as they would be much more visible, especially if the texture layer is also transparent.

On the other hand, using transparent/fluorescent filaments for a part of the lithophane could be intriguing.
For example, using them to create a Kamehameha or the center of a Stargate door.

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Yes, there is no reason why it wouldn’t work with an OpenJDK

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I tried this first attempt at what I’m talking about today using the translucent PETG that I had around plus solid black for the “leading”. I took a wild guess and made the colors 1mm thick and used 0.2mm layers and a 0.4mm nozzle. I’m pretty encouraged by the results. Taulman has/had a translucent black PET plastic, I’ll see if I can find another one. Some experimentation would be necessary to see if shading by varying the number of layers of the actual color are enough or layers of translucent black would be ideal. My thought isn’t so much to mix colors but to shade the filaments available. I think I’d add some clear layers behind the colors just to strengthen things a little.

Larger nozzles can help with a glass effect though that trades off with layer thickness.

So many things to play with.

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I think 1mm is a lot. According to my tests on non-translucent filaments, transparency is lost from 0.4/0.5mm. Otherwise I don’t know if you have seen this video : Transparent FDM 3D Prints are Clearly Stronger! - YouTube. It explains how to achieve transparency by FDM.

I just added support for transparency in images. Here is an example result:


Here’s some more testing I did with translucent PETG and also show the same piece in sunlight this time. I varied the thickness in 0.2mm steps from 0.6mm to 3.4mm and printed with 100% infill. The white/clear filament almost makes no difference the entire range, the lighter orange and green are just getting started at full depth, but the deeper blue (my favorite color) has a much narrower range. Note that the stripe across the other piece is just the shadow of the window. The colors of the piece on the right all have a 1mm depth. I think to increase the overall strength of the piece I might add some layers of white/clear behind which wouldn’t change things much.

I’ll have to get some first, but something I’d like to test is using varying layers of translucent black to enhance the shading or add drawing lines.

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I was aware of the work people had done to print PETG more clearly but hadn’t started to try that for this - more options to play with.

Im having a hard time getting this compiled … looks amazing though :wink:

Hi john,

What is the problem you are facing?

Sent you a PM with the output from the compile … symbol errors so wondering if either there is a dependency I’m missing (MacOS) or there is something else funky

Sorry John,
The problem was from my side.

Can you pull and try again?

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Thanks – and works 100%

Also - if you want for your pallet.json file … I have a spreadsheet I have been putting together with about 100-200 filaments and their Hex Colors already most from the vendors themselves, some based on digital color meter on the Mac… if you want it holler…

I’ve also created sample cards for them all at Printables

Of course I want it.
Afterwards, only the filaments having had a calibration by layers can be used for the lithophane. The others are for pixel art mode. But it would be a good basis to have the majority of the major filaments in the palette.

I also tried to find a method to deduce the chromatic properties according to the thickness of the layers. If I succeed one day, it will directly allow me to have a huge palette for lithophane.


Hello everyone, I’ve improved the color distance calculation (now done using the CIELab method instead of through the RGB properties of pixels). Here are my latest results.

Even though it’s always better to compile it oneself, I’ve also added a release section to download binaries that works directly. I’ve also enhanced the documentation.


Hello all,

Just a quick update to demonstrate the program’s capabilities in replicating glass. The optical illusion works perfectly in lithophany.