Lithophanes are an old artform that I am now experimenting with using entirely new methods. (Click here for a fuller history).
First mentioned circa 1825,this process involved carving a picture out of wax,then,using a lost-wax casting process,the picture was finally cast in porcelain.  Light then transmitted through the reverse “bass-relief”porcelain was seen as a picture.  Dramatic and popular for it’s time.

My brother,Ray,has a woodworking business and we have been collaborating for a short time on a new wrinkle on Lithophanes.  Using high-resolution photography coupled with sophisticated software to translate specially prepared bitmap images into the code for a CNC Router,we can carve the following Lithophanes.  It is very difficult to see the “wow-factor”of the Lithophanes from a web page’s photograph or animation,but these are actual photographs taken of a Lithopane carvings. In person they are quite impressive,tactile and everyone goes,“Wow”. We can have things carved at nearly any size up to 6ft. x 8ft.  Add LED backlighting panels and you have the makings of a new media which hearkens back to an obscure past.

We use digital photographs and  computer numerical controlled (CNC) machine routers that “carve”relief into Coiran-like materials and PVC.  Adapting the photographic process as well as the software for the routers,we have been able to achieve dramatic results.  The results are photographic and a result of the various depths of the material blocking or allowing light to transmit through the Corian.

-Three states of an 8×10 Lithophane-

This is a Lithophane as it appears in room light

This is a Lithophane as it appears with a specular sidelight

Lithophane with backlighting

This is a Lithophane as it appears with back lighting

Our New You Tube video on Lithophane Panoramic Cylinders

An “Object-VR”showing the transition of a Lithophane from front-lighting to back-lighting.

Lithophane interactive example. Click on image to open a VR-Object page. Place your cursor on the VR-Object and click and drag to animate the image.