How does one convert a Graphics3D object into an Image3D object? E.g., start with Plot3D[x^2 - y^2, {x, -1, 1}, {y, -1, 1}].

  • $\begingroup$ Are you interested only in conversion, or creation too? $\endgroup$ – Kuba Sep 30 '13 at 21:18
  • $\begingroup$ @Kuba: primarily conversion. (The ref/Image3D page shows how to generate some Image3D objects from some 4D arrays of reals, and of course using Import with a data object that is already "Image3D") $\endgroup$ – murray Sep 30 '13 at 21:24
  • $\begingroup$ @Kuba, my question is how to obtain an Image3D object if you already have a Graphics3D object -- not how you obtain an Image3D object by starting with a function of 3 variables and picking points as in your example with UnitStep. $\endgroup$ – murray Sep 30 '13 at 21:28
  • $\begingroup$ Ok, just wasn't sure. :) $\endgroup$ – Kuba Sep 30 '13 at 21:29

If you already have a Graphics3D object, then you can recreate an Image3D object by stacking slices of your graphics along an axis. Here's an example. We start with your object:

obj = Plot3D[x^2 - y^2, {x, -1, 1}, {y, -1, 1}]

Using the following rudimentary "slice" function, we can generate slices of the function at a given value of $x$:

slice[obj_, x_, dx_] := Show[obj, ViewPoint -> {∞, 0, 0}, 
    PlotRange -> {{x, x + dx}, All, All}, Axes -> False, Boxed -> False]

slice[obj, 0, 0.01]

Now generate such slices for all $x$, rasterize and grab the ImageData and stack the frames:

frames = Table[ImageData@Thinning@ColorNegate@ColorConvert[#, "Grayscale"] &@
    Rasterize@slice[obj, x, 0.05], {x, -1, 1, 0.01}];


As you can see, the reconstruction is not perfect, and this arises from having to artificially sample the Graphics3D object by manipulating the plot ranges. Depending on how quickly the function changes within the chosen dx, the reconstruction could get worse/better. Note that you also need to choose the sampling such that the aspect ratio is maintained (I have only eyeballed it).

A much better reconstruction can be obtained either by generating frames using Plot (you probably can't avoid the Moiré patterns):

frames2 = 
  Table[ImageData@Thinning@ColorNegate@ColorConvert[#, "Grayscale"] &@
     Plot[x^2 - y^2, {x, -1, 1}, PlotRange -> {-1.5, 1.5}, 
      Axes -> False, Frame -> False], {y, -1, 1, 0.01}];


or by directly obtaining the samples as Kuba showed.

  • $\begingroup$ that's a start. I'll hold off accepting this in the hope of finding a solution that provides a much more faithful rendering of the Grahics3D object. $\endgroup$ – murray Oct 1 '13 at 13:09
  • $\begingroup$ @murray Certainly. Could you perhaps explain why you want to convert to an Image3D? I'm not seeing any advantages to it over Graphics3D, but maybe I'm just being thick... $\endgroup$ – rm -rf Oct 1 '13 at 13:57
  • $\begingroup$ @R.M. Because we can use Manipulate to inspect a 3D object slice by slice? $\endgroup$ – matheorem Jan 20 '16 at 8:50
  • $\begingroup$ @matheorem, and ClipPlanes is insufficient for your needs? Honestly, going from vector to raster is quite the step down here. $\endgroup$ – J. M. is away Jun 26 '16 at 20:41
  • $\begingroup$ In 11.3, Image3D[frames1] is just giving me a fuzzy gray blur of a parallelepiped, with no hint of the saddle surface. And Image3D[frames1] is not starting with the given Graphics3D object. $\endgroup$ – murray Aug 8 '18 at 14:20

You could create a region using DiscretizeGraphics and find points within a certain distance of the surface using RegionDistance

g = Normal @ Plot3D[x^2 - y^2, {x, -1, 1}, {y, -1, 1}];

f = RegionDistance @ DiscretizeGraphics @ g;

data = Array[f[{##}] &, {60, 60, 60}, {-1.1, 1.1}];

Image3D[Clip[data, {0.05, 0.05}, {1, 0}]]

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ The expression DiscretizeGraphics@g generates error message for me: "DiscretizeGraphics: The function DiscretizeGraphics is not implemented for Directive[Specularity...." $\endgroup$ – murray Jun 27 '16 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ In version 11,we should drop that Normal and the surface have a thickness? $\endgroup$ – yode Nov 15 '16 at 10:10
  • $\begingroup$ In 11.3 (whether with or without the Normal, the resulting Image3D completely changes the oriientation of the saddle surface. $\endgroup$ – murray Aug 8 '18 at 14:24

As of version 11.2 there's RegionImage.

g = Plot3D[x^2 - y^2, {x, -1, 1}, {y, -1, 1}];


enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ This works - "sort of ": it is very slow, and the result, which does have head Image3D has an unwanted Moire-like pattern on the surface and an unwanted light-gray parallelepiped-shaped blob filling the box. $\endgroup$ – murray Aug 8 '18 at 14:26
  • $\begingroup$ @murray, "an unwanted light-gray parallelepiped-shaped blob filling the box" - at least for that part, you just need to change the ColorFunction setting: Image3D[RegionImage[DiscretizeGraphics[g]], ColorFunction -> "WhiteBlackOpacity"] $\endgroup$ – J. M. is away Mar 28 at 4:00
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @murray The Moire-like pattern comes from antialiasing. RegionImage returns a grayscale image where a voxel value indicates how much of the region intersects with it. In addition to ColorFunction, changing volume lighting can help hide this effect: Image3D[RegionImage[DiscretizeGraphics[g]], Method -> {"VolumeLighting" -> "EnhancedEdge", "InterpolateValues" -> True}]. $\endgroup$ – Chip Hurst Mar 28 at 15:59
  • $\begingroup$ And FWIW specifying a thicker surface with RegionImage[DiscretizeGraphics[g], Method -> {"Thickness" -> 3}] seems to speed things up. $\endgroup$ – Chip Hurst Mar 28 at 16:02

Here's something more fun than practical.

We can simulate an MRI / CT scanner by reconstructing from projected images.

g = AnatomyPlot3D[Entity["AnatomicalStructure", "LeftFemur"], PlotTheme -> "XRay"]

enter image description here

Note that it's important to have some sort of transparency in the objects being 'scanned'. This will better simulate an x-ray.

Normally a CT will only perform a half rotation, but here we will combine 2 CTs by taking a full rotation. This will give a higher quality result. Here are the simulated x-rays:

projectGraphic[g_, α_] := Show[g, ViewPoint -> {Cos[α], Sin[α], 0}, 
  ViewProjection -> "Orthographic", SphericalRegion -> True, ViewAngle -> 1.6]

fcnt = 64;
rsz = 180;

projections = Monitor[
    Rasterize[projectGraphic[g, α], RasterSize -> rsz, ColorSpace -> "Grayscale"], 
    {α, 0, 2π - π/fcnt, π/fcnt}
  ProgressIndicator[α, {0, 2π}]


enter image description here

Now we can create the slices:

radons1 = Image3DSlices[ImageRotate[Image3D[projections[[1 ;; fcnt]]], {π/2, {0, -1, 0}}], All, 2];
slices1 = InverseRadon /@ radons1;

radons2 = Image3DSlices[ImageRotate[Image3D[projections[[fcnt+1 ;; -1]]], {π/2, {0, -1, 0}}], All, 2];
slices2 = InverseRadon /@ radons2;

Reconstruct the orignal object by combining both CT scans:

recon = ImageAdjust @ ImageMultiply[
  ImageRotate[Image3D[slices2], π]

Image3D[RidgeFilter[recon], BoxRatios -> {1, 1, 1.7}] // ImageAdjust


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