With the help of computer software and 3D printing, a company called 3DPhotoworks is hoping to open-up a whole new world of painting and photography to blind people.

Their process involves scanning 2D paintings and converting them into digital data. Using computer software, digital conversion specialists “manually” include information that can account for the sense of depth in the images. This information is then given to a 3D printer, which creates a 3D print of the painting, complete with contours and texture. This printing process allows up to 4.5 centimeters (1.75 inches) of relief depth.

So far, the technique has been used to produce three-dimensional versions of some of the fine-art world’s most lionized masterpieces, such as da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” Emanuel Leutze’s “Washington Crossing the Delaware” and Van Gogh’s “Dr. Gachet.” However, this is just the beginning – they also want to move into the realm of photography as well.

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