Sometime ago, I was contacted by US Army Sergeant Wray Gabelmann. This was right before his deployment to Afghanistan with the 5th Infantry. The nature of his request was similar to many other requests I would usually get: he was asking if I could enhance an image of his family coat of arms, and turn it into one of my 3D-images, and create a necklace’s for him and the kids. What made this particular request to stand out was the fact that only available image Wray had in his possession was a black-and-white copy of document given to his father in 1974. The document contained a very schematic black-and-white image of the coat of arms, which you can see below, accompanied by a brief description of the coat-or-arms given in classic heraldic terms. All the colors were indicated by dotted and striped patterns, which were used in heraldry for B&W images. Below you will find copy of the document. You can see the obvious challenge here. First off, I had to extract the image, to be able to create a base image for the design. Secondly, I had to decipher the color scheme, based on the cryptic and somewhat vague description. And last but not least – I had to turn all of this mess into a beautiful 3-dimensional work of art, full of color and texture. As always, the challenging nature of this project made it more interesting. Also, my motivation was to finish the project on time before Wray’s deployment. And so I got to work.
First step was to extract the image out of the PDF, which wasn’t all that hard. After that, I have created my base vector image, changing a few elements of the original, which in my opinion, looked dull or out of place. As soon as the base vector was ready, it was brought into Photoshop where main work has begun. As with most of my creations, I was utilizing my very own unique method, which I dubbed “Multi-Layer Enhancement & Texturizing Technique 3D” (or “M-LETT 3D” for short). Mind you these are not true 3D images in its classic sense. They rather are 2-dimensional images, made look like 3D objects, made of various materials, such as metals, enamels, precious stones, woods and ivory, to name just a few. The result of this effort can be found below.