Any photograph can be turned into a lifelike 3D pin.

Recently, a military customer wanted a 3-D design of a helicopter for one side of his new challenge coin. He didn’t have a drawing that he could send, but he had a photograph.

“No problem,” said Paul Stark, president of The Monterey Company, a leading custom-made lapel pin and coin manufacturer. “Send us your photo and we can turn it into a workable design, perfect for 3-D sculpting your lapel pin, coin or medallion.”

The photo the customer sent The Monterey Company showed a picture of a helicopter, blades twirling, as it prepared its ascent. There were foothills in the background and a dark shadow beneath it.

The line art that the Monterey Company artist created showed incredible detail. The helicopter’s blades were perfectly straight, the foothills and the shadows were gone, and only clean lines on the top, sides and underneath the helicopter remained. You could even see the lug nuts on the tires and the tiny points on the blades in the rear.

“It’s amazing that our artists were able to get all that fine detail from one photograph,” added The Monterey Company salesperson working on the project. “They had no other photograph to use as a reference. They just used a big magnifying glass and a lot of patience.”

That’s not the first photograph that has been turned into line art. Military customers send photographs of planes, helicopters, and other equipment all the time. Sometimes, it’s a one-of-a-kind piece.

In turn, the general public also brings pictures of their beloved homes, vintage cars or favorite uncle to memorialize on a coin, lapel pin or medallion. Over the past 19 years, The Monterey Company has created 3-D artwork of just about anything that can be photographed.

Needless to say, the military customer was thrilled with the line drawing of the helicopter. He couldn’t believe they made it look like something from an owner’s manual.

The next step was to transform the 2-dimensional line drawing into a 3-D image on a coin. The helicopter drawing went back to the drawing board, but this time, the artists took the drawing and turned it into a mini sculpture.

“It’s a step-by-step process,” Stark explained. “We cannot go from the shaded photo to the 3-D sculpture without seeing all the detail of the drawing first. The final product, with its detail-to-scale, is nothing short of amazing.”

Those customers who have gone through this process want nothing less for their coins, medallions and lapel pins each year. “No one can compete with The Monterey Company for the best in 3-D design,” added a longtime satisfied customer. “That’s why we go back to them year after year.”

For help with turning your photograph into a lifetime memento, call The Monterey Company toll free at 800-259-6496.