Tone Depth

Posted on May 27, 2014


This is a technique developed here at MIA that enables the embedding (carving) of an image into the surface of a variety of materials.

Using a CNC router grooves of varying depth are cut into a surface, such that the shadows created inside the grooves compose the image.  This technique allows the creation of custom, unique, cost-effective, machine-made works of art ideal for the Interior Design, Architecture, and Hospitality Industry.

These pieces consist of a series of parallel grooves that change depth as they move from side to side. As the depth of the groove changes, so does the shadow which is created inside the groove.  This variation in shadow is what creates the tones in the image.  There is no pigment used in any of these pieces. These works are color independent and can be made from a multitude of materials including plastics and concrete. These works can be painted and finished as desired. The image is embedded into the material and will always be visible as long as there is light/shadow.



This technique is also scalable allowing works of unlimited size and scale.  The overall piece can be tiled to create and overall image of any size.   The peices below are all created from the same source image and range in size and material



There are a wide variety of parameters that can be adjusted to create the ideal resolution and level of detail, which in turn determine the time/cost of production.  Parameters such as bit diameter, groove spacing and overall depth can be adjusted to create the desired outcome in terms of size and resolution..  The images below are all made of the same exact source file, yet each was made with a different bit size, groove depth and line spacing, producing a practically unlimited number of unique renditions.




There is a wide range of options in terms of natural and synthetic materials that can be used depending on the size, resolution and location (indoor/outdoor), including but not limited to natural wood, plywood, MDF, Plastics, Plexiglass and high density  foam.

The process for producing these pieces in concrete has also been developed as a means of utilizing this technique for architectural and special features such as retaining walls, freeway embankments and other large concrete structures.


Please feel free to contact us with any questions.
Let us work with you to develop your ideas.
We receive commissions of all quantities and sizes.
  The only limit is the imagination.


A few examples of past Tone Depth works:

24″ X 48″ (1/4″ and 1/8″ resolution)

16′ X 4′ (1/2″ resolution)

80″ X 22″ (1/4″ resolution)

12″ X 4″ (0.1″ resolution)

Series SixiS (commissioned by Straight Design)
36 individual Portraits each 25″ X 25″ (12 sets of 3)

24″ X 48″ (0.1″ res. MDF)



What Others Are Saying

  1. textile testing instruments February 21, 2017 at 5:59 am

    be cool!

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