Today I wrote a simple script that converts an image to a mesh composed of cubes whose heights denote the intensity of the pixel at that location, like this example:
Several years ago a similar program was written called Cubify. It was pretty slow when it came to images over the size about about 64x64, so I wanted to make a version that would be faster. My version took 1.04 seconds on an 128x128 image. I didn't allow Cubify to finish, but based on time estimates it would have taken 27 minutes which is almost 1,600 times longer. I am going to make finishing touches and will release a version within the next couple days.