That's the bed of sand you see intruding on the right. The sand makes all the difference when thermo-printing off a 3D object.
Conclusion: my 'sandpit theory' for how the Turin Shroud was produced has been confirmed to work - at least in principle. Details can come later (as will a fuller series of photographs taken during the above experiment).
For the moment, I'd simply say that one can obtain much fainter, more superficial images, comparable to the one on the Shroud of Turin, by heating to a lower temperature, and applying less pressure when impressing the 3D object into the linen/sand.
Equipment required: A 3D object made of metal (I used a trinket bought off a street-trader in Ghana), a source of heat (e.g. an electric ring on a cooker), a shallow tray filled with moist sand, a square of linen (I used a portion off a decorator's floor sheet), and a pair of pliars with which to grip the hot object.
Discussion: I suppose one could call the image a 'thermal footprint' (or maybe that should be 'faceprint' in this instance).
Will it be shown to have 'encoded 3D information' if scanned, digitized and displayed on a VP-8 image analyser? Probably yes, is my guess, depending on what one means by "encoded" and "3D"
I personally see no reason why the 'thermal footprint' above cannot be rendered in 3D, in the same way that a photograph of a boot print with a ribbed sole in mud could be made to resemble a forensic scientist's 3D plaster cast of the same after computerized image manipulation. There's nowt mysterious about converting 2D images to 3D representations, just as long as one realizes one is dealing all the time with artefacts, at least if the initial object (boot, metal trinket, bronze statue even of the crucified Christ) is an artefact.