Achieving immortality with a snazzy 3D statue of oneself? That was once an extravagant and time-consuming endeavor, but today it can be realized quickly, easily and with highly professional results. All3DP gave producing a 3D statue of oneself a trial run.
Selfies with your cell? Get with it – that’s a thing of the past! These days in major cities throughout the world an ever larger number of businesses are offering 3D self-portraits – even in Munich’s Glockenbach neighborhood. Settled in among the hip bars, trendy cafes and chic restaurants of this quarter you’ll also find “YouLittle”, displaying in their shop window samples of the service they offer: lifelike 3D portraits.
There’s no denying it – having a mini-me of oneself made does reveal a bit of vanity … but that’s well in keeping with today’s widespread urge to exhibit oneself and the reason for his success is no secret to YouLittle’s owner, Oliver Frank. Oliver, a graphic designer, had already gathered considerable experience in 3D modeling while working as a 3D motion designer before getting the idea to open his business from a report he saw on television (Link > Interview). His customers are looking first and foremost for “that special gift” – portraits of married couples for their anniversary, miniatures of the kids for the grandparents or a reward for themselves upon entering retirement.
The first step is the telephone consultation: Oliver specifies the customer’s wishes concerning the 3D portrait and the extent to which they can be realized. It was during this first conversation that we found out that we have to leave our dark and glossy clothing at home – the cameras can’t capture that very easily and that makes the finishing process much more time-consuming. We also learned that just about anything can be modeled in 3D – children, pets, even famous soccer players have had statues of themselves made, and that not just miniatures, but also busts could be produced.
The scanning process itself only takes a few minutes. Oliver led us downstairs into his basement photo studio, where he has set up a kind of circular scaffolding on which he has installed 48 cameras. The scanning subject positions himself on a small platform in the center and strikes any pose he wants – in fact, he can even continue moving – the cameras can also “freeze” a moving subject into one shot. As soon as everyone’s ready there’s a loud click and all 48 cameras simultaneously take the picture. The customer’s “work” is over now and the results – the photographed pose – are examined. Any accessories one might want to add – eyeglasses, a laptop or a purse, for example, are photographed separately and later fitted onto the 3D model by hand.
At this point Oliver’s actual work begins: The individual photographs are compiled into a wire frame model, the form and color of which he then touches up by hand. Finally, the 3D model is printed out by the specialized 3D printers WDV on a 3D polymer gypsum printer.
The polymer gypsum prints are of the highest quality. The scanning cameras have some difficulty dealing with shiny, glossy and dark fabrics, but most of these defects can be “ironed out” during the final finishing process. We were particularly impressed by the striking details of the produced statues – particulars such as folds of clothing turned out convincingly lifelike. The matt, sandblasted optic of the miniatures can be varnished into a high gloss, if preferred. YouLittle’s prices are quite reasonable – in our opinion they give you good value for your money. We were also very satisfied with the competent advice we received. There’s just one small drawback: The printing process takes quite a bit of time. You might have to wait 2 weeks to finally get your statue, so if you’re planning to include that special gift in your holiday celebrations, you should make sure to place your order in time.
License: The text of "3D Figures from YouLittle" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.