The Immortal Replica: Making Selfie 3D Printing Fashionable

The selfie trend has taken the world by storm and without discrimination. From celebrities to the normal folk on the street, everybody knows what a selfie is and everybody wants one!

With the onset of the 3D or additive manufacturing revolution, even the selfie mania has reached new heights. 3D selfies or 3D busts of the person of whom the selfie is being taken is gradually capturing the imagination of consumers.

The 3D miniature market in India is still in its infancy. However, there are a few companies this unique experience of miniature 3D printing to their customers.

What is Selfie 3D Printing?

At the most basic level, a 3D selfie is a 3D-printed scale replica of a person or their face. They have other names too, such as 3D portraits, 3D figurines, 3D-printed figurines, mini-me figurines, and miniature statues.

To produce a 3D print replica of a person, he or she must first be captured in 3D by a 3D scanner. The end product is a small 3D printed figurine, either standing or a simple bust, of the person or persons (up to 4) captured.

So, how does this unique idea become a reality?

How to 3D Print a Selfie?

The first step is to select an appropriate digital camera to capture 2D pictures of the subject, under normal lighting or projected light patterns, or sometimes a combination of both. For the sake of saving on costs, some 3D printing services in India opt for the use of a single camera. This is moved around the subject in a 360° arc, at various heights and over minutes, while the subject is required to stay immobile.

There are also more elaborate systems with a vertical bar of cameras rotating around the subject and completing a full scan in 10 seconds. The most expensive systems have an enclosed 3D photo booth with 50 to 100 cameras embedded in walls and the ceiling, shooting all at once. This method helps to eliminate differences in image capture as a result of any movements by the subject. Following this, a 3D model is reconstructed using relevant software.

For more accurate capture of geometric dimension and texture, dedicated 3D scanning equipment is employed. However, this takes longer than the usual methods. There are different types of scanners, ranging from handheld, tripod mounted or fitted to another system, depending on the requirements of the customer or business.

Additive manufacturing technologies have enabled the evolution and production of 3D selfies. This involves 3D printing in full color using gypsum-based binder jetting techniques, rendering the figurine with a sandstone-like texture and look.

There are two basic options to employ 3D printing technologies in the production of replicas of object or people or their miniature versions.

  1. Purchasing all the equipment

The first requirement for 3D printing a selfie is to procure a 3D body scanner (you can opt for either a 3D scanning booth or a handheld 3D scanner), a professional full-color 3D printer, and related 3D software to operate the equipment. However, there are certain pros and cons of using the equipment.

Pros

  • You have full control over the process with the provision of in-house 3D printing.
  • Having in-house equipment negates monthly costs per figurine.

Cons

  • There are significant capital investments involved.
  • You will have to hire technical expertise to design and build your own equipment.
  • Given the nascent state of the industry, there is hardly any support available on any issues you might encounter.
  1. Using a turnkey 3D figurines solution

In this system, you will be using a 3D scanning booth and the 3D software specifically designed to run it and the rest of the operation. You have the option of outsourcing the 3D printing to specialized vendors.

Pros

  • This significantly reduces initial investment.
  • The 3D scanning booth is specifically designed to capture people/pets for 3D figurines.
  • Online support is available in this case.
  • You have access to a global network of vendors to carry out 3D printing.

Cons

  • There is a monthly subscription fee for software and cloud platform + fee per 3D printed figurine
  • Your control of the 3D printing process is drastically reduced as you are outsourcing it to vendors.

Applications

3D miniature printing has made its presence felt and already made a world of difference in architectural design and planning, gaming and movies among other domains. Can you imagine there are already several companies which offer a full 3D rendering, right up to the wrinkles in your clothes!

For example, architects who employ the use of structural models wherein human figurines are placed in various parts of their model. Even the gaming and animation industries use 3D miniature models in the form of superheroes in movies. In fact, why not imagine having your own collection of 3D printed figurines of your favorite superheroes or cartoon characters at home! You can also create replicas of your pets using any pictures you may have of them.

In the context of this article, the best part about 3D miniature printing is that you can make miniature replicas or 3D selfies. Imagine having your own bust on the mantelpiece for all to admire! 3D selfie in India is slowly catching on and may well go on to become a trend!

While 3D printing can be achieved using successive layers of materials, including plastic, acrylic, steel, brass, among others, a colored 3D printout is usually best achieved using sandstone. Sandstone 3D Printing is mainly used for full-colour 3D printing. The latter is used for non-functional models like human and animal figurines.

You don’t always have to enlist the help of specialized experts in the field of 3D printing to get yourself a replica. There are already several apps in the market that allow you to take 3D selfies. The only part you will play is to move the camera from left to right in front of your face. This will help to will create a 3D rendering of your face. Now, you can even print 3D figurines of you and your better half as toppings on your wedding or anniversary cake.

Now that we have caught your imagination, unleash your own creativity. The possibilities of 3D selfie/ miniature printing seem endless!

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