Print your face in 3D

One nice thing about a portrait is you can choose your best angle; I know I look atrocious from some sides. What happens when the photo is in 3D — not just an image with depth, but one the viewer can pivot and rotate at will? Or even more so, when the 3D face is a solid object? We’ll soon find out: Brooklyn-based MakerBot, which has offered miniature “3D printers” or solid model manufacturing systems, is now teaming with 3D portrait shooter ShapeShot to deliver  the “3D Photo Booth.”

Available now at MakerBot’s first retail store in New York City, the 3D Photo Booth is a multi-camera installation “that turns two-dimensional photo data into a 3D Portrait of your face,” the companies say. “This is one of the coolest souvenirs you could take away from a trip to New York, and a pretty sweet gift for someone you haven’t seen in a long time.”

The ShapeShot system is made by Direct Dimensions of Baltimore. The system scans your face in a few minutes: “serious or funny expressions are immediately captured.” The multiple images are combined to create an accurate three-dimensional model of the face, including textures. The scan is $5. Solid models vary in price by size.

“This is beyond digital photography: it is the future,” MakerBot says. “To be able to create a 3D image of yourself is just amazing. It’s fun, it’s inexpensive, and it’s totally cool.”

MakerBot says it now has a 25 percent market share of the 3D printer market, and there are more than 15,000 MakerBot Desktop 3D Printers in use by engineers, designers, researchers, “and people who just like to make things.”

About Paul Worthington

Paul Worthington is a journalist and consumer imaging consultant. He produces the annual Future Imaging Summit at PMA@CES, and writes for PMA Newsline and PMA Magazine, as well as other publications.