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What it’s like to have a 3D printed miniature model of yourself made

The making of Selftraits 3D printed selfies

I’m standing in a giant white bubble surrounded by 135 Canon Rebel T3i cameras; intricately placed to capture every single angle of my body. I have never felt more self-conscious in my life and I can’t for the life of me come up with a pose that seems natural.

“Three, two, one,” says the camera operator. And with one giant blinding flash, I am one step closer to having my very own 3D printed model of myself.

This is what you can expect if you are brave enough to step inside the custom designed 3D scanning booth from Toronto-based 3D printing company Selftraits. The company – created by entrepreneur Steve Cory – opened a pop-up shop on Toronto’s trendy Queen Street Thursday, in hopes of capturing the attention of people looking for a unique gift idea.

“People love them for gifts for their families – frankly all of us narcissists like to have them as well,” said Cory.

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Dubbed “Selftraits” (selfie and portrait combined), the miniature 3D models are eerily lifelike and capture minuscule details right down to the creases in your clothing.

The process starts in the Selftraits studio, where customers step inside the 3D scanning booth and are photographed.

Inside the 3D scanning booth. (Nicole Bogart/Global News)
Inside the 3D scanning booth. (Nicole Bogart/Global News).

But forget your average duck-faced selfie. Selftraits encourages customers to try just about anything when posing for their model – from bringing in props, to jumping in mid-air, which I gladly put to the test.

One hundred and thirty-five images, one from each camera, are then sent to a computer where customers can preview their pose.

Once you’ve decided, a computerized mock-up of your model is made and is sent to a digital sculpting artist who can manipulate or fine-tune the model however you please (and, yes, some people have asked that their model have a little nip or tuck).

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The models are then assembled in an industrial 3D printer, building multiple layers of the image in a bed of gypsum powder.

Customers can choose between five-inch models ($120) or 6-inch models ($240) and within a week, their models are shipped.

3D “scan” image:

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3D printed model:

selftrait

Selftraits is a spinoff of Objex Unlimited, a 3D printing business that Corey started five years ago when 3D printing first started to take off.

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Corey also runs Sculptraits (sculpture and portraits), a more expensive option for those looking to commission bigger 3D printed models. The entrepreneur even has a life-size 3D printed model of his head kicking around the office.

One of the company’s most popular requests is a 3D print of the family dog – living or deceased.

Those who want a picture of their dead pet can simply send in a picture of their furry friend and have Sculptraits digital artists draw an original model. Otherwise, you are welcome to bring the family pet into the 3D scanning studio.

As for my models, Corey turned my jumping action shot into a very strange – but funny – Christmas ornament, that I will likely hang on my tree only in anticipation of my guests’ reactions.

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