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Calgary photographer offers 3D likenesses of clients’ dogs

WATCH: No matter how well you may have trained them, dogs can sometimes be a real handful. Now, as Gil Tucker shows us, a Calgary photographer has come up with a way to always keep your dog right in the palm of your hand.

Sitting down in front of the camera is nothing new for Jill Taylor’s dogs Raya and Itsy.

“I love to get photos,” Taylor said.

But now there’s a whole new dimension for the Calgary woman and her canine companions.

They’ve come for a session at the GravityB 3D studio, where photographer Brian Burke is offering a new service that produces lifelike 3D printed figurines of dogs.

“I’ve spent the last two years developing a 3D capture rig,” Burke said. “It contains 60 cameras, to get every possible angle.”

Once he captured images of Raya and Itsy, Burke then transferred 60 photos onto a computer.

Using special stitching software, the images became like a panoramic shot, which was then sent to a Toronto company that has a high-end 3D printer worth $100,000.

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“It does a layer of gypsum or sandstone,” Burke said, “and then it spreads down ink, actually prints in full colour, the entire process.”

Once the finished product arrived back in Calgary, it was time for Taylor to get her first look at the figurines.

“Just amazing!” she said, holding the little 3D dog on her palm in front of Itsy’s face.

“Look, it’s you. The ears stick out the same.”

Burke said the figurines appeal to people who want a lasting memento of their pets.

“It’s not just a photo, it’s not just a digital image on your phone,” he said. “It’s something tangible. You can actually hold it, just like you can hold your dog.”

Burke can also produce 3D figures of people, as well as people with their dogs.

Costs start at $125 for a five-inch figure of a person; $150 for the smallest dog, a three-inch figurine.

Burke said dogs cost more because the cost of the labour-intensive 3D process is based on volume of material and there’s more surface on a dog figurine than on humans.

“People tend to be tall, thin sticks,” he said.

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But even with all the high-tech equipment involved, Burke still relies on one of the basics of the dog photographer’s trade – a squeaky toy to get their attention.

“Oh, extremely low-tech,” he said. “Anything that’ll work.”