This is pretty cool. Sculpteo, the online 3D printing service, has launched a new product that lets users turn two photographs of a person into a real-life figure – a mini me or physical avatar if you will.
The Paris-based company is interesting in that it's in-part positioning 3D printing, a relatively new method of producing a real-life object from a 3D file, as a consumer-facing proposition. The result is that it's as easy to print 3D models as it is to print old-fashioned photographs or related 2D-printed merchandise such as t-shirts, mugs or mouse-mats and the like. Here's how it works:
Users upload 2 photos (front and profile) of the person they want to print as real-life figure from which Sculpteo's artists interpret the visuals to generate that 3D model, an image is then sent to the user for approval. They can also choose the model's clothing and colours. Once signed off, the user then receives their 7 to 10cm tall real-life figure via the post, which comes from Sculpteo's 3D printing shop in France. The cost: from €59.90 or £50 depending on the size chosen. Additional copies of the same model can be ordered at a cost of €30 upwards.
Sculpteo's service overall isn't limited to specific consumer gifts, however, but can be used by professionals too. Basically, pretty much any simple 3D drawing using common 3D software, such as Google Sketchup, can be printed. Alternatively, models based on 3D files found on the likes of 3dvia.com or Sculpteo's own library, can be turned into a real-life model.