By Sophie Beresiner
Call it the pursuit of future innovations in photography or plain old narcissism, but the draw of having a miniature version of yourself printed in full colour 3D is too strong to ignore. Such a pull in fact that myself and Senior Beauty Writer Amy spent a morning investigating the process on behalf of ELLE to see what the future holds. It feels like Hoverboards are just around the corner...
Imagine creating your own lifelike wedding cake toppers, or even replacing your grandmothers collection of framed photos with a single effigy of yourself on graduation day, complete with mortarboard hat and scroll. Now that would take precedence on the mantlepiece. For our purposes we wanted to put it to the test. Could this process replicate the texture of Amy's beach hair, or my own red lipstick? Could it capture the red soles of my fluro Louboutins and Amy's signature photo-pose? Yes, it very very nearly can.
The 3D Twin studio in East London is unimposing and it's interesting to meet the inventor of the photography studio himself. We're given a little lesson in how to pose (esentially, just how you would for a poin-and-shoot picture), in the middle of a 360 studio of cameras. One click from the computer in the adjoining room and you're done. The images (all 64 of them) then get sent to the 3D printers to process, and your own doll arrives a couple of weeks later. To rapturous applause.
There were my red soles, red lipstick, every crease and shadow on my sequinned logo top. Amy's signature pose was in tact, her hair texture accurate. The only negative is a slightly dusty overlay that sort of looks like we have miniature stockings over our heads, much like a burglar trying to obscure his identity. Saying that our dolls could definitely be recognised in a line up, such is the accuracy, that we immediately made grand plans to ditch the chocolates/work on our camera pose/get a new hairdo. It is definitely weird seeing yourself in so much detail from all angles. There is an option for retouching by the way. Thank you very astute 3D Twin engineers
The cost of this process depends on your doll size and model, with the smallest size (like ours) costing £120, and the largest at £247 for 25cm of you (or your beloved pet who can also get in on the action). A dream gifting opportunity if ever we saw one.
There is a little way to go until 3D printing is so commonplace and refined that it costs the same as putting your old negative film into the printers, or without the dusty haze that slightly obscures your features, but these models are an unmistakeable likeness, and a true collectors item. We get a little thrill everytime we look at them, (that'd be the narcisistic streak again), and there is genuine miniature-me envy in the office. Expect a whole team ELLE line up imminently.