For those who need to be immortalized but lack the funds for a commissioned painting or sculpture, Captured Dimensions can offer the next best thing. This 3D scanning and printing outfit can capture anyone and recreate him or her faithfully either onscreen or in a printed statue, although this process comes with a hefty price tag.
Tom's Guide met with Captured Dimensions at SxSW 2014 to learn a few things about how this company can create lifelike simulacra, both in digital and physical formats. The organization can create three kinds of representations: digital files for a computer, 3D-printed statuettes or holographic pictures.
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In order to digitize a user's likeness, Captured Dimensions places him or her on an octagonal platform surrounded by high-resolution cameras. These cameras snap photo after photo of the user in the desired pose, then use a complex computer algorithm to piece them all together. This creates a representation detailed enough to capture everything from ruffles in clothing to facial expression.
For many users, Captured Dimensions explained that this process can be a vanity project. Anyone can take a photo, but getting an artistic representation (like a painting) made of yourself or your family can cost thousands of dollars. Getting statues or holographic pictures, on the other hand, costs hundreds.
The process is expensive, but much more affordable than commissioning a painting or sculpture. A single 1/12 scale model costs $399, and prices for larger statuettes increase exponentially. Prices on digital files and holograms vary, but still generally start around a few hundred dollars.
If this seems like a lot of money, Captured Dimensions agrees. However, a representative told us that prices for 3D scanning and printing are dropping as technology improves, and this could become a quick and affordable process within a few years.
This technology also has applications for animation and game design. Traditionally, an artist could spend hundreds of hours creating a realistic model from reference photographs. Scanning a model and tweaking it, by contrast, would take much less time.
For now, scanning and printing yourself remains a curiosity for the moderately well-to-do. Still, given that a few years ago, it was a curiosity for the very rich, the trend is encouraging.