Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto Company Lets You Come Face-to-Face with a Miniature 3D Model of Yourself

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Toronto Company Lets You Come Face-to-Face with a Miniature 3D Model of Yourself

Article excerpt

Mini-Me: Toronto studio offers 'Selftraits'

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TORONTO - Holding a lifelike miniature version of yourself in the palm of your hand is a tad unsettling at first -- but once the initial shock wears off, a strange fascination begins to set in.

That's the experience Selftraits, a Canadian 3D printing business, bets will trigger a swirl of enthusiasm around its "3D selfies" in the coming months.

After years of giving a family portrait to grandma for Christmas, the Toronto-based company hopes more people will substitute their old traditions with a pocket-sized figurine that fits as nicely on a fireplace mantle as it does atop a wedding cake.

"The key here is capturing a moment in time and a memory," said Steve Cory, the founder of Selftraits.

"These little figurines are going to capture exactly who you are."

He readily admits the whole idea appeals directly to people who are willing to entertain their narcissistic side. But it also attracts the curious who have sauntered into the company's storefront in downtown Toronto.

Some of them walk inside with their jaws dropped as they stare at realistic models of past customers on display throughout the showroom.

If they're brave enough, the onlookers can step inside the Selftraits photo booth at the back of the store themselves, strike a few poses and put their own 3D model into production.

The process begins with the tent-like booth where 135 synchronized Canon Rebel T3i cameras capture the subject from every angle. Selftraits' staff encourage action shots, like a kick or a jump, which bring another level of showmanship to the 3D image.

"A lot of people bring props and costumes and try to do something really interesting," Cory said.

Many customers have gone further with their imaginations.

One man brought his dog into a shoot and then had the staff digitally swap their heads with each other.

Another surprised his girlfriend by popping the question while the cameras snapped images of his proposal. A multi-stage figurine of that moment now sits on display at the company's headquarters.

The figurines are assembled in a 3D printer, building layer upon layer of the image as it swipes back and forth through a bed of gypsum powder. …

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