Family portraits are rarely ever fun. In my family, they were usually marked by stress, irritations and ultimately petty squabbling. “He poked me first!” “Just stop hitting each other and smile!” “Mom, my stomach hurts.” “Are we done yet?” “Honey, can I wear my lodge hat?” “Everybody act happy, or I’ll give you a reason to be unhappy!” And after all that, the end result is a lame family photo that most of us hide in the back of our closets.

Well, it seems those days are numbered. Maybe not the bickering part, but at least for all that trouble, we can actually wind up with something so cool, we’d be proud to show it off. I’m talking about 3D technology here. This isn’t the kind of crappy headache-inducing, glasses-requiring version, but actual 3D-printed physical figurines of you and your family! This rendering of your familial units is not only more realistic, but practically screams that a techie-in-the-know was masterminding the project.

Omote 3D has a 3D printing photo booth that can capture this glory. Here’s how it works:

  • First, a 3D scanner captures the whole-body image. The subject must stand very still for as long as 15 minutes.
  • Second, a computer scans in the image, and an artist fills in minutiae like hair color, clothes texture, etc. (Eyeglasses are tricky, particularly if there are reflective lenses.)
  • Third, the 3D printer creates the figurine in one of three different sizes: small (3.9 inches), medium (5.9 inches), or large (7.8 inches). The process can take up to a month, and small children or pets are not recommended, as it requires staying very still for 15 minutes.

3D Printing Photo Booth

Family portrait


So cool. But, as with all things, these pros also come with some cons: The cost ranges from $262 (for a small figurine) to $1,445 (for three large figurines). This, however, isn’t a dealbreaker, considering traditional figurine modeling can actually cost much, much more. The big kicker is that Omote is based in Tokyo, Japan, meaning that patronage would require an airplane ticket for many of us. But once there, one visit to the pop-up studio (open until January 1, 2014) would handle the rest.

Interested? If you’re going to Japan anytime soon, then head on over here to make a reservation. As for the rest of us, let’s like the heck out of this, so some super-enterprising techpreneur gets the same idea a little closer to home.

[Via GeekSugar]