Features

Published: Tuesday February 11, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday February 11, 2014 MYT 7:19:30 AM

Your very own 3D figure

Capturing the whole picture: This composite photograph shows the process of acquiring data by scanning Rie Shimizu’s entire body with a 3D scanner. Several gigabytes of data are recorded during each scan. – Photos from The Yomiuri Shimbun

Capturing the whole picture: This composite photograph shows the process of acquiring data by scanning Rie Shimizu’s entire body with a 3D scanner. Several gigabytes of data are recorded during each scan. – Photos from The Yomiuri Shimbun

3D figures are popular among people who want to mark such special occasions as weddings.

FOR about five minutes, the woman stands as still as possible while a man passes a hand-held device around her whole body. When the ordeal is over, she sighs with relief.

This happens at a studio that makes 3D figures in the Ichigaya district of Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, in Japan. Both the woman and the man, who wields a 3D scanner to scan her, were deadly serious because precise data cannot be recorded if the model moves during the process.

Sony Music Communications Inc started selling the 3D Print Figure product last year, in which a figure is sculpted using full-colour 3D scanners.

To create the figure, the scanner first obtains data through the scanning of a person from head to toe.

Then a computer models the data and outputs images through a 3D printer using colour ink, special bonding materials and white plaster powder. The price for a figure ranges from ¥49,000 to ¥120,000 (RM1,589 to RM3,898), depending on the size.

Outputs made of plaster powder, ink and bonding materials from a 3D printer.
Outputs made of plaster powder, ink and bonding materials from a 3D printer.

According to Yosuke Takuma, who planned this business for Sony Music Communications, these 3D figures are popular among people who want to mark such special occasions as weddings and matriculation ceremonies.

It takes about two months to produce a 3D Print Figure.

Rie and Makoto Shimizu, who plan to hold their wedding ceremony in Osaka this month, visited the studio.

Makoto Shimizu and his wife, Rie, check the 3D data on a computer after they were scanned.
Makoto Shimizu and his wife, Rie, check the 3D data on a computer after they are scanned.

“We want to welcome our guests at the wedding in an unusual way and thought it would be a good idea for figures just like us to hold boards welcoming the guests,” Shimizu said.

Koji Iwabuchi and his wife Yumi visited the studio to order figures to commemorate their 20th wedding anniversary.

“It’s like photography at the end of the Edo period (1603-1867) as we cannot move at all,” Iwabuchi said.

“It’s interesting to feel like Sakamoto Ryoma. In the future, it might become an ordinary thing, but it’s fun that few people have experienced this,” he said.

Figures emerge from plaster powder.
Figures emerge from plaster powder.

Ryoma (1836-1867), an Edo period figure who envisioned a Japan free from feudal rule, is also known as the subject of some famous photos from that time.

Iwabuchi said: “However, as everything is reproduced very accurately, including body shape, hair texture and wrinkles in the clothing, it would be great if they retouched the figure slightly.”

“No matter how advanced the technology is, the quality of the figures ultimately depends on the analog skills of people involved, such as how quickly and well technicians can scan subjects, how much experience they have in adjusting scanned data, how much time they can spend on the work or how good their finishing touches are,” said Takuma. – The Yomiuri Shimbun/Asia News Network

From left: A figure created from plaster powder by a 3D printer; A completed 3D figure of Rie and Makoto Shimizu. The pair of figures are designed to hold a signboard to welcome guests at their wedding ceremony this month.
From left: A figure created from plaster powder by a 3D printer; a completed 3D figure of Rie and Makoto Shimizu. The pair of figures are designed to hold a signboard to welcome guests at their wedding ceremony this month.

Tags / Keywords: Lifestyle, Japan, 3D, 3-D, print, printer, figures

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