Those of you that thought the 3D printed sculptures of unborn children were a bit strange (creepy) will probably get a kick out of this: 3D reliefs from 2D pictures. A company called BumpyPhoto will take your uploaded photo and make a 3D relief of it so that the subject matter of the photo stands out. With headquarters in Portland, Oregon and London, UK, theses picture poppers are making an international impression.
The reliefs are printed in a plaster-like hard resin in 24-bit color and their detail is not bad. It’s not great; not as good as the picture you upload, but not bad. The bigger the relief, the more accurate it looks. The weird part is the back. When you’re holding a picture of your mom and you turn it over, you expect to see a blank white back, maybe with some diagonal Kodaks or “Thanksgiving ‘98” scribbled in the bottom right. With these BumbyPhotos however, seeing that pretty realistic 3D image of your loved one prompts you to expect to see the back of their head when you flip the thing over. Instead you’re met with a hollow distorted version of their front that forces your brow to furrow in disturbed bewilderment.
Honestly, the first thing I thought of when I saw this video was Mission Impossible style disguises; take a picture of the person you want to impersonate, upload to BumpyPhoto, wait four weeks for analyzing, processing, and shipping, and papow you’ve got the creepiest Halloween costume of everyone that knows your best friend Dave. Seriously though, these things are rather nifty and I’ll appreciate them more when their methods become more consistent. Some of their reliefs look great, where it looks like 180 degrees of a sculpture; others look stretched in ways that take away from the original photo. That could just be because they were applying a “thick” pop out for demonstration though, as you do have options there.
A four inch relief starts at $70 with “thin” depth, but you can get a one inch one for as little as $50. BumpyPhoto also offers cutouts, which is what you would need for the aforementioned spy mask. These reliefs look especially cool if you put a light behind them too. I understand allowing people to upload photos expands their customer base, but it might be worthwhile for them to offer 3D scanning services so that they could also provide full sculptures.
I think I’ll wait a bit and let the resolution improve, but for those that are curious of how much a hypothetical spy mask would run them, an “extra thick” 12 inch cutout relief would cost $778, plus $200 if you’re really in a hurry and need it in three days.