Turn a picture into a memory with 3D printing

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How to make your own souvenirs with CGI and 3d Printing

Traveling is a great way in which to embrace and see the world. Likewise, the souvenirs which are gained from such trips are our way of holding onto the memory of that place. And where there are gifts and trinkets which are available at every turn, many of these lack the personal touch and the specifics of the memory. With the advances in 3D modeling and 3D printing, travelers can use their photographs to have custom unique models printed to really showcase the memorable spots they visit. Here is how to do it.

Take pictures of the spot from multiple angles

If you are visiting a native temple and want to have it modeled out, then take pictures from as many angles as you can with your camera. This will allow the 3D modeler to have the right perspectives of the space so that it can be modeled out in 3d for printing. The more detail that you can give the more detail can be integrated into the design. Don’t be overly concerned with capturing the perfect shot or the perfect angle, a skilled CGI artist can generally find photographs of the area to use as reference when you don’t have that specific angle. The only time in which you will want to be concerned with the capturing the area in high detail is when:

  • You are in a remote location that does not have a lot of technology
  • You are capturing something totally unique to that area and not available online
  • You are capturing something organic (such as a person’s face, an animal, or a really nice plant)

What if you do not have any pictures?

The easiest way to find the model that you are looking for is to look for a 3d model which has already been created for that area. 3D models can be found in abundance and it is usually only a matter of typing in the location or the name of what you are looking for to get a selection. Remember when picking a model that the more details and polys a model has the harder it will be to print.

Have the pictures made into a model

Use a computer animator and a multimedia artist to model out your photographic image. This can be done in a number of programs. However, 3ds max and Maya are the most common for 3D Printing. Ensure that the modeler of the photographs can output to .stl format and that they can deliver the model file to you. Print according to the function of the souvenir. For example, you can print a model to make the following:

  • Inserts for snow globes
  • Necklaces and earrings
  • Custom cell phone case (such as having the tower of London extruding from the back face of the case)
  • Shelf Statues
  • Models for your Travel blog or journal (which would not require 3d printing but just the model)
  • Custom toys for gifts (such as a 3D model of a unique car, bus, or train)

For the best results and the least amount of impact on your wallet, look for a freelancer or a 3d artist which offers 3D printing services. This cuts out having to use two different artist to get your souvenirs made.

Paint your model

Unfortunately, 3D printers are limited to the exterior detail that they can add to your custom printed souvenir. You will have to paint the model yourself. There are solid color options and various materials available which could bypass this need. Yet, for those which want to have a bit more detail, painting will be a must.

Is 3D printing worth the time and effort to the traveler

If you think of the amount of pictures and various media that you collect on a trip, and couple this with the over priced merchandise that is available in most locations then the answer is yes it is worth it. Pre-made 3D models can be purchased from a number of sites for as low as $10 if not found for free. The 3D printing is a bit more expensive and I would advise anyone that is going to print a great deal of their souvenirs to consider purchasing their own hobby style 3d Printer (which is about $300). Financially the souvenir made in this way is beneficial. If you use your photographic images to have a custom model made, then that is priceless.

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