Just in time for the annual holiday family portrait, designers in Japan have come up with a unique alternative to standard prints: miniature action figures of the family.
Gone are the days of photo sessions requiring nothing more than a still camera and lights. The photographers behind the world's first 3D studio, "Omote 3D Shashin Kan," uses a high-tech scanner that captures every wrinkle and every strand of hair.
The catch - you need to hold your pose for 15 minutes.
"CT-scans used to be the only way to accurately capture a person's (body shape and texture)," said Naoki Ito, creative director for Party Inc, the group behind the project. "The advancement of technology has changed that."
Data used to create the mini-mes are manually captured by a hand-held scanner with two built-in cameras. One scans the body's shape, the other the texture. All the information gathered is processed through software, traditionally reserved for the medical field.
The result is a hyper-realistic figurine that brings every last detail back to life. The mini-mes range in size from four to eight inches, with prices starting around $260.
"I didn't expect the replicas to turn out so realistic," Ito said. "The minute I saw mine, I knew I had to go on a diet. I lost 11 pounds in a month."
3D printers have been used to recreate everything from toys to prosthetics. In the most recent James Bond movie "Skyfall," filmmakers used a large VX4000 printer to reproduce three 1:3 scale models of the Aston Martin DB85. One of them was auctioned off at Christie's for almost $100,000.
Ito's project is the first to bring full-body 3D replicas to life, but the idea is catching on quickly. Since word of Ito's exhibit spread online a few weeks ago, he has been flooded with calls from the U.S. to India and Australia.
More than 500 people have already signed up, to get a mini-me.
"We've gotten so many requests, we're trying to figure out how to meet demand," Ito said.