3D printed figurines : 3D selfie, 3D mini me, 3D portrait

Like a frame picture, a 3D figurine is the ideal gift for any events, such as weddings, graduation or even work seminars.

What is a 3D printed selfie, a 3D mini me or 3D portrait?

3D Selfie, 3D mini and 3D portrait are exactly the same thing. They all refer to a 3D printed figurine of a person.

With the 3D printing technology it is possible to create your very own 3D printed figurine. The process to get a personal 3D figurine requires two steps:

  • 3D scan  of the body or the face of the person. The generated 3D file can then be used to launch a 3D print, at home or through a dedicated service.
  • 3D print the 3D Selfie on a professional 3D printer. Those machines are capable of 3D printing in color and to add extra details to the 3D figurine such as a disguise, make up, or even a specific background.

Even without a 3D scanner or a 3D printer it is still possible to get a 3D self figurine from photos. Some 3D printing services such as Quod ou Sculpteo are capable of generating a detailed 3D file from a front and a side picture. The 3D services then use one of their color 3D printer to produce the 3D print of the 3D figurine or a 3D bust.

The delivery time from the uploading of the picture is usually around 10 days.

3D selfies or 3D mini me are a great gift

3D selfies and 3D portraits for important events

The 3D printed figurines are great gifts for important events, such as weddings, graduations or even sports events. They make a great match with the traditional 2D photo.

For making a personal 3D figurine there are several size options, from 15 cm to almost life size, as offered by the Chinese company Pinla 3D (the website is only available in Chinese).

A personalized 3D figurine or 3D portrait by Mini Me.

A personalized 3D figurine by Mini Me.


A personal 3D figurine or 3D Selfie made by 3D You.

A personal 3D figurine made by 3D You.

Create a customized toy with 3D printing

The 3D printed figurines can be personalized almost at will. The face of the user can be integrated to any disguise, such as the most well known action characters, movie heroes (Ghostbusters, Star Trek) or even fantasy and historic figures.

3Dme by 3D Systems offers a large set of option, with 3D scans made by simple pictures or using the Intel RealSense 3D sensor.

For animal lovers some companies also have the dedicated 3D service of scanning and 3D printing in color pets such as dogs, cats and even rabbits. 3Dpetshop can 3D print your favorite pet.

Build a customized avatar with 3D printing

A 3D model with UV maps (texture = color) in Blender 3D software.

A 3D model with UV maps (texture = color) in Blender 3D software.

Customize your own 3D avatar

Once 3D scanned, someone can import the 3D file inside a 3D CAD (Computer Aided Design) software. For individuals, the cheapest option is to use a desktop 3D printer which will create a small plastic 3D figurine or bust.

For customizing the 3D files, software like Blender or Sketchfab are inexpensive options to add accessories or modify the colors.


How to 3D body scan or 3D face scan yourself ?

For 3D printing yourself there are several options. One of them requires the user to scan himself or herself under all angles. It is often better to be helped for this 3D scanning process.

Several options are available:

  • The free app SCENECT by Faro on XBOX equiped with Kinect 360.
  • The free app 123D Catch, available on smartphones. 3D scanning someone usually requires around 20 photos for a full body scan in color.
  • 3Dme application allows an Intel RealSense owner de créer un modèle 3D très précis du visage.
  • An affordable 3D scanner is also often a very good option to produce quality scan of people. It only requires someone else to perform the 3D scan.

However, the professional portable 3D scanners stay the best solution to perform detailed coloured 3D scans in less than a few minutes.

3D scanning a person with a tablet sensor.

3D scanning a person with a tablet sensor.

3D figurines and 3D selfies services

Get 3D body scanned and 3D face scanned by 3D services

To get the best possible result, the main option is to get 3D scanned by a professional 3D serviceQuod uses the Shapify Booth by Artec for the 3D scanning process. 3D scanning a person takes only 6 minutes. The 3D scan can be used as a virtual avatar or 3D printed on a color 3D printer.

Digitage, is a French start up based in Paris. They offer 3D scanning services and use the photogrammetry technology. Standard high quality cameras take pictures form all angles in less than one second. A powerful algorithm then uses the pictures to generate a colored 3D scan.

After creating the 3D file it is possible to send it directly to 3D printing services such as Sculpteo or Shapeways. The 3D figurine will then be delivered in a few days.

3D portrait of a 3D scanned couple.

A 3D scanned couple has been 3D printed.

Get 3D body scanned in a 3D photo booth

Some 3D services offer 3D figurines and take care of the whole design and personalization of the 3D model.

Doob offers 3D scanning, 3D modeling and 3D printing at their 3D store in Dusseldorf or Berlin (Germany). It is possible to make a reservation and to be 3D scanned in less than a tenth of seconds with their unique photogrammetric solution.

Similar 3D services for 3D figurines are available all across the world.

Exemple : 3D Systems versus Mcor

There are only two technologies available on the market to produce full CMYK colors 3D prints with a professional quality:

  •  plastic powder and binding agent to agglomerate layer after a 3D object. Each layer is colored when being solidified. The main advantages of this technology are the huge build size capacity of the machines and the capacity to build intricate hollow models. However the 3D printing material stays really expensive.
  • standard paper as 3D building material with a 3D printing process called lamination. First the sheets of paper are 2D printed with regular inkjet. They are then feed into the 3D printer to be cutted and glued together to construct a colored 3D object. The advantages of this technology are its very interesting cost to performance ratio and affordability. The paper is a lot cheaper than the plastic and the 3D printed objects have the consistency of wood. The colors are also brighter than with the powder. However the principal limitation of this technology is the maximum build size.
A 3D printed object with the Projet x60 line of 3D printers.

A 3D printed object with the Projet x60 line of 3D printers.