Calgary Photographer Uses 60-Camera Scanning System, Creates 3D Printed Replicas of Dogs

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If you are a dog lover, then you know how special such pets can make nearly every part of your day, whether you have one or a whole pack of them running about your house and yard. Dogs arrive in the most fascinating array of shapes and sizes, colors, and temperaments, but they almost always have one thing in common to offer us: unconditional love. Dogs rarely have a complaint about what you are cooking for dinner (and in fact, they would like to eat as much of it as possible, whatever it is!), and they aren’t upset or critical about much else, except for the lack of time you are spending petting them in the moment.

Dogs love to get outside and enjoy the fresh air with you, or cuddle when you are relaxing, sick, or often just exhausted from the day. A deep bond can build very quickly, and it may be so strong that you feel as if you can’t bear to leave them for a moment. This is why hordes of dog lovers are seen bicycling and jogging with their canine counterparts in the park, walking them through cities, carrying them in purses—and sometimes even shopping with them, yes, in strollers. Dog-friendly restaurants, bars, and Airbnbs are all the rage today too as dog owners stay as close to their furry friends as possible. That might not always be possible though, and of course there is also that fateful day none of us want to think about when our dog passes into the great unknown.

GravityB 3D, headquartered in northwest Calgary, is a company with a lot of experience in the world of dogs and their owners. Not only do they offer dog daycare and photography, but they’ve also begun creating 3D printed replicas for pet owners to enjoy in the absence of their dogs.

“We’ve owned a dog daycare for 14 years. I have been doing pet photography for about 11 years. About two years ago, I came across the idea of doing 3D prints. I’ve spent the last two years to get to this point,” managing director Brian Burke told CBC News in a recent interview.

“It gives you a three-dimensional figurine that you can hold in the palm of your hand that looks exactly like your dog. It’s not as crazy as an action figure, more like fine china, would be a good way to describe the quality of it.”

Brian Burke [Image: Monty Kruger/CBC]

Known as ‘Coppies,’ the 3D printed figures are created at GravityB 3D with their photographic scanning booth—and soon they will be doing scans of cats too. Coppy, also known as Copernicus, was an actual dog, and the inspiration behind the name for Burke’s 3D prints. Coppy (who passed away last month) sat for 24 different photographs back when Burke was using just one camera. After he began working with a complex system featuring multiple cameras, Burke referred to it as the Coppy Machine.

“By the end of 2015 we had a fair number of elderly dog clients attending our dog daycare and the idea of capturing them as they are, in full colour 3D, was too much to pass up on,” says Burke on his website. “In Jan. 2016, when new technology and new software made the concept of 3D capture and 3D printing possible for individuals, I took the plunge.”

[Image: Monty Kruger/CBC]

Along with the pet replicas (starting at $150), the GravityB 3D team also offers 3D printed human replicas ($125). The figurines are a few inches tall, with resolution offering an almost identical form, whether of a pet or person. Pricing is based on print volume, and the 3D printed replicas are available for pickup by the customer about a month later.

Over the past two years as Burke became interested in offering the 3D printed replicas, both the process and his technology requirements have evolved. He has expanded from a 24-camera system to that of 36 cameras—and now, 60! Burke needed to be able to record rapidly, especially as dogs are so often in movement; for instance, wagging their tails.

“It takes a little bit to get the dog comfortable in this environment, but it’s a fast process,” said Burke. “If you know how to get the dog to pose and your timing is good, then I am pretty much guaranteed to get a really good pose.

“You can have your dog forever. You have your dog with you when you’re not with your dog. You can bring your dog to work with you, you can bring your dog on a trip with you. When your dog passes away, it’s a three-dimensional representation of your dog.”

[Image: Monty Kruger/CBC]

Find out more about GravityB 3D and their 3D printing services here.

What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts; join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts below. 

[Sources: GravityB 3DCBC News – Calgary]

 

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