by Derek Winston. Photos by Andrew Dynko
“Nice statues,” I said to my photographer. “They’re very detailed, almost like… ‘by God Eliot, it is like a photograph from life!’’’
“What are you talking about?” my photographer asked, snapping photos. “And my name is Andrew, not Eliot.”
“These statues! They’re actually 3D photographs!”
And they are! On the 6th floor of the Shibuya LOFT is the LoftLab 3D Studio, where you can get dressed and strike a pose in front of a circular setup of 102 high-speed cameras. After that, LOFT’s technicians will edit your photo and print a statue of you using one of their state-of-the-art 3D printers!
“But how can I get one of these for myself?” you ask. Well read on, and we’ll show you how it’s done!
STEP 1 – THE APPOINTMENT
It is better to make an appointment for this experience. It might be possible to get in without an appointment, but what if you can’t? Wouldn’t that be awful? To prevent disappointment, ask your hotel concierge or a Japanese friend can help you make a reservation for your 3D photographic experience at the following Tokyo-area LOFT locations—
Shibuya Loft 3D studio (TEL 03-3462-3863; reservations accepted 10:00 am – 9:00 pm daily)
Yūrakuchō Loft 3D studio (TEL 03-5223-6210; reservations accepted 10:30 am – 8:30 pm daily)
STEP 2 – GETTING READY
Each LoftLab 3D studio has a waiting and dressing room, where you can get yourself ready for your 3D statue debut. What, you’re going to go in your street clothes? Where’s the fun in that? There’s nothing to stop you from putting on your wedding dress, or your James Bond tuxedo (complete with martini), or you ski suit and snowboard. Or your Mario costume!
Do you see that? That is not a Photoshop. That is what one of these statues looks like up close.
For your photo, you don’t have to limit yourself to just one subject. You and that special someone can be photographed together and preserve that moment forever.
And the LOFT at Yurakucho has a special deal for those of us with furry friends. Thanks to the high-speed cameras, you and your best four-legged pal can be in a statue together! Pet photos and statues are only available at the Yurakucho LOFT by appointment, so make sure to call and make an appointment beforehand.
STEP 3—STRIKE A POSE!
It’s ok to just pose, but c’mon! When is the next time you are going to be able to get a statue of yourself made? Go ahead and strike a kung fu pose! Or if you are into more active pastimes, the LoftLab 3D Studio’s cameras can capture you in action with a soccer header, puck flip, or baseball catch. The workers at the Shibuya LOFT location let us try it out…
STEP 4–PAYING FOR IT…
At all LOFT locations, you get a discount of 5% off your purchases (over 1080 yen) just for shopping there! Just show your passport at the counter to claim your discount. Also, all three LOFT locations are registered Japan Tax-Free Shops. After checking out, take your receipts and passport to the Tax Refund Counter to have the tax portion of your purchase refunded. No waiting in line at the airport!
STEP 5—WAIT FOR IT…
It may seem disappointing, but it takes a fair amount of time to for one of LoftLab’s 3D printers to build your statue. But never fear! LOFT will ship your statue to you approximately three weeks after the photo is taken. But think of it this way—a few weeks after you return home, you can get a present from yourself from Japan!
STEP 6—DISPLAY PROUDLY!
And what will you do with this stunning masterpiece? Statues of children (at the varying stages of their lives) are great gifts for parents and grandparents, and a collection of family members will be a wonderful memento of your trip. And if you get really crazy with costumes, you’ll be able to play “Where’s Waldo?” by inserting yourself into your action figure collection. Just be sure to avoid placing your statue in sunlight and keep it away from water.
And think of it—if it’s already possible to make a 3D statue of yourself, how long will it be before a 3D printer can make figures with articulated joints? With molded hands and crazy 3D printed accessories and a Kung Fu grip? In a future visit, it may be possible to get an action figure of yourself. Now there’s some souvenir technology we can all appreciate.
LoftLab 3D Studio Location Information
Hours of Operation: Yurakucho LOFT 10:30 am – 9:30 pm daily; Shibuya LOFT 10:00 am – 9:00 pm daily.
Estimated Price: Varies depending on pose and accessories; see price guide for details
“Why Go?”: Get a 3D statue to put on your mantle!