Mar 4, 2016 | By Alec

Standing in line with the rest of the class, taking a seat on the stool and smiling awkwardly: a school photo is an integral part of a kid’s life and you’ll be able to admire your nerdy haircut for years to come whenever you visit your grandparents. However, this might be completely different for the next generation. 700 kids from Amsterdam’s Steigereiland primary school have just become the first in the Netherlands to get a 3D printed selfie – made with a 3D scanning booth – instead of a school photo. The only downside: standing in line for your turn will take much longer.

While this is the first time a 3D scanning booth has been used to take school photos, it’s an intriguing concept that could catch on quickly. As you’ll have probably seen for yourself, 3D scanning booths are quite popular in several malls and theme parks. Back in September 2015, Shapeways even opened ten 3D scanning booths all over the Netherlands.

Riding that wave is Dutch startup Nieuwe Schoolfoto (New School Photo). As co-founder and photographer David Tins(30) explains, it’s all about making school photos more fun and modern. “In most schools, the concept of school photos haven’t changed since my experience in the 1980s: boring portrait photos made by a boring photographer. We want to put a fun twist on a usually boring event,” he says. And 3D printing, he adds, is a perfect technology to enable this. “3D printing is the future, so it’s a perfect tool for taking photos into the future. We even make multiple scans, to give parents the opportunity to choose – just like they can with regular photos.”

To our knowledge, this is the first time 3D scanning and 3D printing has been applied in such a large scale – and for school photography. As Jan Vermeij, the owner of Nieuwe Schoolfoto says, it’s quite a simple process. The kids enter the booth, which features dozens of cameras. The scan is made in just four seconds, when they can step out again, but it takes another 15 minutes to build the scan – so it takes a long time before the next child can step in.

But the good thing is, they can take any pose they want, so several boys from Steigereiland decided to show off their muscles, for instance. “I want a statue for on my new bedroom,” the ten-year-old Luna said. “I’m going to pose like this,” she said while balling her fists like a boxer. It’s a more fun way of capturing an image of your kids at an early age. “The new school photo of the future isn’t just a sheet of faces. It’s a life-like, 3D printed miniature that comes in several sizes,” Vermeij argues.

For this first event, Nieuwe Schoolfoto provides a free digital version of the 3D scan to all parents, and it is up to them to decide if they want to do something with it. If they want to, 3D printed versions are being made through a collaboration with ZB45, a Makerspace based on the Zeeburgerpad in Amsterdam. 3D printing will take about five hours per model. The only downside is that it’s not cheap: the smallest model (about 10 cm tall) will cost €60 (approximately $65 USD). Though the kids were not worried about the costs, this might put some pressure on parents. If you have two or three kids in school at the same time, it’s definitely an expensive annual gimmick. “But then you do have a photo-realistic miniature of yourself. What’s more, we expect that technological developments will push down costs over the next few years,” Tins adds.

So far, however, parents in Amsterdam were very optimistic. “It’s great to see how kids are responding to this new technological innovation,” dad Jasper Lamers said. “But I do wonder if the grandparents don’t prefer a portrait picture of their grandchildren, instead of an action figure on the mantle.”

Fortunately, there’s also another option for parents who can’t miss €60. “We can also make a moving digital image of the scan, for about six euros,” Tins adds. What’s more, the digital model can also give kids a whole new gaming experience. In one separate classroom in the Steigereiland school, the kids can see 3D printers in action, and in another, the 3D scans are being used to turn kids into footballers in the latest Fifa game. This gives them the ability to dream about playing for Ajax, or another club. Of course, the same principle can also be applied to other avatar-based games. Could this be the future of school photography?



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Jack Midler wrote at 3/22/2016 6:37:31 AM:

Those prints look quite dark - and waiting 15 minutes seems like a pain, given that it would be ideal to get all of the kids scanned in a few seconds each (kind of like a true school photo). I feel like the Twinstant ( might be a better option for this (photogrammetry hybrid system), since it can captures instantly and definitely looks lighter than that beast of a system - and it seems like it is cheaper too.

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