technofile template 3D photos you can put on your shelf

Now you can have a 3D wall of your own.
Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously available online since 1983

Techno July 8B

It's hard to show in 2D what a 3D object looks like, but this gives you an idea, as small as the photo is. (It was taken during the 3D procedure just to give me an idea of what the finished extrusion would look like; the black edges are removed in the final version.)

3D photos you can put on your shelf

July 8, 2012

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2012, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2012, The Post-Standard

Someday we'll all have cameras that take 3D photos -- not these flat things you get from Walmart or from your brother-in-law's $300 photo printer. I mean real 3D.

3D with an attitude. That bump on Jason's forehead shows up as a bump on the photo. The silly hat Grandpa wore with the tassels shows up as a silly hat with tassels spouting out of the picture.

3D with texture. 3D with contours. The artsy world calls it "bas-relief." The walls on ancient temples were full of this kind of thing.

Now you can have a 3D wall of your own. The place that turns your ordinary photo into a 3D delight is called, appropriately, Bumpy Photo, at I asked the folks at Bumpy to make a sample, using a picture of my great-nephew holding his new baby sister.

For a surprise gift, I had the 3D version sent to my brother and his wife. Their grandchildren are the kids in the photo.

Their reaction was a mix of "What in the world?" and "What a cool idea." Neither of them had seen a 3D "bumpy" photo before, nor had I. (By happenstance, I was in their dining room when the package came.) The image didn't look like a statue or a face mask or anything I could compare it with -- except, as I mentioned, those wall carvings I've seen in museums.

Bumpy photos aren't cheap. The price starts at $79 but can zoom higher for pictures with two or more people or with harder-to-model objects such as buildings. The basic price gets you a medium-size, shelf type photo, but you can get much larger versions or smaller ones. (You can save $20 with a really tiny photo, or pay hundreds more for a big one.

Beware the bigger-isn't-better-but-it-sure-is-expensive syndrome: A 15-inch 3D picture will take $855 out of your credit account. You'll also have to pay more if you need your 3D photo quickly, with a surcharge of $200 for a 3-day turnaround.

Would a big Bumpy photo that arrived on your doorstep in 3 days be worth $1,000? Probably not, unless you own a bank or two. For the rest of us, $79 is a reasonable way to honor your aunt or show off your new Honda. And you can be sure that no one who sees it will ever forget that first impression of a picture that comes alive on your shelf.