Introduction: Celebrity 3D Models in No Time

About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author of t…

Making 3D models of celebrities is easier than you think! All you need is a digital camera (preferably with a flash), 123D Catch, and a local wax museum. With little money and effort, you can get dozens of license free 3D celebrity models in a matter of hours. The best part about this modeling method is that you also get to visit a wax museum, which I found to be an enjoyable, if not slightly surreal experience. 

I have attached a few models for your viewing enjoyment. Stay tuned for more.

Step 1: Go the Wax Museum

Grab the fanciest digital camera you have. A DSLR with a 35mm lens and a flash is preferable.

Make sure the battery is charged and the memory card is clear. Bring extras of both if possible.

Put on your shoes and coat (if necessary) and go to the nearest wax museum.

We are going to the wax museum because unlike real celebrities, wax celebrities never move, twitch or sneeze. Wax celebrities can easily by captured using the photogrammetry method employed by 123D Catch. With some patience and a few dozen pictures, you can get a 3D model of anyone they have on display.

Step 2: Enter

Wax Museums tend not to be non-profit businesses, so you will have to pay to get in. Even if they were, you would probably still have to pay to get in. This is just the nature of things. However, when all is said and done, it shouldn't break the bank. They tend to be pretty affordable.

Once you have your ticket, go inside. This will grant you a license to take just about as many photographs as you want.

As wax museums tend to be tourist destinations in larger cities, they almost always allow photography so that tourists can snap a carefully framed picture or two of their favorite celebrity. This is great, because we are about to take a lot of pictures.

Step 3: Photograph

Set your camera lens to 35mm if possible and turn on the flash. If possible set your F-Stop to 10+ and your ISO to 400 or less. The goal is to get a large depth of field. Do not zoom in or out with your lens.

Find a celebrity you want a model of.

Take a picture of the wax model and take a step to either side and take another picture. Repeat this going entirely around the model.

Once you have done this, hold the camera over your head, point it down at the model, and circle it again.

Lastly, crouch down and repeat this process, but shooting upwards.

The goal is to capture as many different angles of the model as possible in photographs.

In the wax museum I visited, most of the models were back against a wall, so I could not entirely circle them. In this case, I tried to capture as many pictures as I could within the area in which I was allowed to approach the model. 

Note: If anyone asks what you are doing, tell them you are a photography student on a class assignment. It is helpful to have more people with you because you can capture more celebrities more quickly, and because it looks less weird when doing this in a group.

Step 4: Make Models

Go home and upload all of your files to your computer.

If you have not yet downloaded 123D Catch, now would be the time to do it.

Start up the program.

Click "Create a New Photo Scene" and select all of the pictures of a single celebrity and click "Compute Photo Scene."

In 15 - 20 minutes time you should have a 3D model of the celebrity in the pictures.

If you took pictures with a group of people, you might get the best results by pooling all of your pictures.

Should your model need some correcting or touching up, check out ShadyLogic's instructable on turning yourself into an action figure using 123D Catch.

Step 5: Export

Export the model from 123D Catch as an .obj file.

Open it in 123D or similar (I often use 3DS Max), and do whatever you want with the model. Multi-headed celebrity ball? Sure! Celebrity toothbrush holders? Why not! Celebrity themed iPhone cases? Obviously!

Once you are done, just make sure that it's saved as a water tight STL... assuming you want to 3D print it.

Step 6: 3D Print (optional)

When you are done, why not 3D print your celebritastic 3D model creations!?!

Pictured is my Mini Celebrity Desktop Monument.

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