Meet the brothers pioneering the world of 3D portraits. Marcin and Piotr Piosik are the creators of My 3D Twin, making personalised figurines in their studio in Bermondsey. They’re the only company of their kind in the UK. On my visit to the studio, a couple was just finishing up having their photos taken for custom-made wedding cake toppers.
“These wedding cake toppers live on beyond the wedding day. You can keep them on your mantel piece next to your wedding portrait,” Marcin told the Weekender.
The studio in Bermondsey’s Biscuit Factory is the beating heart of the operation. Marcin and Piotr built the circular photo booth where customers stand to pose. 64 Canon cameras line columns around the booth, which pick up every angle and detail. Piotr wired up all the electrics. “He’s an electrician. In the way that in Poland everyone does everything and nothing. We all do a bit of everything,” Marcin said.
The brothers launched the company six years ago. They wanted to leave the corporate world where they were working in IT and initially decided to open an online store. “We didn’t want flat images of the products though,” Marcin said. “We wanted to show the products in 3D and that’s how we started with a 3D scanner.”
The 3D printer comes from the States with a hefty price-tag. Generally these printers are used for creating prototypes. Marcin experimented by making a model of his brother to see how it would turn out. The result is incredibly lifelike figurines, made of plaster powder.
When people come in to the studio, the brothers take 10-20 photos, which the customer can choose their favourite from. After the photos are taken, Piotr uses “a kind of 3D Photoshop” to create the image for the printer and then it prints out a block of plaster with the figure inside it, in full colour. Marcin and Piotr hoover away all the excess plaster (which goes back into the machine) and then use a tiny brush to remove the rest of the excess to reveal the detailed shape beneath. The figure is then coated in resin to make the colours pop, bring out all the finer details and preserve it.
From the date of visiting the studio, it takes around two weeks to create the figurines. “Each piece is a piece of art,” Marcin said.
“I sent figures of me and my brother to my Mum in Poland for Mother’s Day and now when we facetime she’ll say ‘I was just having coffee with you’ and has the figures sitting next to her on the table,” he said.
The mini-models are proving popular for pets, as well as special occasions like graduations, birthday cakes and 3D family portraits -like a nativity set for your own family.
“It’s a unique and personalised photograph that’s so different to a portrait,” Marcin said.
He references traditional photographs where 30 years ago people were buying film, then taking photos which had to be developed and out of a set of, say, 30, a lot of them would be bad. “Now with phones we take photos constantly and it costs us nothing and we don’t really do anything with them and they’ve sort of lost their value,” Marcin said.
Over the next few months, Marcin and Piotr are taking their photo booth to university graduations. The wedding cake toppers remain their most in-demand product.
“It’s a new concept,” Marcin said. “It’s all done in-house and finished by hand. Each figure is a piece of artistry.”
Figures range from £89-£300.
My 3D Twin is in the Biscuit Factory,
Block F, Floor 2, Studio 10, 100 Clement’s Road, SE16 4DG.
Phone: 020 3900 1435.