The Open Crowd Project is a collaborative art venture that anyone can participate in.  This project involves 3D prints of people and most of the 3D models that are generated for this project are done so using only regular photographic images and software to “stitch” them together.  All you need to get involved is a digital camera, some masking tape, a black marker, and a computer to send us the files.  We’ll do the rest!  So, if you’re interested in being included in the crowd, please follow the instructions below.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask at

Step one:  Find a room that is evenly and well lit.  The best rooms we have used so far are rooms evenly lit with florescent lights (office spaces, university classrooms, etc)

Step two:  Write the words “THE OPEN CROWD PROJECT” in all caps on some masking tape.  Then cut the masking tape so that each letter is a separate piece of tape.  Like this:

Step three:  Put the pieces of tape on the body of the model so that from all angles, at least three pieces of tape are visible.  Our best scans have resulted from having the pieces of tape from about the shoulders and chest up.  Below is a list of places to put the tape.  Avoid wearing shirts with stripes or close repeating patterns, plain colored or shirts that have non-repeating designs on them seem to work the best.

  • one on the forehead (if the model has bangs, just place the tape somewhere visible on the forehead)
  • one on each cheek
  • two pieces on the back of the head
  • shoulders: one piece of tape on each side of the shoulder – front, side, and back (on the shoulder blade)
  • one piece about halfway down the arm (just above the elbow)
  • one piece on the top of the back, lower neck (whichever is visible)
  • one in the middle of the back
  • one piece on the lower neck, in the front

Step four: Photograph the person.  Make sure you photograph the person from the waist up.  The 3D models will be cropped at about the elbow, but to make sure there aren’t any holes developing in the model, each image should include the model from the waist up.  The model should stand perfectly still while the photographer moves around the model. The following are some tips to help create a better scan:

  • Have the model raise his/her chin slightly
  • The photographer should hold the camera in portrait mode and make two full revolutions around the model.  The first revolution should have the camera pointed directly the model so that the lens is about level with the model’s face.  For the second revolution, the photographer should hold the camera so that it is slightly above the model pointing down.  Make sure and keep the model’s head in approximately the same position in the frame in all of the pictures.  The white camera drawings in the image below show the position and frequency of the images:
  • The model must hold PERFECTLY STILL.  The best way to do this is to have the model pick something specific to look for the duration of the photographing process
  • The photographer should try to keep the model’s head in the same relative area of each image.
  • The photographer should take an image about about 5-10 degrees around the model, this should correlate to about 25-35 images per trip around the model (50-70 images total).

Tips for an even better scan:
Avoid over or under exposed areas on the model.
Avoid very bright areas that might be directly behind models (sunlit windows, lighted bulbs, etc), especially right behind the model’s head.
Avoid striped shirts.

Step five:  Compress the images in a .zip file.  If you’re not sure how to compress a folder of images, follow these instructions:
  • Windows: Locate the folder of images.  Right-click the folder, point to Send To, and then click Compressed (zipped) Folder.  A new compressed folder is created. To rename it, right-click the folder, click Rename, and then type the new name.
  • MAC: Locate the folder of images.  Right-click the folder, and a menu will appear, select Compress (if you have Leopard) or Create Archive (if you have Tiger or older).  It will then make a zip file with your images.

Step six:  Send an e-mail at saying that you’ve finished photographing and you’re ready to send images in.  When we receive your email, we’ll send you a link to be able to access a Dropbox folder and you’ll be able to upload your zipped folder of images there.  If you would rather send us a CD with the images on it, that’s fine as well, just send us an e-mail and we’ll gladly send the address.  And don’t forget to take the pieces of tape off of yourself before you go out in public. =)

Step seven:  Sit back and wait to see how the scan looks!  This technology is new and sometimes finicky, so there are certainly no guarantees, but we’ll do our best to create the best possible 3D model for you.  When the modelling process is complete, we’ll e-mail you to let you know how the scan looks!