Make Me an Action Figure!

Make Me an Action Figure!
Words by Isaac Ray Norris
Photos by Jonathan Wade
 It begins with hundreds of photographs being taken in the “MiniMe Dome.” The dome is a circle of cameras taking pictures nearly simultaneously. This may sound like the work of a futurist bent on world domination, or perhaps a summer blockbuster. But in reality, it’s all for a simple toy.

Humans have been increasingly fascinated with making objects smaller. Cell phones, laptops, tablets, and so forth, are all being downsized. But in Alpharetta, Georgia, a new combination of sculpture, photography, and digital design is creating miniature versions of humans, one figurine at a time. MiniMe Factory creates 3-D printed figurines of its patrons—and much like photographs—freezing them in time.

It all started when Reza Nourali, the company’s founder and Alpharetta native, desired a high quality action figure. The catch? He wanted the figure to be of himself. He could never find a figure that was of the quality he wanted, so he set out to create one himself. This led him to a company in Europe that was attempting to create what he was seeking.

I had the chance to visit MiniMe Factory and have my own figurine created. The entire process was a breeze.

Once I had my photos, Reza walked me over to a screen for their approval. Once approved, those images were applied within a computer-aided design program and eventually placed into a 3-D printer that blasted sandstone into the shape of my figure. Seeing the shape of my body in this way motivated me to get it in shape!

While 3-D printing has been around for a while, one of the special aspects of MiniMe Factory’s 3-D printing techniques is its use of color. 3-D printers have a difficult time processing the differences between objects of different colors, but at MiniMe Factory, the technology is more than capable of picking up colors—and even a few patterns. During my mini-photoshoot, I was wearing a striped shirt and jeans. The printer and cameras picked up every detail and color, including the shade and shape of my beard and the cuffs of my jeans!

Each figurine takes approximately eight hours to print and is inspected by a 3-D technician to produce the highest quality model while keeping material cost manageable. The entire process takes about three weeks from photos to figurine in hand.

Popular uses for MiniMes include cake toppers, such as the one our editor in chief had made for her wedding, and gifts for special events. And it doesn’t stop with humans. Animals, mostly dogs and cats, can also be downsized and turned into figurines—a way to admire your furry friend in the third dimension!

A figurine can “capture an incredible piece of memory for life, be it for graduation, your favorite costume, pregnancy photo shoot in 3-D, brand marketing, promotions, or even a family portraiture of future dimensions,” says Nourali.

The next time you find yourself in Alpharetta, or when you are planning a special life event, visit MiniMe Factory and get downsized!