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Author Topic: The Business of 3D Scanning  (Read 64028 times)

ruffy

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The Business of 3D Scanning
« on: July 13, 2014, 08:28:53 PM »
Just wanted to start a discussion about the business of 3D facial and body scanning.
I fear that this product may already be turning into a commodity.

I have been a professional photographer all my life.
Something like 78% of all photographers in Australia earn less than $36k per year.
The average wage is now $55k per year.
The top 3% of of these businesses earn between $1-2 million a year.
An enormous disparity.
The people who have great businesses charge a lot for their work.

Have you or someone you know ever owned a new car?
Have you ever heard anyone complain about what is probably the second most expensive item they will ever invest in?
The answer is NO.
People value what they pay more for.

As a professional portrait photographer, I can use 1 camera in 1 session and charge $2.5k for a single print (panoramic 60x24 inch canvas). Printing costs are $300.
Packages can be as high as $6,000 per client.
Time: 4 hours included photography, viewing session, post and printing.
Other photographers can charge $20k per package and do this consistently 4 times per month.
I am not there yet, but my photography business should be $1m plus per year soon.
http://fantasyportraits.com.au

I used to work in the film industry with a multiple camera array and was able to charge $25k per production day.
For an international assignment $100k was required.
My investment cost of 60x 10D's at $4.5k each ($250k plus) was returned within 12 months.
http://www.timesplice.com.au/3dfashiongallery/fashion360_2.html
Times have changed and there is rarely a budget for this type of work.
Hence, the desire to use the technology in another area, like 3D lenticular or facial and body scanning.

Great photographers of the past commanded fees of $100k + per photo session because they could.
They were market leaders.
3D scanning has this potential.

When I have great results, I intend to charge $3,000 per scan with a 3D print/figurine at the consumer level.
With good public relations, I need to be able to make $100k per month.
At $3k per 3d printed model, I need to do 33 per month or 1 per day.
This is a sustainable income for this technology for 1-2 persons.

It is not about the photography - it is about the business.

If you charge less, then it is not a sustainable business.
If it is seen as a gimmick, then no one will pay what it is worth.
Value what you are worth.
If you do not value your work, then no one else will.

Photo booths, events and low cost work will be a quick end to what could be a great business.

Is anyone else willing to talk about business models?

FoodMan

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Re: The Business of 3D Scanning
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2014, 02:37:29 PM »
well I am not too much in Business models.. but from what I could see around the www, the price for a 3D scan (full body) + a 3d Color print is around 1,000 USD..

I understand you need to make $100k per month... but still.. $3,000 is maybe a bit expensive...

It's hard to say as I have no clue how much someone from Australia is willing to spend in such 3D replica.. Here in EU, it looks more like a cool gadget, but as I think you may present things differently..

You have to know your potential clients.. businessman ? teens ? pregnant mothers..? Dog owners..? or do you plan something more serious like Co. Managers or Masonic guilds..?

I was thinking Teens and pregnant Mothers are the most interested in these kind of 3D miniatures yet..

Anyway, that would be nice to hear what people already in this business have to say.. Interesting topic, because apparently it's still a pretty secret business..

f/

ruffy

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Re: The Business of 3D Scanning
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2014, 03:11:16 PM »
Hey FoodMan - thanks for the response.
Frozen moment camera array for film industry is different from 3D.
I used to get about 5 contacts per year from people who had gone out and purchased up to 150 cameras only to find out that they could not get the cameras to synchronise (very difficult with ambient light - after the 10D, Canon changed their shutter design and were compromised for synchronisation, compered to synch with flash which is very easy).  I could not help them, but then would I?
I understand how people want to protect their I.P.

What operators think what people will pay and what people will actually pay are 2 different things.
I am sure there is no foundation for price.
If a simple 2D package of photos can be sold for $20k and by many photographers, is not something that is difficult to produce and rare worth so much more?

Again, it is more about marketing and sales than it is the craft.

Pearse

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Re: The Business of 3D Scanning
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2014, 07:11:24 PM »
Ruffy

I'm not sure what I may be able to contribute, as I am now just venturing into this, but I am interested in the topic.

My interest in this technology is for digital sculpting and 3d printing. I've seen a number of 3d color prints, but the only detail  that is provided is from the texture. The underlying meshes that I have seen usually need quite a bit of work and have little detail.

My business plan involves generating a very detailed, well topologized and optimized mesh (just head scans).  Then I can print out a bust or incorporate it in a larger scene. Or just make a bobble head doll. Of course, I can also make a "Rick" doll for my daughter's Barbie  ;D That'll make playing dolls a little more fun. I'm thinking the options for art are endless with the new printers and all the new materials. I like the idea of personalized art.

As for price... I need to see how long it takes and how much it cost. But, I really like this topic to discuss how much to charge and how people will be using this technology. 

ruffy

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Re: The Business of 3D Scanning
« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2014, 11:09:36 PM »
Hey Pearse,

I too am at the early stages and want to do exactly what you want to do (plus a bit more :))
I now have a partner with a 3D printer / service provider and we are excited by the opportunities.
From a business perspective, you have to decide what your time is worth.
I will certainly be outsourcing masking and mesh touch up.
These tasks take a long time and to be frank, I am over sitting in front of a computer doing manual work that consumes a lot of time.
As a business person, you have to market your product and sell it.
If you do not do this, then you have no business - it is simply a hobby.

Do not undersell yourself.
Although, this can be difficult if you have people who have already set a bench mark price in your area.

ruffy

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Re: The Business of 3D Scanning
« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2014, 11:17:25 PM »
Just wanted to add …
If we are looking at providing a 'bust' service, then it may be worth asking around for people who produce the real 'bronze' piece of art at a relevant size.
I can't say for sure, but I will assume that it that it is going much more than euro1,000 (AU$1.9k).
Let me know if you find anything.

Digital changed photography and now everyone can be a photographer.
I would not like to be a struggling bronze artist as 3D printing could also kill their business.

Ruffy

ruffy

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Re: The Business of 3D Scanning
« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2014, 05:54:42 AM »
Well, I was surprised.
I contacted australianbrozesculptors.com.au today and a bust figure around 8 inches cube is just AU$1,500.
Of course they cannot do colour, but their clients have never asked for it.
Pays to research.
It now seems evident that euro1000 is a respectable figure.
Ruffy

ruffy

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Re: The Business of 3D Scanning
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2014, 07:21:13 AM »
I was a little premature with my cost statement:)
The figures stated previously were for the 'manufacture' of the final product.

An artist has to be commissioned to create the sculpture.
This can be anywhere from between AU$0 (for someone wanting to make a name) to AU$2m for a world renowned artist.
So, there is really no ball park, however, my contact suggested that a 'commercial' sculpture would charge $100 per hour with a figure of no less than AU$2k.

This figure is now similar to my proposed amount of AU$3k per piece.

So, there is an opportunity to create AU$2m pieces of art.
Sadly though, the people who have benchmarked euro1000 have done themselves an injustice.
People will not value a low cost item which now has to be seen as a gimmick rather than art.
I wil be trying for AU$5k per piece with this new information.

I think a commercial aspect would be to offer this service to high end photographers with high end clients.
Not sure if that will work since most photographers and businesses will only pay 10% of what they can sell it for, that is, if it costs $100 photographers should be selling for $1000.
Perhaps more of a collaboration and dealing with say only the top 5 in the country would work with a 50:50 relationship.
Make it exclusive and you will win:)

Ruffy

FoodMan

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Re: The Business of 3D Scanning
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2014, 09:37:11 AM »
well there are co. that make it very cheap... and yes, I think it all started as a gimmick, and seeing where that goes, that's going to be hard to change... I already saw a few reports and docs on TV about that "new trend" , and none mentioned anything about art..
I recall one journalist was saying there is a new type of selfie...The 3D selfie, .. hehe

here a link to a cheap one..
http://www.3d-u.com/prices.html

and a better one, although a bit more expensive..
http://www.3d-u.com/prices.html
(Milos, a Pscan user works at that store)

http://iiid.me/article/iiid-full-body-capture

https://www.facebook.com/IIIDEvolution

 and here claiming to start scanning 1000 people per day in Commercial shopping chains...
https://www.facebook.com/IIIDEvolution?sk=reviews

all in all, It's a scary business, because things can change sooo fast, almost overnight, so you never know what direction to go..  :P

f/

« Last Edit: July 15, 2014, 09:44:06 AM by FoodMan »

Brian33433

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Re: The Business of 3D Scanning
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2014, 12:19:17 AM »
I haven't had a chance to read all the replies so I may be repeating some people, But from my experience the business model will fail. As 3d scanning (not photogrammetry) but small inexpensive hand held scanners come on the market, like the kinect and asus, these models are getting better resolution with each release, and the software being produced need very limited post work. With that being said you will see tons of places doing scans in the sub $200 range. As for the 3d printing side of it, I have been involved in it since the beginning and can tell you with the costs dropping rapidly and the long print times will not help the situation. To give you an idea I linked you to a model I did for my dad for father's day I did the head with my nikion D5300 agisoft and the body with a $200 asus scanner as I find it the best of both worlds. I did some post processing in zbrush and printed it on my replicator 2 in about 4 hours at top resolution (layer height) it's a nice size of just under 100mm tall. Just my 2 cents, hope you take it into consideration before spending to much. I think in a year or so it will be very widespread and very reasonable.
https://sketchfab.com/models/d1effcaa7cd3449ca8fcb6404dec6da1/embed?autostart=1

FoodMan

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Re: The Business of 3D Scanning
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2014, 09:50:40 AM »
@Brian33433

well yes I think you're right... if you look at the few links I gave above, I don't think a 100 cameras Photogrammetry is the best answer for that kind of Statuette business.. simply too expensive compared to what a cheap scanner can do, thinking that you don't even need a high def scan like Pscan can do in good hands ... because the 3D printing process is still pretty low def (unless you print a 1/1 scale person.. ) I mean most would print a 10cm to 20 cm at the max...

Also have in mind that people would want a color print, and color printers are pretty slow and still expensive...

f/

ruffy

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Re: The Business of 3D Scanning
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2014, 01:16:43 AM »
@ Brian,

Nice result with your Dad - well done.
I did a 3D lenticular of father before he passed away.
An award winning piece that reminds me of him, and is more compelling than any 2D print.
I suppose the only difference is that when you capture with multiple cameras as opposed to a scanner you have the texture as well which can then be printed and does not require paining.

I too have to agree that the business model may not work since too many people are out there doing cheap work.

@ Foodman
Thanks for the links.

In Australia, 30 years ago, shopping centres would pay a photographer to attract people with great photography.
You needed a professional experienced in a dark art called 'film' and a knowledge of posing to have a nice portrait taken. You could not do it yourself.  It was a craft.
Pixie Photo were the market leaders in shopping centre mall photography providing sub standard, poorly posed work and were around for about 20 years.
In just 3 years they went from a nation wide company worth $85m/year to broke last year.
Even just 5-10 years ago, people would cue up to have their photo taken, now you would be lucky to get 3 a day and those 3 will not invest in very much at all.
So, this business model does not work today.

Shopping centre mall work would have to be cheap to get volume as it will only be seen as a gimmick and not an art form as it has no real history (full colour 3D bust).
Yes, it will work, but you would have to make your money quickly.
I too looked at doing shopping centre mall photography with Fantasy Portraits.
I could not make the figures work.

People still make money out of photography, but it is getting much harder.

Why would people pay for something they can do themselves?
For a business model to work, the product and service has to be something that the average person cannot do themselves.
We buy expensive cars because we cannot make them ourselves.

I can put together an automated 80 DSLR camera rig with lighting and grips for AU$60k.
A well operated photography business can earn this in a month - some can do it in a week.

There are 3 big differences between Pixie and a top photography studio:
1. The experience (treated like a movie star)
2. The sales (hand crafted and exclusive),
3. The quality of the work (no one will pay for garbage).

Photography was a craft and developed over a hundred plus years.
Few could afford it.
Now it is a commodity.
Sculptures have been around much longer.
This too, must/will become a commodity like photography did.
Only the super rich people who can afford a $m artist will have this service done because they can and they can say they were created by this artist.
The rest will have 3D scanning.

Perhaps the solution is not to compete, rather collaborate with great photographers as an add on service.

I will have to look into my crystal ball and see what happens:)

Ruffy


Brian33433

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Re: The Business of 3D Scanning
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2014, 03:35:12 AM »
@Ruffy,

Actually you can in fact do texture with the hand held scanner, the only reason I opted not to bother was the fact I was printing it on a 3d printer with only one color so it didn't pay to worry about texture at the time.

3D printing as a business model in these early years of it are very hard to make work. I was in Radio Shack today and they just started selling a 3D printer and I was telling the salesman I would hate to be him when the customers start coming in complaining about all there failed prints, as 3D prosumer printers are not yet an out of the box solution and take a lot of tweaking and learning. He replied he has had a 45% return factor in the first month of selling them.

Reminds me of the early years of home computers.

Brian

FoodMan

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Re: The Business of 3D Scanning
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2014, 04:39:00 PM »
hehe 45% return..? lol

well you're right, like the early times of pc...
I don't think these mini printers will do for very long... tech is changing so fast, soon we'll have full color mini printing machines that print anything in 10 min.. maybe not tomorrow, but it will come, that is sure, sooner or later.  8)
the fact is that people will get bored very fast with the very few mini plastic things they can make with it... so these mini printers are already dead me think... but it's a start, although it shows that it will never be a mass market anytime soon like they predicted, an I-phone is about how far the average dude can go... now we're talking about 3D apps, 3D printing... tough area... I could be wrong though..  :P


so just to say, time and tech will define or even re-define that kind of business..

what could work now is printing in detailed wax, and making a bronze bust or full statuettes.. that would maybe sell good, because do get a good bust of someone, you really have to find a really good artist  ;D .... and a really good one is... well really expensive.. and veryyy long.. so in that sense, yes maybe there is a market, but you'd have to invest quiet some $$ at the start to make people know what you do..

f/

ruffy

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Re: The Business of 3D Scanning
« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2014, 01:04:03 AM »
@ Foodman,

Yep, its all about marketing.
I have seen many Youtube videos and the results look impressive, but no one is marketing really well.
These videos mainly show the features and not the benefits.
The benefit is creating a memory to be endured for a lifetime.

Speaking of which, are there any figures of longevity or colour fastness of the product?